Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Gang of Ten 'Compromise'

The details are starting to creep in about the proposed Gang of Ten Energy Bill, and it looks pretty bad. A removed moratorium on drilling off the Florida coast, in exchange for a bag of magic beans, and a player to be named later:

- A "Sense of the Bill" opining that cars should be 85% non-petrol within 20 years
- Actually renewing the renewable energy subsidy that has been in place approximately forever, expires on January 1st, and amounts to $18b annually
- A $7b handout to the auto industry
- A promise that the drilling will be done "carefully"

Which is of course, what we were all concerned about.

And some Republican somewhere, knowing nothing about what EROEI means, still wants shale oil to be part of the deal.

None of this amounts to an admission that our energy policy is broken, that consumption has outrun production, and that increasing production is a rear-guard action at its very, very best. Even a domestic oil bonanza like the North Sea did nothing for long-run energy prices in the UK. As I've documented in earlier posts, the Red States are over a barrel in this energy crisis, and their representatives continue to lie to them about who got them into this mess. The Democrats' best plans of action, in order, are to

1) Stall, take the White House, then pass a serious energy policy designed to emphasize energy independence, and carbon neutrality.
2) Explain to Americans that Imported, and/or Non-renewable Energy is the new Fascism, and beat the Republicans on the Sunday morning talk shows
3) Force the Republicans to the actual bargaining table, by flexing their actual majorities in our actual National Legislature
4) Juggle bowling pins on C-Span
5) Go on national television and say this:

"I want to be absolutely clear to everybody about this. If I thought that I could provide you some immediate relief on gas prices by drilling off the shores of California and New Jersey . . . if I thought that by drilling offshore, we could solve our problem, I'd do it." - Barack Obama [from Washpost above]

Once again, the threat of somebody, somewhere, having to pay what something is actually worth, has brought another great populist to his knees. When will someone at the Federal level get serious about energy? Hopefully, there are plot twists yet to unfold during the five week recess.


Paul said...

My understanding was that oil shale had a positive EROEI. Is that not correct?

Bret said...

I'm light on a link at the moment, but I will come up with one. Of course, it will vary with the depth of the deposit, and the heaviness of the resulting crude, but generally the answer is no. You go after shale oil because you want the specific properties of petroleum, and are willing to spend other, more generic forms of energy in order to get them.

Going after shale oil while refusing to address issues like CAFE standards is really just reprehensible. It is like encouraging a morbidly obese man to lick the tablecloth.