Letter to the Editor

Published 3:36 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2007

By Staff
Objection to Energy Bill
When the Bush-Bonner gang torpedoed the Energy Bill last week it was "a near-perfect example of corrupt government at work," according to a statement issued today by Ben Lodmell, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Alabama's first congressional district.
"Had it passed, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 would have reduced oil imports, raised automobile fuel-efficiency standards for the first time in 32 years and required electric utilities to increase use of renewable energy, all of which are beneficial to the country," Lodmell said. "But Bush's man in Mobile, Rep. Jo Bonner, joined with every other Republican in Alabama's congressional delegation to make sure the historic bill died so their friends in the oil and gas industry could remain fat and happy."
What prompted Senate Republicans to cut off debate on the bill, which had been passed by a 231-to-181 margin in the House a day earlier, was a $21 billion tax package. Included was the rollback of $13.5 billion in tax breaks enjoyed by some of the country's largest oil and gas companies. Among other things, the taxes would have been used to extend tax credits for wind, solar, and biomass power, as well as hybrid cars.
Adding to the Republican push to kill the Energy Bill was an earlier threat of another presidential veto if the bill passed with the contentious tax package and renewable energy requirement included.
"If enacted," Lodmell said, "the bill would have required vehicles to average 35 miles per gallon, a 40% increase over current standards. The bill would have saved 1.1 million barrels of oil a day. It would have increased yearly ethanol production by seven-fold. And it would have required electric utilities to up their use of renewable energy sources by 15%. According to some estimates, that would have cut energy bills by as much as $18.1 billion by 2020 and up to $32 billion by 2030."
"Clearly, the big winners here," Lodmell said, "are no surprise. They're the special interest groups the Bush-Bonner gang loves to make more and more profitable – the oil and gas companies and their cousins in the public utility industry, none of which is bashful about financially supporting the re-election campaigns of the politicians who support them.
"The big losers, however, are the American people, whose government has been taken from them and corrupted by those self-same special interests whose only interests are their own."
Lodmell said it shouldn't surprise anyone if Senate and House negotiators came up with a stripped-down compromise bill that in the last analysis satisfies no one but the President and his Congressional lackeys and their special interest benefactors.
"The only bright light in an otherwise dismal display of this corrupted Republican government at work," Lodmell said, "is that Americans will have a chance at the ballot box next year to take our government back."
Lodmell declared his candidacy for the Democratic Party's nomination for Congress from the first district in August. He describes himself as the people's representative. "I'm a fiscally responsible pragmatist and an independent-thinker who can bridge the ideological extremes that often get in the way of getting the people's business done in Congress."

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