Monday, November 24, 2003
Grrrrr. So they tanked the energy bill.
Senate Democrats and northeastern Republicans joined together yesterday to block the Republicans' massive energy bill, voting to filibuster a key part of President Bush's domestic agenda. Ahem.
In a 57-40 vote, the Senate failed by three votes to end a filibuster in a procedural vote. Sixty votes were needed to cut off debate and proceed to a final vote.
"This bill seemed to feel that pork was a substitute for policy," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, who led the opposition to the $31 billion bill, which included $23 billion in tax breaks and incentives for new energy production.
Opponents objected most to a provision, insisted on by House negotiators, that shields petrochemical companies from some lawsuits over methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), a fuel additive that has contaminated water supplies in hundreds of communities nationwide."
As usual this is all bullshit. The clean air act required a certain percentage of oxgenate to be added to all gas. California passed a law requiring all fuel sold within the state to contain oxgenate (which reduces air pollution) MTBE was the cheapest most effective oxgenate available. The fucking EPA approved it.
"In 1981 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of up to 10 percent by volume of MTBE and in 1988 increased this to 15 percent. In the late 1980's ARCO Petroleum began marketing Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) with MTBE as an additive. Called "EC-1", the fuel was designed specially to reduce emissions and to replace leaded gasoline in older vehicles. In 1990, Federal laws were passed requiring gasoline to contain 2.7% by weight oxygenate in the winter months to reduce carbon monoxide emissions in 39 cities across the country. About 2/3 of this oxygenate requirement was met by using MTBE (the remainder used ethanol). The Clean Air Act also established a RFG program containing 2% by weight oxygen content, which began implementation in 1995. The RFG program is mandatory in nine cities with the worst smog, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Houston, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Hartford, and New York City. Other areas voluntarily joined the RFG program. RFG is currently used in 17 states and the District of Columbia, and is estimated to reduce emissions equivalent to eliminating 16 million vehicles. The oxygenated fuels program is credited with achieving a significant reduction in CO and VOC emissions from the present vehicle fleet.
In 1991, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted rules for California Reformulated Gasoline (CaRFG2) which began implementation in 1996. The refiners in California selected MTBE as the oxygenate of choice to meet both the federal oxygen requirement and the CaRFG2 emissions requirements. The refineries selected MTBE over other oxygenates due to is availability, lower cost, high octane value, ability to dilute other harmful gasoline components, and good mixing and volatility properties."
So the government passed laws requiring that oil companies include this shit in all the gas sold, and now protecting them from lawsuits is protecting big oil?!?
My favorite part is that the other oxgenate option is Ethanol. What does congress say about ethanol?
"Other senators complained the bill's tax breaks and incentives were misguided. So we passed a law mandating pollution reduction but we won't protect the people producing and using the additives we mandated.
They particularly targeted the provisions requiring that ethanol be added to gasoline, a boon to states where corn farming is widespread.
"Ethanol is a product that would not exist if Congress didn't create an artificial market for it," said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican."
Don't you just love the government?
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