Saturday, March 1, 2008

The mislabeled “Energy Independence and Security Act” is even worse than we thought

When I wrote about the “Energy Independence and Security Act” (EISA), now the law of the land, I pointed out the mislabeled law provided neither independence nor security. What I didn’t know then was that not only does the law not provide independence from mid east oil, it also deprives us of a secure oil source.

A little-noticed provision of the ironically named "Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007" that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush last December bars the federal government from purchasing fuels whose life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions are greater than those from fuels produced from conventional petroleum sources. The obscurity of the provision and the fact that the media doesn’t understand its importance has made it virtually unknown to the public.

The Financial Times in its February 15th edition noticed that section 526 of the energy bill prohibits the federal government from buying oil that was produced from Canadian tar sands, a reserve that holds about two-thirds the amount of recoverable oil as compared to reserves in Saudi Arabia. Because it takes greenhouse gas-producing energy to extract oil from the tar sands, the article focused on the fact that the law could affect billions of dollars of trade in oil, particularly since the U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest single buyer of light refined petroleum.

But while the Financial Times observed a provision overlooked, or deliberately ignored, by the US media, it failed to appreciate the more significant aspect of this prohibition; namely, that this is yet another effort by environmentalists and their congressional toadies to disrupt our energy supply.

Democrat representative Henry Waxman and RHINO Republican Tom Davis already are pressing the Department of Defense to comply with the provision because the Air Force is using oil from coal to fuel airplanes to determine the log term viability of this energy source. In a letter to the Secretary of Defense, Waxman and Davis asked the DOD how it will ensure that the fuel it buys doesn’t come from Canadian tar sands or from domestic coal-to-liquid processing.

Waxman and Davis apparently expect the military to take on the impossible task of tracing the source of the fuel it purchases and then to refuse North American oil from unconventional sources apparently in favor of oil from OPEC sources such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. How’s that for energy independence and security?

If you believe as I believe that tar sand and coal-to-oil processes is the path to energy independence, then you will agree this law is a damaging step along the path global warming fanatics want to drag us through on the way to making the United States less than the great nation it is.

The plain language of section 526 can also be read to include banning the federal government from purchasing ethanol, since its life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions are greater than that of conventional petroleum, but notice that Waxman and Davis say nothing about ethanol because it is now the fuel de jour.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and the Nature Conservancy reported in the February 7th edition of Science "Turning native ecosystems into 'farms' for biofuel crops causes major carbon emissions that worsen the global warming that biofuels are meant to mitigate”. Another study in the same issue of Science projected that the life-cycle greenhouse gas emission from ethanol over 30 years is twice as high as from regular gasoline.

Yet, interestingly, Waxman and Davis specifically excluded biofuels from their letter to the DOD.

If the government is barred from use of tar sand and coal-to-liquid fuels, how long will it be before a government ban spreads to contractors that do business with the federal government, to states and their contractors, and then, by default, to the nation as a whole? How can we take the presidential candidates, President Bush and Congress seriously on the energy independence issue when none of them opposed a bill that actually makes us more dependent on OPEC?

1 comment:

Charles Davis said...

I liked this article better when I first read it at Fox News:,2933,333574,00.html