August 23, 2006

Sheldon Whitehouse Agrees with Bush Energy Policy

Marc Comtois

Sheldon Whitehouse continues his "Picnicing Across the Ocean State" campaign. He recently brought his basket to Tiverton and Little Compton. One of his big issues continues to be the price of gas, for which he blames President Bush's energy policy:

“George Bush and this Republican Congress have left us with a truly bad energy policy that’s dictated by the oil companies,” Whitehouse said. “I’ve met so many people here in Rhode Island who depend on gas to get by – and with these skyrocketing prices, they’ve got no way out. For our national security, our economy, and our environment, we urgently need a new energy strategy.”
Predictably, Whitehouse offers his own alternative energy plan, which is characterized like this in the aforelinked press release:
Earlier this month, Whitehouse unveiled a major new plan aiming to make America the world’s leader in energy innovation and achieve energy independence by 2020. The plan includes raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to an average of 40 mpg to improve fuel efficiency, and major new federal investments in development, production, and commercialization of new cellulosic biofuels made from sugar, wood waste, and switchgrass.
These are good ideas and it certainly in marked contrast to current energy policy.......or NOT!! Here are two related points from the President's Advanced Energy Initiative first outlined (hint: this is the short version) in his State of the Union speech this year. On increasing CAFE standards (excerpted from the AEI website):
The Administration increased CAFE standards for light trucks and SUVs for the first time in a decade, raising the standard from 20.7 mpg to 22.2 mpg for the current model year 2007 vehicles. We have proposed additional increases in the fuel economy of light trucks and SUVs produced in model years 2008-2011, which would save 10 billion gallons of fuel over the lifetime of those vehicles.
On Biofuels:
To achieve greater use of “homegrown” renewable fuels, we will need advanced technologies that will allow competitively priced ethanol to be made from cellulosic biomass, such as agricultural and forestry residues, material in municipal solid waste, trees, and grasses. Advanced technology can break those cellulosic materials down into their component sugars and then ferment them to make fuel ethanol.

To help reduce the costs of producing these advanced biofuels, and ready these technologies for commercialization, the President’s 2007 Budget increases DOE’s biomass research funding by 65%, to a total of $150 million. The President’s goal is to make cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive with corn-based ethanol by 2012, enabling greater use of this alternative fuel to help reduce future U.S. oil consumption.

I'm sure that the Whitehouse campaign's response will be something like, "Yeah, but we want to do more and faster....", which of course is easy to do when you're working off of someone elses proposal. Thus, given that Whitehouse's "new plan" is 8 months older than the President's current energy plan, it's pretty clear that Whitehouse agrees with the White House on an important aspect of energy policy.

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This is the Laffey plan that was presented to the press on Novemeber 7, 2005. Whitehouse's plan is downright plagerism right down to the "We need an energy program similar to Kennedy's man on the moon program.

Posted by: David Davis at August 23, 2006 12:20 PM

Casablanca is PICNICING across Rhode Island? Is there an element of the job description for US Senator that we are not aware of?

Posted by: SusanD at August 23, 2006 11:05 PM