Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obama Budget Snubs Oil, Gas and Nuclear!

The Associate Press's Josef Hebert reported a few days ago that the Obama budget rescinds energy industry tax breaks.
President Barack Obama outlined a budget plan Thursday that would end $26 billion in oil and gas industry tax breaks, point to a new direction for dealing with nuclear waste and shift government aggressively toward helping to develop renewable energy sources. Obama called the tax break to the oil and gas industry "unjustifiable loopholes" in the tax system that in most cases other companies do not get.
This is really great news, which will start giving oil and gas the same financial handicaps as renewables. This may mean that energy prices will be forced upwards again, but that will only put them at a level where they reflect more their true costs. Government can used to taxes paid by the industry to fund health care for all those people who have developed asthma and cancer from the pollution spewed into their neighborhoods from various exhausts. This will be the incentive financers of renewables need, because they will be on a better cost par with carbon-based (or nuclear based) technologies./p>

Unfortunately, coal is not mentioned in this article, so I don't know how coal is being treated in the budget. I wrote numerous times that both candidates Obama and McCain were too friendly to coal, but at least the courts have been better at cutting them down to size, and financial institutions have also been listening, so they've been finding other uses for their money than to support removing mountaintops and new plants to burn the stuff in (But see below.).

Other Energy-related Links;

  • Robert Redford wrote an op-ed piece called Time to transform Utah's energy-producing future in the Salt Lake Tribune May 8.
    Why keep buying foreign crude when we could be making energy right here in Utah from sunlight, wind and geothermal power? Why rip up more pristine wilderness to extract dirty fuels when we could generate clean power from the energy nature delivers to our doorstep?
    Dollar for dollar, investing in clean energy creates more jobs than investing in traditional energy sources like oil and gas. That really matters, especially when you consider that more than 30,000 Utah workers lost their jobs last year.
    We've got tens of thousands of windy acres here in Utah, sites for geothermal energy abound, and the southern part of the state has tremendous potential for solar power. We will have to carefully pick renewable energy sites that don't endanger critical habitat and wilderness-quality land, but the opportunity is vast.
    And that goes for all of the country!
  • CREDO asks us to Stop Bank of America from lending bailout funds to the polluting coal industry. Please sign their petition!
    Bank of America received almost $200 billion in bailout money — and now that money is leveraging the construction of new coal plants. Coal is the single biggest cause of global warming and Bank of America is one of the leading funders in the industry.
    Coal is the absolute wrong answer to our energy challenges. Burning coal is about the dirtiest way to make electricity. Coal-fired power plants currently account for 40% of our nation's carbon dioxide emissions, the leading cause of global warming. Coal-fired power plants release millions of tons of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, as well as close to 100,000 pounds of mercury (a very dangerous neurotoxin), every year.

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