“Gang of 10” compromise on energy?

posted at 1:10 pm on August 1, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Fox News has a breaking story that key Senators from both parties may have reached a compromise on energy that includes allowing for drilling in the outer continental shelf (OCS). It would take a kitchen-sink approach urged by Republicans all along — more work on alternatives and conservation, but also the removal of restrictions on domestic production to alleviate the supply crisis in the world market. It also pointedly excludes the populist demonization of commodities traders:

A bipartisan group of 10 senators offered an energy plan Friday aimed at producing more domestic oil via offshore drilling, reducing energy prices, and aiding the troubled economy.

The plan also would require automobiles to be more fuel efficient and would provide research money for improved batteries to move away from petroleum-products in cars: the plan calls for 85 percent of vehicles to run on non-petroleum-based fuel in 20 years.

Senators said the bill also would promote more renewable energy sources and nuclear energy, as well as carbon capture techniques to reduce greenhouse gas production through tax and other incentives.

The plan would lift restrictions off of the Atlantic coast and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Drilling would take place 50 miles or more from shore to buffer the coast from any potential environmental damage. The report does not specify whether the plan will open the interior for drilling for oil shale and natural gas.

Those in the gang of 10 are Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La; Saxby Chambliss; R-Ga, John Thune, R-S.D.; Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.; and Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Harry Reid, on his way out of town, issued a mildly supportive statement, and Nancy Pelosi hasn’t yet commented. This compromise could save the Democrats from their own leadership, and it represents a major rebellion against the hard-line demagoguery provided by Reid and Pelosi. This expansion represents a good start to restoring some common sense to American energy policy and marginalizing the radical environmentalists who have taken it hostage for a generation.

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Our withdrawal from hydrocarbon fueled vehicles should be based on conditions on the ground.

Maquis on August 1, 2008 at 4:24 PM

This I just don’t get. I’m not for government mandating automotive design, and I even signed a petition against OBD III, but this isn’t new. The government has been dictating to the auto industry for years, so why now do you want to ride to the rescue now? Detroit would have liked some of this support decades ago.

DFCtomm on August 1, 2008 at 5:15 PM

I’m not supporting Detroit with that statement, I’m supporting the American people’s need for decent transportation without creating a future crisis of a draconian nature. 85% is a ridiculous number, and the technology isn’t there yet. I love technology, I’d love to drive a hydrogen car fueled by my own solar cells, and I hope the day comes where I do, but dictating it won’t work. Dictating solutions tends to wipe out emerging ideas that might actually be superior. American inventors will provide the answers, and the market will sort it out.

Maquis on August 1, 2008 at 5:44 PM

I’ll believe it when something is actually accomplished but I still expect the Dem leadership to stonewall. Actually that might be a good thing for us if they stall until after the November elections. Maybe some of them will not be back next year.

docdave on August 1, 2008 at 6:03 PM

When did it become the job of congress to tell industry what they must produce and how to do it? Those who plotted to take over the oil industry to ration energy in an effort to control the population have suffered a slight setback in their try to increase government intrusion into every area of our lives. Pelosi and Reid are traitors to this nation and our constitution. The left does not care about you, it just wants control.

Zelsdorf Ragshaft on August 1, 2008 at 2:00 PM

The best comment I’ve read. Leave the specific means of transportation and energy to the market. The basic goal and rallying cry should be “Hands off!” and “Get Out of the Way!” — permanently — to Congress.

JDPerren on August 1, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Those in the gang of 10 are Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La; Saxby Chambliss; R-Ga, John Thune, R-S.D.; Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.; and Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

I count 9. Who is the 10th?

Something stinks about this, and I’m not just referring to the inclusion of Mary Landrieu.

DannoJyd on August 1, 2008 at 6:34 PM

You are right (DannoJyd) anything that has Lindsey (Gobber) Graham nane on it stinks to high heaven

thmcbb on August 1, 2008 at 6:54 PM

Thune is kind of hot.

salmonczar on August 1, 2008 at 7:23 PM

What rare materials are used in quantity in computers? They’re made of mostly silicon and plastic.

Tantalum in the high-frequency bypass capacitors. Microscopic amounts of gold covering the contacts. Possibly germanium in the low-temperature solders. LEDs may contain indium or gallium as well as arsenic (in parts-per-million concentrations). Other semiconductors may contain arsenic in similar quantities.

njcommuter on August 1, 2008 at 11:38 PM

No compromise, you RINOS.

dogsoldier on August 2, 2008 at 7:26 AM

Anyone check to see if they inserted “carbon cap” language that would make it impossible or too expensive for companes to develop and extract the oil? They tried it before.

El Guapo on August 2, 2008 at 9:51 AM

No compromise, you RINOS.

dogsoldier on August 2, 2008 at 7:26 AM

I agree. Now is not the time for compromise. The American people are ready to go full speed ahead with ALL forms of domestic energy. Compromise would probably keep us out of ANWAR when that is the place to start! Compromise would probably limit the number of nuclear plants and refineries. Would shale oil be part of a compromise plan? Doubtful. Compromise would also let Obama back in the game. He’s already talking compromise himself.


Ordinary1 on August 2, 2008 at 11:49 AM

The ideal would be batteries powered by nuclear/wind/solar/hydroelectic/etc. sources. Why all the bashing of electric cars? We should use hydrocarbons as long as necesary, but we shouldn’t fetishize them.

Big S on August 1, 2008 at 3:11 PM

Are you my new stalker or stomething? I have a few but hey what is one more!

So tell me there brainiac… what other viable alternative fuels are able to give the same large scale enery that Oil, Natural Gas or Coal?

And saying Nuclear doesn’t count because you can’t drive it around. Not do ships that use it, because they usually take multitudes of people around the world… The Navy is good for that. So let me hear your options for the single user?!

Waits with baited breath.

upinak on August 2, 2008 at 12:56 PM

Scroom – It’s time to bust the Democratic party in the chops and not allow movement until all restrictions on drilling are removed. Nothing in the government moves until drilling bans end.

Alternative sources just don’t work. Batteries are horridly expensive and don’t last. They also need a source for their charging. That source needs energy. Windmills are as utterly disfiguring of the landscape as would be drilling ANYWHERE in ANWR. Besides, there is not enough reliable wind energy to power California let alone the entire US. Solar power would require unsightly facilities sprinkled all over the US landscape, too. At 1kW per square meter we’d need over 200 million square meters of collector (with current efficiencies) to handle California at peak demand. And that would leave is slightly energy deficient most of the day and severely energy deficient at night. We’re back to batteries again to keep up the slack – and they do not last. That would be an interesting blot on the landscape with many square miles worth of unreliability problems from connections and wiring. (All that wonderful metal to harvest and sell to junk dealers might make interesting problems, too.)

Alternative energy sources have not been adequately thought out. Promising items are on the horizon, further out than the energy we can harvest now from the ground. The environment might be nice to save. But when the danger is a small parcel of blot in a God forsaken chunk of ANWR and off shore drilling compared to killing off a nation’s economy, I pick the humans as the rightful winners here.


herself on August 2, 2008 at 1:16 PM

This is a loser, because the politicians have attempted to pick future technology winners.

You would think they would have learned something from the Ethanol fiasco…as well as the coming PTC (outlandish tax credits for wind) fiasco. Each of these measures encourages market actions which are uneconomical, undesirable, and which produce little or no new energy!!!

The right way to push technology is to pick a broad subject, define the parameters of success broadly and functionally (without interfering with the technology choices), and fund R&D only!!! Production should always be self-funding: if it’s not, the technology is a loser and should be dropped!

The proposed “compromise” assumes that petroleum is a “nonrenewable” and is “undesirable”. There is a large body of evidence that neither assumption is valid.

Nobody has demonstrated any means of safely storing, transporting, delivering and utilizing portable energy which is superior to petroleum products. In addition, petroleum is a basic ingredient in thousands of other items we use every day: demonizing petroleum is a silly exercise which ignores this reality.

landlines on August 2, 2008 at 2:32 PM

No ANWR, no oil shale, no exemptions for Canadian Tarsands, and wait until the Dims sic the EPA and greenie-weenies on the offshore drillers.
In other words, it’s all bullshit, like all RINO compromises.

TexasJew on August 2, 2008 at 3:21 PM

Not good enough.

RD on August 2, 2008 at 3:44 PM

Compromise at your peril…

jerrytbg on August 2, 2008 at 11:15 PM

“85 percent of vehicles.”

Buy our new model year ‘29 Super Hummer-Ultra SUV and get 5 bicycles free!

pedestrian on August 1, 2008 at 1:38 PM

The camels nose under the tent.

Johan Klaus on August 3, 2008 at 9:52 AM

I don’t know if people who are dreaming of electric cars are prepared for the reality of dealing with the batteries.

DFCtomm on August 1, 2008 at 3:26 PM
Hey, internal combustion engines are no picnic either.

Big S on August 1, 2008 at 3:40 PM

But, they are by far the best bang for the buck.

Johan Klaus on August 3, 2008 at 9:53 AM

This entire effort is mis-chartered: the objective should be to provide all the energy our country will need now and in the future.

When politicians try to forecast and/or dictate what energy sources will be practical 10 or 20 years in the future, you can be sure that whatever they do will be an absolute disaster.

So the 20 year plan should be something like “provide at least 30% additional energy in the USA by 2005 and provide additional energy to match population and industrial growth going forward from there at an inflation-adjusted cost per energy unit which is no greater than the average cost of comparable energy in 2007.”

The objective needs to be kept generic so that new fuels which may be unknown at this time are not precluded. It also needs to be broad so that government does not try to dictate the energy delivery medium (electricity, chemical fuels, radiation, electromagnetic, or something new and entirely unknown to us now), or the type of fuel. What if we discover that oil is an inexhaustable resource and it becomes available at $10 per barrel again?

landlines on August 3, 2008 at 6:20 PM

The gang of 10 are going to water down their PHONY bill down so that Democrats can take the oil issue off the table and Republicans get a defeat – And the public doesnt get what it REALLY wants – drilling – its a loss all-around.

Lindsay Graham just gets our goat every time. You would think S.C. could do alot better than him…

You know McCain would be in that bunch if he wasnt running for Pres too…

winged on August 3, 2008 at 7:19 PM

Mary Landrieu is smarter than I thought she was.

SouthernGent on August 3, 2008 at 8:58 PM

85% is a ridiculous number, and the technology isn’t there yet.

Yea it is. LPMEOH process Methanol. We can produce it for under $1.50 for a gasoline gallon equivalent (i.e. about 2 gallons of methanol @ $.60-70/gal)

All you need to do is remove/encapsulate any aluminum from the fuel stream because methanol is mildly acidic and oxidizes aluminum. LPMEOH methanol is VASTLY superior as a mid-game strategy than bio-ethanol.

Purple Avenger on September 4, 2008 at 10:15 PM