As predicted here last week, House leaders put an “All of the Above” energy bill on the floor.
And conservatives in Congress — who pretended to support an “All of the Above” energy policy all summer — rejected it, staying under the covers in bed with Big Oil.
The compromise bill — which both allows states to lift bans on coastal drilling and repeals handouts to Big Oil so we can invest in clean energy — passed the House without conservative support. Furthermore, President Bush — for years the lead whiner demanding more drilling — threatened to veto the bill.
Why? As the New York Times reports:
Among other objections, House Republicans joined industry in criticizing the measure because it would eliminate about $18 billion in tax breaks for oil companies, including a manufacturing deduction of particular benefit to large firms. The savings from the oil companies would be diverted to pay for tax breaks and incentives for renewable fuels, vehicles that use alternative energy and other fuel efficiency programs and research.
To review, conservatives are rejecting a bill that allows for more coastal drilling and more clean energy — the exact “All of the Above” approach they claimed they wanted — because it would take away special favors for Big Oil.
Whatever problems there are with this bill, it has served a useful purpose. It has exposed the lie that conservatives really believe in a comprehensive “All of the Above” energy policy.
Anything that makes Big Oil the least bit unhappy — making oil companies pay their fair share in taxes, forcing oil companies to compete with clean energy companies, and actually giving us a choice for the energy we buy — conservatives will fight to the hilt.
And since the conservative minority is large enough to either filibuster a compromise bill in the Senate, or sustain a veto from President Bush, we will remain at the mercy of Big Oil — and forced to keep buying huge amounts of increasingly expensive oil.
Until that conservative minority becomes even smaller, our energy policy will not change, will not become more affordable and will not become cleaner.