WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Finance Committee accepted several key provisions introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) to the energy tax package. Kerry’s plan rolls back tax breaks for big oil companies, saving taxpayers $9.5 billion during the next 10 years. His proposals for tax credits for energy efficient homes and buildings, plug in hybrids cars, and renewable fuel production were also agreed to by the Finance Committee.Plug-in hybrid cars are very, very cool - and the tax incentive would be meaningful, $2,500. Toyota and Honda would probably offer that as either standard features or at least an option, with that kind of tax incentive. Basically, people charge up their batteries overnight and get 50 miles of driving before the car starts to use gas. I can't remember the exact percentages, but I've blogged about them before. Not that many people drive more than 5o miles a day on a regular basis.
Obviously, rolling back tax credits to ExxonMobile is a dead giveaway - they're more profitable than ever; they don't need our charity. So, those are some good measures by Kerry.
The Senator also made some revisions to the coal-to-liquid plans, which are pretty much the worst idea out of a whole lot of bad ideas that the Federal Government has come up with.
“Coal to liquids hurts our efforts to adopt clean, new, renewable sources of energy that are good for our environment and our future,” Kerry added. “My amendment will help curb greenhouse gas emissions from liquid coal facilities. We can burn coal in a clean way, while keeping jobs in our country and adding new ones. This legislation is a good place to start.”Using liquid coal creates 2.5 times more green house gasses for the environment, so the key word is "start." Hopefully, the Senator will decide against giving any incentives for coal-to-oil legislation. Democrats need to unite and stand up against liquid coal and Senator Kerry should be leading that charge. There may be a whole lot of coal to burn in America, but it's killing this atmosphere even quicker than just burning oil. Sure, we need independence from Mid East oil, but that independence has to come from renewable sources, as well as possibly ethanol and especially hydrogen.
Lastly, let's hope the US Government can do better than a 35 mile per gallon effort in 2020. By then, the ice caps could be melted and Manhattan (and Cape Cod) under water. It's time our elected leaders face up to that potential future and do what we can to make sure it stays science fiction.