A GOP ENERGY ALTERNATIVE
August 2, 2010
Last week Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) unveiled his "Energy Roadmap," a companion bill to Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's plan for tax and spending reform. Nunes wants to get his party thinking about a modern, principled energy policy, says columnist Kimberley A. Strassel.
The bill is designed to produce energy, not restrict it. It returns government to the role of energy facilitator, not energy boss. It costs nothing and contains no freebies. It instead offers a competitive twist to government support of renewable energy. The bill is unabashedly focused on allowing America to responsibly access more of its own low-cost resources, says Strassel:
- It opens up more of the Outer Continental Shelf, and takes another run at opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- It restores the leasing for Western oil shale that the Obama administration has squelched.
Rather than throw federal loan guarantees at uncertain nuclear plants, the legislation attacks the true problem: bureaucratic roadblocks, says Strassel.
- It streamlines a creaky regulatory process, requires the timely up-or-down approval of 200 plants over 30 years and offers new flexibility for dealing with nuclear waste.
- Nunes likes to point out that his nuclear provision alone would do more to reduce carbon emissions than any Democratic proposal in existence, and it would, in fact, create green jobs.
The bill accepts the argument that renewables serve a purpose but cannot yet compete against traditional energy. It would divert all the federal resource royalties into a fund, says Strassel, and allow companies or individuals with proven renewable technology to take part in a reverse auction. They'd bid for government bucks; those that can produce the most megawatts for the least money win. Auction winners forgo other federal handouts. And consider this: The more fossil fuel extraction, the more royalties (potentially hundreds of billions of dollars) available to boost alternative energy.
Source: Kimberley A. Strassel, "A GOP Energy Alternative," Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2010.
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