Thursday, January 8, 2009

Roskam's Energy "VISION" Act?

While Peter touts his appointment by his party to the powerful House, Ways and Means committee, he clearly is becoming one of the rising "stars" of the heavily tarnished Republican Party, and being a part of the minority party, it's going to be a lot easier to make hay as an oppositionist than a leader looking for solutions.

At the same time, Peter has developed an Energy "Vision" Act. The quotes are not his, but mine, as there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of visioning to his proposals, just problem solving (you can see a summary of his proposal at, and from there read the whole thing).

The problem with his proposal is that it is entirely made up of changes to the technology, but nothing about the consumption patterns. On his webstie ( his starting point is the high cost of fuel ("$4.09"). Last time I checked, it was at about $1.75. It also seems to be that consumption patterns did not change until prices when up and, as far as I can tell, we Americans consume too much and need to change our patterns and behaviors. In addition to the lack of mention about changing consumption patterns, you are hard pressed to see anything about solar and wind, but plenty about clean nuclear and zero-emission coal development.

This is not to say there are not some valid proposals - in fact they all probably are valid and worthy. What's lacking is the hard message that entire communities need to hear - we all need to look at what we can do to make a difference. It's great that we can get more fuel efficient cars and decrease demand on foreign oil, but fundamentally we also need to rethink our priorities. Ultimately, when we take a step back and look at all the challenges we face, they are connected, and will be asking us to start looking far more closely at needs vs. wants. The wants need to be lessened. But Peter does not mention anything about what we all must do. To my mind, he is completely missing the boat on this, and feeding into a sense of entitlement that is our biggest demon.