Monday, 02 April 2012

Joe Biden Blames Republicans for Blocking Renewable Energy Programs

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Joe BidenAs the issue of rising gas prices dominates Obama’s current standing among the public, the White House is scrambling to broadcast the President’s purported dedication to U.S. energy independence. And one strategy the administration is engaging in is to accuse congressional Republicans of stonewalling executive efforts to improve the country’s energy and environmental stature.

This time, Obama’s right-hand man, Vice President Joe Biden, accused GOP lawmakers of blocking efforts to promote the development of solar, wind, and other renewable sources of energy. "They’re emasculating all the efforts to deal with renewable energy," Biden charged Sunday in a pre-taped interview on CBS’ Face the Nation. The Republicans "have no policy," he added, including the GOP presidential candidates who are pushing for more U.S. oil and gas drilling.

The Vice President proceeded to censure the supposed "polarization" that has been kindled in Congress, a result of the GOP-dominated 2010 congressional elections. Responding to CBS anchor Bob Schieffer’s question about the "lopsided blame" being cast at Republicans, Biden said he has never seen such gridlock before, despite being in the political scene "for a long time."

"I do think the idea of compromise is still alive and well with the Democrats and the Congress," he continued. "But with enough of a minority in the Republican Party controlling the majority, there is no room for compromise. I mean none."

But while Biden and Obama rail against Republicans for their purported "do-nothing" approach to energy policy, many critics have targeted the President for weakening U.S. energy independence, particularly regarding oil and natural gas development. For example, on January 18 of this year, the President rejected a permit to expand TransCanada's Keystone oil pipeline, which according to recent estimates, would deliver approximately 830,000 barrels of oil per day to the United States.

The $7-billion, Canada-U.S. pipeline would also create some 20,000 direct jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries, along with hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs. "We don’t as a nation have an energy strategy," averred John Engler, CEO of Business Roundtable, which includes business executives at some of the largest U.S. companies. "This is a weakness. I think if you had a strategy, the Keystone pipeline would have to be part of it. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be."

Furthermore, beyond the Keystone XL pipeline, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put forth a proposal last week that would effectively kill new coal development, according to Republicans and industry groups. As The New American reported March 27, the new EPA rule enacts first-ever carbon limits on all new power plants:

The Obama administration is surging forward with a first-of-its-kind EPA rule for new power plants, in what Republicans and industry groups say will inflate electricity prices and possibly kill off coal, the preeminent U.S. energy source. The EPA announced the rule Tuesday [March 27], with a goal to curb carbon dioxide emissions by imposing strict regulations on new coal-fired plants.

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama even went so far as to warn coal-plant operators that if they continue to build new plants, the government will bankrupt them. "[I]f somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can," the President said in a January 2008 interview, "it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted."

In response to the proposed EPA regulation, Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association, cautioned, "It is virtually calculated to drive coal, a very, very affordable generator of electricity, out of the U.S. electricity market."

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has doled out billions of taxpayer dollars to renewable energy companies — the very entities Biden is referring to — many of which transformed into green-tech boondoggles that have wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Indeed, the administration’s track record with green subsidies is severely tainted — one of the more illustrious investment blunders being the controversial demise of Solyndra, the now-defunct solar firm that placed $535 million of taxpayer money on the line. But Solyndra was not the lone transgressor.

Documents released earlier this year by CBS News revealed that 12 green-energy companies are now in financial disorder after collectively raking in nearly $7 billion in government assistance, five of which have already filed for bankruptcy — including Solyndra, SpectraWatt, Evergreen Solar, Beacon Power, and Eastern Energy.

The White House has also offered a $7,500 consumer tax credit to promote the Chevy Volt, the production of which was recently halted by General Motors due to floundering sales. Slumping interest in the plug-in hybrid — which has a price tag of around $40,000 — prompted the temporarily laying off of about 1,300 employees.

Taking such energy failures into consideration, along with the vast sums of environmental regulations that the administration has imposed on the private sector, critics suggest that Obama and Biden should be a little more careful about whom they decide to blame.

Photo of Vice President Joe Biden: AP Images

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