According to an Associated Press report, lawmakers plowed through an energy bill yesterday that would provide billions of dollars in tax breaks to industry, open an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling and aid farmers by expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline.
Hey, I’m all for ethanol. So there is some good news. But now back to the bad news.
Democrats were expected to try to remove a provision that would, for the first time, allow oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Republicans said they’re confident the attempt will be rebuffed.
The refuge drilling issue is all but certain to be rejected in the Senate where opponents have vowed to block it by filibuster. Refuge drilling proponents in the Senate, instead, are hoping to get the measure passed as part of the budget process where the filibuster cannot be used.
Democrats complained that the tax package, which advanced out of the Ways and Means Committee, provides little to promote renewable energy sources and reduce energy use while funneling tax benefits to energy companies that already are making huge profits from high energy prices.
“There is no provision … that will lower the price of gasoline, only protect the profits of the oil industry,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) “What do the American people get — nothing but a raw deal.”