Energy Security and Independence?
Oh, that pesky law of unintended consequences. Just last month, we learned the use of crops for biofuel (ethanol) production may actually increase greenhouse gas emissions. Not such good news, considering the recently passed federal energy bill mandates a six-fold increase in biofuel production to 36 billion gallons per year by 2022.
The latest flaw to be found in the energy bill: The Financial Times reports that Canada has warned the U.S. that an expansive interpretation of the energy bill would make Canada’s oil sands off-limits to U.S. importation. The bill requires the greenhouse gas emissions from alternative fuels to be equal to or less than those from conventional fuels. If oil sands were classified as a non-conventional fuel, U.S.-Canada trade (and relations) would take a major hit, and global oil supplies would be crimped, with one energy expert warning that “$106 a barrel is going to look cheap.”
So let’s do a quick review of the energy bill so far: environmental degradation, rampant food inflation, and a potential Third World famine due to corn ethanol; increased potential for mercury exposure from mandatory CFL bulbs; and the prospect of a ticked-off major trading partner on our northern border and an increased dependence on ever-more-expensive Middle Eastern crude. If this is the best the Beltway class can do, hopefully the public will become more inclined to trust the private sector and free markets to find solutions.