Monday, October 10, 2005

Bush beats swords into oil shares

When the Bush Administration and the oil industry tried to ram through the energy bill earlier this year it contained stuff even some Republicans gagged on. In order to get the bill through congress they had to be eliminated. Now emetic provisions are back, thanks to Hurricane Katrina.

This week the House passed (by a slim two vote margin) the Orwellian-titled Gasoline for America's Security (GAS) Act.

Described as an effort to streamline the "cumbersome" process for constructing new oil refineries, the GAS Act has been described as
"a big fat wet kiss to the energy industry, easing Clean Air Act provisions to streamline refinery development and codifying the President's ability to suspend clean-air standards in a state of emergency." (Gristmill)
The bill is the "brain" child of Joe Barton, the notorious Republican hack from Texas who Chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Besides loading it with gifts for the oil industry, the House Republican leadership beat back an attempt to tighten up on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy [CAFE] standards for passenger cars and light trucks, revealing their lack of interest in improving gasoline supplies when it hurts corporate interests.

Among other things, the bill would
would ease permitting rules for oil refineries, instruct the president to designate new refinery sites on at least three retired military bases and relax air pollution controls on thousands of industrial facilities across the country. (WaPo) [my emphasis]
All those communities weathering the bad economic news that their local military base is being closed will get worse news: they'll be replaced by oil refineries. Jobs with cancer fringe benefits and dirty air for the community. Lovely.

With any luck it will go down the toilet in the Senate. But you never know.

This use of national crises as Trojan Horses for the BushCo agenda is part of a pattern that goes back to 9/11. It underlines the importance of carefully scrutinizing the Administration's hastily assembled response to a pandemic flu threat. These guys have no conscience and no sense of responsibility (except to their corporate sponsors).