03 February 2006

Just testing; do not adjust your set

So, America's on the road to energy independence, eh?

That's the impression GWB's State of the Union speech left us with the other night. Efficient cars, nuclear power and alternative fuels will wean the country off Mid-East oil. Right.

So where's the plan to increase fleet mileage in the American auto industry? What about the tax increases needed to subsidize nuclear's sky-high costs?And the money for alternative fuels research?

Yesterday's New Times story on the reality behind the rhetoric, after dozens of paragraphs of musings and speculations by insiders and outsiders alike, finally gets to the meat at the end:

The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget.

A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush cited on Tuesday night as holding the promise to replace part of the nation's oil imports.

The budget for the laboratory, which is just west of Denver, was cut by nearly 15 percent, to $174 million from $202 million, requiring the layoff of about 40 staff members out of a total of 930, said a spokesman, George Douglas. The cut is for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.

Still holding out hope that Bush might have actually seen the light, that he might actually understand what he means by "America is addicted to oil"? Then how about the day-after briefing, courtesy of Knight Ridder:

WASHINGTON - One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.

But America still would import oil from the Middle East, because that's where the greatest oil supplies are.

We now return you to our regular programming.

3 Comments:

Blogger James Aach said...

I agree with you that the President's speech was lacking in a key element - the call for conservation. As a longtime energy professional, I view a strong focus on this as the first, biggest step we must take towards our energy future. The cheapest, cleanest energy is the stuff you leave in nature and don't use. Next, you do have to actually look for solutions, versus just saying you are.

If you'd like an entertaining inside look at electricity generation and nuclear power, see RadDecision.blogspot.com for my novel, available at no cost to readers (who seem to like it, judging from the comments on the hmepage.)

12:48 PM  
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3:57 AM  

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