In support of the Obama-backed green energy bill, the House of Representatives ratified the document, which is now before the Senate. With any luck, the bill will die there. My opinion about the viability of this plan has become evident in my blogs over the past few weeks, but I don’t want my opinion to be the only thing E&P readers see on our site. A lot of people and publications have weighed in on this subject, and it is interesting to see the very different viewpoints presented. An article written by Darren Samuelsohn for a publication called Greenwire (which calls itself the leader in energy and environmental policy news), emphasizes the positive side of the bill, which the writer classifies as “an issue that sits atop the president’s domestic and international agenda.” The article quotes US EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s endorsement of the bill. “That is what the president wants. That’s what I want,” Jackson said. “I believe many senators want the same thing. Please consider the Environmental Protection Agency a partner in this effort to get America running on clean energy. And please, please keep up the momentum.” Jackson was one of four supporters of the bill who testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, emphasizing the threats from climate change and how reducing greenhouse gas emissions would help the US economy bounce back from recession. I don’t actually see the connection between addressing greenhouse gas emissions reduction and the recession, but I’ll keep my opinion out of this for the time being. According to the Greenwire article, EPW Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-California) intends to release legislation that builds on the House-passed climate bill within the next two weeks. A markup is also slated for either later this month or early August. Meanwhile, the Senate isn’t sure what the contents of the final submission will be, and Republicans are not happy about that situation. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Missouri) reportedly stacked the many iterations of the House climate bill (6,706 pages in all) on the desk in front of Boxer and asked how the chairwoman planned to work from a House bill that few have had a chance to read. Other Republicans in attendance suggested the bill be expanded to promote domestic energy production, including nuclear power. Another article, written by Jasmin Melvin of Reuters, introduces a number of other interesting issues. According to the article, Jackson told the committee that climate-change legislation would cost the average family at most $1 a day (which adds up to $365 per year). She followed up her observation with a rhetorical question: “Can anyone honestly say that the head of an American household would not spend a dollar a day to safeguard the well-being of his or her children?” In an earlier posting on this site, the numbers that were being tossed around were not this high. Figures that were released in mid-June by the Congressional Budget Office indicated the proposed law would cost $22 billion a year by 2020, or $175 for every household. And let’s not forget the analysis prepared for Representative Dave Camp, a Michigan lawmaker who leads the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, which says the cost could be $890 per household if measures are not put in place to give some industries free pollution permits and to sell others at auction to raise money for tax relief. A dollar a day does sound pretty reasonable, and it’s a much better promotional tag line for the Democrats. Don’t be surprised to see that in print again as the debate moves forward. In another published opinion, Daniel Whitten of Bloomberg reports that the Senate is unlikely to pass the bill despite the endorsement of the EPA. Whitten says Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma believes the climate legislation won’t be approved, in part because of Jackson’s admission to the Senate panel that US action alone will not reduce carbon dioxide levels. Inhofe stated that the US cannot put itself in a position where the country’s manufacturing base relocates to countries that do not limit carbon dioxide emissions. Another limiting argument is Boxer’s position that the measure is intended to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and create jobs in clean-energy industries such as wind and solar power. Whitten quotes Boxer as saying, “This is the challenge to our generation that offers hope, not fear, and a way out of the environmental and economic challenges we face.” Though this statement is somewhat true on the surface, it does not take into account the unrealistic goal of meeting US energy requirements with renewables or the fact that the number of “new jobs” in clean energy will not begin to equal the number of “old jobs” being eliminated in the coal industry and in the many refineries that are now engaged in processing oil. Since the final bill won’t be ready for some time (no exact date was given), I guess we’ll all have to wait and see what sort of reception it gets on the Senate floor. But if pragmatism and realism get a hearing, there is a good chance that Whitten’s take is accurate, and the Senate will not pass the bill. The truly unfortunate part of the story is that in the process of putting together a bill with an unachievable objective, the US has lost time and spent a lot of money chasing after a red herring. In the end, the problem of energy supply and security remains, and the way forward is no clearer.