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Here Come the Idiots

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June 12, 2007 – Comments (6)

The Democrats, rushing to screw with the fuel marketplace, in worthless -- and doomed -- attempt at creating energy independence through expensive, uneconomical, and filthy coal-to-fuel plants, subsidized by you know who (us.).

Coal-state lawmakers are pushing for a wide array of government assistance to jump start the new industry. In the House, Representative Rick Boucher, Democrat of Virginia, has drafted a bill that would insulate coal-to-liquid plants from gyrations in energy prices by providing companies with automatic loans if oil prices drop too low to make coal-based liquids profitable.

Other lawmakers have proposed letting the Air Force sign 20-year contracts to buy vast amounts of coal-based jet fuel at fixed prices. And still others have proposed including coal-based liquids in a government mandate to greatly expand production of alternative fuels.

 

Leave it to the market, you bozos.

Sj 

6 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 12, 2007 at 11:22 PM, StockSpreadsheet (71.04) wrote:

Normally I would agree to let the marketplace take care of itself, as it does a much better job than Congress ever will.  This is one case where I think I disagree. 

Refiners haven't built a new refinery in the U.S. in decades.  They keep saying that there is too much volatility in the crack spread, too many environmental regulations and too much NIMBYism to make new refinery construction profitable or advisable.   

The U.S. has the worlds largest coal reserves, last time I checked, enough to power all our needs for 250 years, according to a recent article I read.  Jumpstarting a coal-to-gasoline industry with federal help makes sense to me.  They could locate the refineries near the coal fields, where I think NIMBYism would be fairly small.  (Just my opinion on that last.)  This would increase our reliance on domestic reserves and reduce it on foreign resources, lessening the income to crackpots like the ones running Sudan, Venezuela, Russia and Iran.  Without federal guarantees, once commercial companies started building the oil-to-gas plants, OPEC could just drop the price of oil and gas and squeeze out the profitability of the new plants to insure their high profits and insure America's dependence on foreign sources.  Once the industry has been built up some, then hopefully the government would back away from the industry and let the market take over, (which may be a fanciful dream on my part, but I like my fantasies).  

Also, I have read that they can remove a lot of sulfur and other polutants from the coal during the coal-to-liquid transition, which would make coal-fired power plants cleaner to run, (assuming they switched to run on the coal liquid, which I have read is a pretty easy switch).   Of course, this won't really affect the amount of CO2 produced, but could help allieviate the problem of acid rain in the affected regions.

As a side note, I think that coal-to-gasoline plants make much more sense than corn-to-ethanol plants.  Coal-to-gasoline plants won't affect the world's food reserves, (directly at least, I don't want to get into a global warming debate on the merits of ethanol vs. gasoline), whereas there are claims of impending starvation in some countries as more U.S. corn get used to make ethanol instead of being shipped overseas to feed starving people.

Because of all of the above, I think it is a good thing for the government to get into and subsidize, (like they do the ethanol industry), for a while, until the industry gets enough size and momentum to stand on its own two feet.  After that, then I say let the market take its course.  (I definately would NOT like to see some federal Coal-To-Oil Energy Administration Department set up by Congress, a la the Energy Department originally set up during the Carter administration.)

Just my thoughts.

Craig 

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#2) On June 12, 2007 at 11:31 PM, StockSpreadsheet (71.04) wrote:

Link to article on why no new refineries are being built.

 http://money.cnn.com/2007/06/05/news/economy/refining_investments/index.htm

It might be BS on the oil companies parts to help keep their profits high, but there might also be some truth in their assertions.  Just my opinion.

Craig 

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#3) On June 13, 2007 at 2:22 AM, Rorsch (80.78) wrote:

Gee, I wonder who sponsored Rick Boucher's election campaign.  Virgina and coal mines go hand in hand don't they?

I wouldn't worry about it to much Bent.  I don't think that bill will ever make it.  The citizen uproar would be significant. 

He's just trying to earn some political capital for his next election campaign.  He wants to keep getting those big fat checks from the coal companies. 

Our political system is like a big, fat, rusty wheel, that needs constant globs of grease to keep it turning.

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#4) On June 13, 2007 at 9:03 AM, devoish (96.47) wrote:

This is from www.opensecrets.org a website sponsored bt the Center for Responsive Politics.

Rick Bouchers industry sponsors, also

Coal vs. oil and gas 

Coal has a lot of catching up to do.

Me, I will vote against any politician that wants to invest my taxes in "alternative" energy instead of "renewable".

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#5) On June 13, 2007 at 11:04 AM, TMFBent (99.81) wrote:

Good thoughts all 'round. The issues I have with this kind of bill are numerous. First off, coal is the filthiest.

I agree that ethanol is a boondoggle, but only because these same greedy legislators are trying to convert old-fashion farm welfare into an energy independence issue by pushing corn ethanol. If we'd just import sugar-cane ethanol from Brazil at the going rate, it would make a ton more sense, but that's not politically popular.

Instead, this crowd would rather turn to a dirty, uneconomic process that rewards entrenched energy industry players at the expense of taxpayers and the environment.

I'm amazed at how idiotic these people can be.

Here's a crazy idea that I'd love to see some politico grow the guts to propose: Tax Breaks for Bikes. In some European cities, 40-60% of commutes are made by bicycle. Imagine the savings there, and the collateral benefits (healthwise.) I'll take a tax break and a few carbon credits for doing my part not to burn gas and raise the prices, folks.

Sigh. Only if there were a billion-dollar bicycle lobby.

Looks like The Onion has my back on this one.

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#6) On June 14, 2007 at 12:29 PM, zygnoda (26.82) wrote:

Ah, the bicycle lobby... look out here they come.  haha

The sugar cane route sounds good to me.  It's a shame that we can't go in that direction because of politics.

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