Tuesday, January 31, 2006

President to promote "clear skies" in State of the Union?

Congress Daily is reporting this afternoon that President Bush may make a pitch for his moribund “clear skies” initiative in tonight’s State of the Union Address:

“...Bush also will emphasize nuclear, clean coal, liquefied natural gas, solar and wind production. He is also likely to reiterate his desire for Congress to approve several controversial energy solutions, including authorizing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, enacting his "Clear Skies" air quality plan and modifying EPA's New Source Review permitting program for electric utilities and refineries."

I can understand the President’s promoting ethanol as a way to divert attention from the huge profits announced by ExxonMobil and the few other big oil companies left in this age of mergers. If I were him, I guess I’d be trying to soften my image as an “oilman,” too. (Interestingly enough, although it has become very trendy to talk about ethanol, please note that the American Corn Growers Association has taken a turn to the dark side – it wants to block the EPA from setting standards for so-called “coarse” particles in the air.)

I would not get too excited about any “clear skies” reference. The bill is deader than a doornail.

If he does mention “clear skies,” I would interpret it as an effort to stroke some of his big fund-raising constituencies, for example, money-raising friend Tom Kuhn at the Edison Electric Institute.

IT would also suggest there isn’t all that much good to talk about.


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