Surprisingly, the energy bill is about more than improving the allocation of energy resources (sarc one*).
1. It also "includes $540 million for La. to fight erosion:"
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., introduced the funding measure that was co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La. After the vote, Landrieu called obtaining the first-ever major infusion of cash from the federal government for coastal restoration "a fabulous victory."
"I can say for Louisiana that that money will be used to save America's wetlands, not just Louisiana's wetlands," Landrieu said. "That money will be put to good use."
The funding will be spread over four years beginning in 2007. About 35 percent of the money will go directly to the state's 19 coastal parishes.
Coastal restoration advocates on Friday said that the state will now need to show the rest of the nation that it can use the money wisely.
"It's a huge responsibility," said Mark Davis, executive director for the Coalition To Restore Coastal Louisiana. "This is a down payment we have to make use of."
Louisiana loses about 25 square miles of coastline each year. The price tag for repairing the erosion has been estimated at $14 billion.
"It's an important step in the adventure we're on," Davis said of the funding. "It's up to all of us in Louisiana to prove it's a smart investment."
Not that coastal restoration isn't an important issue, I think it is, but does it have to be tucked away in the bill designed to "enhance the energy security of the U.S."? If LA needs $14 billion, then the issue deserves a serious comparison of benefits and costs.
2. It will provide jobs!
After Friday's vote, Domenici acknowledged that the energy bill won't result in an immediate drop in the price of oil, which stands near $60 a barrel, or gas prices, now well over $2 a gallon.
"This bill will create more jobs and cleaner energy over the next five to 20 years," he said.
It's a jobs bill!During the expansion phase of the business cycle! Awesome use of the budget deficit (sarc two*)!
*Note: I just finished reading I am Charlotte Simmons (not recommended unless you deal with undergraduate college students everyday [my review]). I enjoyed the sarcasm discussions and intend to incorporate these into my daily conversations.
Update/correction: The 3+% that I mention above is based on the $14.5 billion in tax breaks that I've read over and over in the newspapers. A closer look at the costs shows that this is a small fraction of the cost of the bill. The CBO's cost estimate is about $41 billion, give or take the impact of a few unfunded mandates:
Most of the bill's estimated costs would stem from changes in spending subject to appropriation. We estimate that implementing the bill would cost $5.1 billion in 2006 and $35.9 billion over the 2006-2010 period from appropriated funds, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
This puts the LA coastal erosion spending at a little over 1% (roughly .5/41).