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Environmental Tax Breaks???

gordontravels

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I was reading he business section of the Washington Post this morning about the 90% rise in the cost of natural gas since this time last year. Even if you use electricity, we generate 17% of it from natural gas as more plants either convert from coal (our most abundant energy resource) or are built to burn natural gas. The projection is that Americans will pay anywhere from 38 to 50% more to heat their homes this winter based on natural gas costs; more if it is a cold winter.

Members of Congress are now hearing another whisper that is not good for you and me. Manufacturers here in the states are considering either moving facilities overseas or building new facilities there because the cost of natural gas in Europe for instance is half what it is here. We pay over $13 per btu (British Thermal Unit) while some African and middle east countries pay $1 because of their supply and production. Europe pays around $7. It's hard to gripe about U.S. business moving overseas when it means lower costs for them and lower prices when we consume their products. Chemical companies are one of the hardest hit and we need their products for everything from medicine to packaging.

Many members of Congress are now considering offshore drilling for natural gas on the continental shelf which environmentalists and their politicians have resisted for decades. Now, some Democrats are under the gun from you and me for something that could save us on energy costs and more production would certainly help our bottom line. Natural gas is also clean to burn and more production would stop or cut down on dirtier coal. Good for the environment, right?

However, what the environmentalists want is more conservation even though our country's population and manufacturing will grow faster than conservation can stop the upward spiral of prices. They are against personal tax cuts but want tax credits for those of us that buy more efficient appliances. They want congress to require manufacturers to build more efficient appliances which is a good idea except - that will increase the cost of the appliances even with a tax credit and where does the American consumer get the extra money to buy that appliance. Meanwhile the cost of natural gas goes up because of demand outstripping production so by the time you own an energy efficient appliance, you have less savings because you're paying for natural gas that has gone up in costr.

We need exploration, development, drilling and production facilities for more natural gas that we have in abundance if allowed to go get it. It's up to your favorite Republican or Democrat to either produce for us or let us pay more and more. Which do you want?
:duel :cool:
 

UtahBill

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I have been watching the NG industry a bit lately. Does anyone know how much of that stuff we used to just burn off? We wasted a bunch, because we didn't have the technology and infrastructure to capture it, store it, and transport it. We do now, but it offers up a new problem. A ship hauling LNG, or a storage facility of LNG make inviting targets for terrorists.
My view on this is that we have to use our own existing fuels, but just find better ways to burn them without so much pollution. But FIRST, we need a comprehensive effort from Congress to mandate truly energy efficient houses and other buildings. If, back in the 70's, Congress had simultaneously required our construction/building companies to better insulate and seal our homes, we would be using a LOT less natural gas and oil to heat them, and a lot less electricity to run the air conditioners. Most of the gain in reduced pollution is due to the fact that cars have a short life span. Not only do the new ones burn cleaner and get more miles per gallon, but the older ones are constantly on the way to the junk yard. Can't say that with buildings,they tend to hang around for 40 to 50 years at least. It is called conservation, and apparently our conservatives in power don't understand the concept.
Isn't that odd?:shock:
 

AlbqOwl

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Government mandates requiring the American public to 'do good' almost always have unintended negative consequences. Conservatives want as little goverment mandates, regulation, and interference as possible, while at the same time they want a clean, unpolluted, and beautiful environment as much as anybody else does. Regulation is frequently necessary, but we all know that we look for ways around regulations that we resent. For instance, how many of us used to disconnect our catalytic converters when they first came out? As cars became more fuel efficient, however, they became a non issue.

Gordon mentioned the cost factor in creating more efficiency, but I think there are ways to get it done without it being a whole lot more expensive. Smaller, more fuel efficient automobiles and trucks generally cost less than the big gas guzzlers and they are quite popular with the economy-minded segment of society. The auto makers--at least some of them--have learned that Americans don't like cramped, uncomfortable automobiles, but if you can give them comfort along with the illusion of size, they will buy smaller, more fuel efficient automobiles. Rebates help.

To get people to buy more efficient appliances, a rebate is also a good incentive. The government could do this in the form of tax rebates to manufacturers for production of energy efficient appliances on condition that all or most of the rebate is passed on to the consumer who buys it. The government would set a minimum standard and thus reward those manufacturers who meet it. And of course a nice rebate is a very good incentive to get the consumers to buy the product, and good sales are a very good incentive to get the manufacturers to produce it. The government could sweeten the pot too by offering the rebates only to manufacturers who keep their plants here.

This would be manipulative, but I think that's okay for governments to do. It would not be a mandate or imposing punative regulations on manufacturers that could cost productivity and jobs.

I am always in favor of win-win solutions to problems. I think this could be win-win all the way around.
 

UtahBill

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A carrot and stick approach will work, or should. We humans have intellect, and should be able to choose the carrot over the stick.
I sent this idea on to my local GOP headquarters, maybe they will take it on as a good election year idea to present to the public. Even if they don't mean it, the word will get out....:mrgreen:
 

AlbqOwl

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UtahBill said:
A carrot and stick approach will work, or should. We humans have intellect, and should be able to choose the carrot over the stick.
I sent this idea on to my local GOP headquarters, maybe they will take it on as a good election year idea to present to the public. Even if they don't mean it, the word will get out....:mrgreen:
It always has unless the carrot is something that is offensive to the people. I think very few people are offended by a kitchen stove.

However, if the government provides the carrot, be prepared for the naysayers to be whining about 'corporate welfare' and 'being in bed with big corporate interests' yadda yadda.
 

UtahBill

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Naysayers should either put up or shut up. If they have better ideas, let them present them. I am all for corporate "welfare" if that is what is required to get us started down the path of common sense.
Certainly it takes a big organiziation, whether government or corporations, to affect a change in attitude this large. Not all is evil, especially profit. Without profit, there is no business, and without business, there are no jobs.
Occasional corporate excesses aside, they are not evil. Same can be said for our government leaders, altho evil is not the word I would apply there.
Stupid, maybe.:mrgreen:
 

AlbqOwl

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UtahBill said:
Naysayers should either put up or shut up. If they have better ideas, let them present them. I am all for corporate "welfare" if that is what is required to get us started down the path of common sense.
Certainly it takes a big organiziation, whether government or corporations, to affect a change in attitude this large. Not all is evil, especially profit. Without profit, there is no business, and without business, there are no jobs.
Occasional corporate excesses aside, they are not evil. Same can be said for our government leaders, altho evil is not the word I would apply there.
Stupid, maybe.:mrgreen:
No, some are evil if being dishonest, obsession with self-perpetuation, self serving, and politics of personal destruction, all at the expense of the people, can be considered evil.

On another point of Gordon's thread starter, increasing energy supply is something I think we are going to have to take a hard look at. There is nothing particularly beautiful about an oil derrick or a pump jack, but the fact is that there are as many known oil and gas reserves now as we have ever known of oil and gas reserves. That carrot and stick approach should be implemented to reward scientists and manufacturers to develop affordable, user friendly alternate forms of energy, but while that is being done we need additional energy sources and increased refining and storage capabilities.

The President has asked Congress to clear away unnecessary environmental regulations that are preventing new refineries from being built and new oil and gas exploration on coastal shelves or on protected lands. I think we have to find a way to make that happen as well as protect the environment. I also believe that we already have the technology to do it.
 

UtahBill

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Part of any energy plan must include less wasteful use of energy. It is easy to prove that just eliminating incandescent lamps and going to flourescents would kill the need for many, many power plants. Technology is helping us there with an even better form of lighting, LEDs, which produce light with almost zero energy being wasted in the form of heat.
Poorly insulated, leaky homes and commercial buildings are an even bigger waste of energy than lighting.
Conservation is something we can do NOW, at little or no expense compared to going out and getting more fuel supplies so we can continue to be energy hogs. A major attitude change toward consumption is on its way, and the recently increased costs of energy is the reason. I doubt seriously that the hoped for roll back of energy costs will go as far as we want it to go.
We are now competing with huge countries for the same energy supplies, and we have no favorite customer status with those who have those supplies.
Tax breaks can be an initial incentive to get us on the right path, but certainly should not be considered a permanent gift from government to us, whether individually or as a corporation. We have no right to lower energy costs than the rest of the world is paying.:(
 

AlbqOwl

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We are not ethically or morally required to pay more than we need to pay either.

When the last U.S. refinery was built in 1975--also about the time the last oil exploration project was completed--the population of the U.S. was about 215 million. It is now more than 295 million and expanding by hundreds of thousands per year, mostly due to illegal immigration.

In 1975 the world population was about 4 billion. It is now 6.44 billion and expanding at an alarming rate.

In addition to increased population, the world is increasingly depending on its technology and machines and that trend is not likely to be reversed any time in our lifetime.

No amount of conservation of existing oil and gas production can keep up with that kind of increased demand. We either increase the supply or we slow or cripple economic growth and in the long run that is going to hurt very many people in major ways.

I am not at all knocking conservation and will support all reasonable methods to achieve it. But we are going to have to have new energy sources, and we might as well bite the bullet now and just go get them before the well runs dry.
 

UtahBill

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AlbqOwl said:
We are not ethically or morally required to pay more than we need to pay either.

When the last U.S. refinery was built in 1975--also about the time the last oil exploration project was completed--the population of the U.S. was about 215 million. It is now more than 295 million and expanding by hundreds of thousands per year, mostly due to illegal immigration.

In 1975 the world population was about 4 billion. It is now 6.44 billion and expanding at an alarming rate.

In addition to increased population, the world is increasingly depending on its technology and machines and that trend is not likely to be reversed any time in our lifetime.

No amount of conservation of existing oil and gas production can keep up with that kind of increased demand. We either increase the supply or we slow or cripple economic growth and in the long run that is going to hurt very many people in major ways.

I am not at all knocking conservation and will support all reasonable methods to achieve it. But we are going to have to have new energy sources, and we might as well bite the bullet now and just go get them before the well runs dry.
True, population growth creates a need for more energy, but a 33% reduction in energy consumption makes room for a 50% increase in population, with NO new sources of energy required. Not really that simple, but it is close.
 

SouthernDemocrat

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AlbqOwl said:
We are not ethically or morally required to pay more than we need to pay either.

When the last U.S. refinery was built in 1975--also about the time the last oil exploration project was completed--the population of the U.S. was about 215 million. It is now more than 295 million and expanding by hundreds of thousands per year, mostly due to illegal immigration.

In 1975 the world population was about 4 billion. It is now 6.44 billion and expanding at an alarming rate.

In addition to increased population, the world is increasingly depending on its technology and machines and that trend is not likely to be reversed any time in our lifetime.

No amount of conservation of existing oil and gas production can keep up with that kind of increased demand. We either increase the supply or we slow or cripple economic growth and in the long run that is going to hurt very many people in major ways.

I am not at all knocking conservation and will support all reasonable methods to achieve it. But we are going to have to have new energy sources, and we might as well bite the bullet now and just go get them before the well runs dry.
We have less than 5% of the World's oil reserves. OPEC has over 70% of the world's oil reserves. Moreover, domestic oil production peaked 30 years ago. We simply cannot drill our way to more energy independence. Conservation, Efficiency, and alternative energy, especially nuclear, are our only real options.
 

gordontravels

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SouthernDemocrat said:
We have less than 5% of the World's oil reserves. OPEC has over 70% of the world's oil reserves. Moreover, domestic oil production peaked 30 years ago. We simply cannot drill our way to more energy independence. Conservation, Efficiency, and alternative energy, especially nuclear, are our only real options.
I agree with your post except for the last 4 words. Limitations on what we should, could, would do is no way to start. Unlimited; just as inventiveness has always been. Man will never fly. The horse is the best form of transportation. "I'm sorry but you only have a year to live." Any time you put limitations on the beginning of anything you either slow progress or turn away those who may only need a shove off the fence

The greatest stride in energy efficiency to date for this country is already here. It is the hybrid car; gas/electric getting up to 60/70 miles per gallon. I predict that as we see this marvel of invention come it will be a drop in the bucket for our energy needs. The Toyota Prius will start at $21,250+. Other cars getting half the mileage are still fuel efficient but cost less than half. If you buy the Prius your normal payback in fuel savings at $3.00 per gallon will be about 9 years. Most Americans will buy a new or used car every 4 to 6 years. They will receive no savings and it will be worse if in those 4 to 6 years the cost of fuel goes up more (and it will even with conservation).

We must be provided for with those savings and alternative energy proposals and yes, nuclear energy. We have one of the largest uranium reserves in the world. We have the technology to build safe plants and even deal with waste that will last dangerously for thousands of years.

Our economy is based on the person that lives in Salt Lake City, San Diego, Burlington, Dallas, Seattle and Miami. He needs the medicine, cooking oil, tuna, hambuger, tires, hammer, computer and envelope. He needs to buy things locally. If he has to depend on what is made locally he will either need more income, companies that don't make money or he must go without. You can't have a chemical plant everywhere; those tank cars have to roll. Those trucks that carry tomatoes have to run. That store has to be stocked or you have to do without.

This country has put up with "our only real options" for year after year and now we are paying the price. No matter how you look at it, 295 million people will not absorb the cost of energy in this country without pain that has been caused by a government that is self serving first. We have to "fix" Social Security because our Democrats and now our Republicans spent and continue to spend it. We have to pay $3.00 for a gallon of gas because our government didn't plan on the inevitable. Instead of having a government of action we have a government of reaction.

Want better? Turn your back on the Republicans and Democrats and make them earn your vote. If you can't register non-partisan then register Independent. The more that do the more responsive our government will have to be. The more we sit in political forums and pay it lip service the more they will plod on to their generous non Social Security retirement while jockying for their party. I'd rather ride them.
:duel :cool:
 

SouthernDemocrat

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gordontravels said:
I agree with your post except for the last 4 words. Limitations on what we should, could, would do is no way to start. Unlimited; just as inventiveness has always been. Man will never fly. The horse is the best form of transportation. "I'm sorry but you only have a year to live." Any time you put limitations on the beginning of anything you either slow progress or turn away those who may only need a shove off the fence

The greatest stride in energy efficiency to date for this country is already here. It is the hybrid car; gas/electric getting up to 60/70 miles per gallon. I predict that as we see this marvel of invention come it will be a drop in the bucket for our energy needs. The Toyota Prius will start at $21,250+. Other cars getting half the mileage are still fuel efficient but cost less than half. If you buy the Prius your normal payback in fuel savings at $3.00 per gallon will be about 9 years. Most Americans will buy a new or used car every 4 to 6 years. They will receive no savings and it will be worse if in those 4 to 6 years the cost of fuel goes up more (and it will even with conservation).

We must be provided for with those savings and alternative energy proposals and yes, nuclear energy. We have one of the largest uranium reserves in the world. We have the technology to build safe plants and even deal with waste that will last dangerously for thousands of years.

Our economy is based on the person that lives in Salt Lake City, San Diego, Burlington, Dallas, Seattle and Miami. He needs the medicine, cooking oil, tuna, hambuger, tires, hammer, computer and envelope. He needs to buy things locally. If he has to depend on what is made locally he will either need more income, companies that don't make money or he must go without. You can't have a chemical plant everywhere; those tank cars have to roll. Those trucks that carry tomatoes have to run. That store has to be stocked or you have to do without.

This country has put up with "our only real options" for year after year and now we are paying the price. No matter how you look at it, 295 million people will not absorb the cost of energy in this country without pain that has been caused by a government that is self serving first. We have to "fix" Social Security because our Democrats and now our Republicans spent and continue to spend it. We have to pay $3.00 for a gallon of gas because our government didn't plan on the inevitable. Instead of having a government of action we have a government of reaction.

Want better? Turn your back on the Republicans and Democrats and make them earn your vote. If you can't register non-partisan then register Independent. The more that do the more responsive our government will have to be. The more we sit in political forums and pay it lip service the more they will plod on to their generous non Social Security retirement while jockying for their party. I'd rather ride them.
:duel:cool:
Jimmie Carter tried to get the country to conserve more and use less foreign oil over 25 years ago and he was ridiculed for it. If we would have done what he tried to get us to do back then, today we would be a hell of a lot better off for it. We didn’t and you can blame Reagan, Bush, and to a slightly lesser extent Clinton and Bush Sr. for it (as they were both more conservation and efficiency minded). If Pro-Industry Republicans and Democrats would update CAFÉ standards, we would be better off. Mandates foster innovation, they always have and this is a national security issue. We have less than 5% of the world’s oil reserves and hit peak production 30 years ago. No amount of corporate welfare for oil companies is going to change that. Our biggest obstacle to greater energy independence is not environmentalists. If we did what they wanted us to do, we would be more energy independent because of conservation and efficency. However, unfortunately, for every dollar mainstream environmental groups spend lobbying congress, the oil and coal industry spends at least 100. We dont have an unlimited amount of money and resources to invest in energy independence. We can either do it the oil company way and give it to them in the form of corporate welfare or we can invest in alternative energy and efficency.
 
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gordontravels

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SouthernDemocrat said:
Jimmie Carter tried to get the country to conserve more and use less foreign oil over 25 years ago and he was ridiculed for it. If we would have done what he tried to get us to do back then, today we would be a hell of a lot better off for it. We didn’t and you can blame Reagan, Bush, and to a slightly lesser extent Clinton and Bush Sr. for it (as they were both more conservation and efficiency minded). If Pro-Industry Republicans and Democrats would update CAFÉ standards, we would be better off. Mandates foster innovation, they always have and this is a national security issue. We have less than 5% of the world’s oil reserves and hit peak production 30 years ago. No amount of corporate welfare for oil companies is going to change that. Our biggest obstacle to greater energy independence is not environmentalists. If we did what they wanted us to do, we would be more energy independent because of conservation and efficency. However, unfortunately, for every dollar mainstream environmental groups spend lobbying congress, the oil and coal industry spends at least 100. We dont have an unlimited amount of money and resources to invest in energy independence. We can either do it the oil company way and give it to them in the form of corporate welfare or we can invest in alternative energy and efficency.
Every time. Every single time. Clinton to a lesser degree; Bush senior to a lesser degree. Why not just take the reality check. Jimmy Carter had a Democrat controlled congress as did Reagan, Bush senior and Clinton. The President can set an agenda or suggest to his party or the congress as a whole as President Carter did and the speed limit will drop from 70 to 55. That will save fuel and energy. But, to think that a president is responsible for actually implementing conservation is not to understand how the process works.

The other thing you have right, maybe, is that environmentalists would force conservation but that would not necessarily lead to efficiency. Nearly any innovation whether in energy, chemicals, medicine or any of hundreds of industries depends on research backed by funding which means profits. Environmentalists would curb profits along with their search for conservation and efficiency. This is one aspect of our healthcare system that many hate. Profits. However, profits lead to innovation and research that more often than not comes to nothing; no product, no profit. Maybe it leads to the drug that saves your life. Take the profit out of it for the companys and then what? Give them tax money? From whom would you take it? The rich? Then you have to wonder who would invest in the company.

If you read Al Gore's book "Earth in the Balance" you will find a great idea for conservation. He proposes to do away with the internal combustion engine because he would want the cost of gasoline so high that people would have to give up their cars. He wrote it I didn't. The point of this whole energy problem we are in is how to help Americans afford it. AFFORD IT, get it? Conservation is one way of personally cutting your expenses but let's say you set your thermostat on 50 and your bill goes up 20%. Conservation? Not without a concerted effort by your Democrats and their Republicans.

I think the best thing for the energy crisis we face is the death of partisan politics and a united government and people. Too bad we have the media we do and the partisans from both political parties. Their attitudes impede progress from the top. And here I thought you and I were supposed to be the top.
:duel :cool:
 
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