August 17, 2001 05:37 PM | | Bookmark and Share

Just before the August recess, the House passed its version of the Bush energy bill, largely along partisan lines. The plan is centered on $33.5 billion in energy-related tax reductions over the next ten years. The bill’s backers disingenuously insist the bill is well-balanced, with 37 percent of the new tax breaks allegedly going to encourage “conservation,” 39 percent to help ensure energy “reliability,” and a mere 24 percent for “production” incentives.

To calculate those figures, however, the bill’s sponsors weirdly characterize “investment and production credits for clean coal technology,” i.e. subsidies for using the most common modern methods of burning coal, as “conservation” measures. And they use the opaque term “reliability” to cover up what actually are more tax breaks for energy producers.

In fact, almost three quarters (72 percent) of the Bush energy bill’s tax incentives go to increased production, while a dismal 12 percent is left to promote conservation.

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