This energy bill keeps getting worse. This concession is certainly bad news for many ranchers who own what is called “split estate” land as well making sure the more sensitive parts of public lands are not drilled.
I don’t like the emphasis on renewables as written because much of this is corn ethanol which isn’t really a renewable, and produces little net energy and a lot of erosion while raising the price of all foods. There needs to be much more emphasis on energy efficiency, which is often the least cost source of new energy and the most benign.
The concession is to attract the support of Republican Pete Domenici, who is retiring next year due to a brain disorder. He will probably be replaced by a conservation-minded senator (Udall). Perhaps it would be better to wait for a bigger Democrat majority and new President.
Democrats drop drilling restrictions from energy bill. Casper Star Tribune.
Update: Corn prices have doubled as ethanol production has soared. Protests from livestock and food makers resulted in an amendment to order no more than 15-billion gallons of the energy-intensive fuel. The other 21 billion gallons of ethanol are supposed to come from “cellulosic” sources like switchgrass and wood chips by 2022. It is not clear yet how to economically convert cellulose into alcohol. Maybe the termites can teach us.
Bush has now said he will veto.