Yesterday, Congress decided that as long as the oil companies are making a gazillion dollars in profits these days, they don’t really need tax payer support. So, legislators said, let’s get rid of the oil subsidies, worth $1.8 billion over ten years, and re-fund tax breaks for solar and wind and other renewable technologies. The House passed the bill 236-182.
Unfortunately, the passage of this bill doesn’t exactly set my heart aflutter, since there’s almost no chance it will survive a filibuster in the Senate, and President Bush has already said he’d veto it. I do wish Democrats hadn’t given away the tax breaks when they negotiated the increase in mileage standards a while back. They should keep trying, though, because the current subsidies for renewables will die at the end of this year (which is a correction to my earlier post, when I thought they ended on 1/1/2008.), a month before a possibly Democratic president would be sworn in. Republicans, of course, wax wroth on anything that burdens oil companies, but the Washington Post casually lets drop the fact that the money represents a 2% dent in oil company profits, or an extra penny a gallon for a consumers. Excuse me, but I believe I hear the sound of the world’s smallest violin playing Mozart’s renowned Oil Company Lament.
Well, I can’t close on that depressing note. In other news, the National Science Foundation gave $100,000 to the solar tech company Bloo Solar (which is a neat name) to develop its solar film. The product uses millions of tiny nano-bristles to massively increase the amount of solar energy the cell can convert to electricity. The company won’t release actual efficiency figures, but they claim to have broken the world record for light capture. They have records for that sort of thing? I must dig up my Guinness Book.