Thursday, November 10, 2005

Let 'Em Burn Wood

Americans are going to face a harsh reality this winter when temperatures begin to drop and prices hit the attic. Unfortunately, we have neglected our energy needs for so long in this country that there are no silver bullet solutions now. But every little bit helps. Conservation is an important part of any energy plan, but conservation doesn't heat homes - affordable energy does. That's why I have introduced this legislation.
Rep. Richard Pombo, R-CA

According to Reuters, Richard Pombo, who is Chairman of the House Resources Committee, has a plan to keep America warm this winter. Determined to help families who will be struggling under the burden of astronomical home heating costs, the seven-term congressman announced his Home Heating Assistance Act on Tuesday. Pombo’s proposed legislation would waive the permit fees for firewood collection in America’s national forests. Currently, the National Forest Service Self Help Firewood Program charges the public $10-$15 for a permit to gather a cord of wood on forest service lands.

Rural American families who depend on firewood to heat their homes will be hit just as hard as those who use oil and natural gas, These family budgets are already stretched to the limit filling their cars up with gas to get back and forth to work. While my bill won't help everyone and we need to do more, this will make a difference to many families facing tight budgets as a result of high energy prices.
Rep. Richard Pombo, R-CA

Now, it just so happens that through the third quarter of 2005, Pombo’s PAC has received $88,100 from energy and natural resources lobbyists. Coincidentally, the National Energy Policy, which was supported by Pombo and signed into law last August, provides $14.5 billion in tax breaks for the energy industry. But not content with the give-aways in the National Energy Policy, Pombo pushed through the new Energy Bill II last month, which, according to The Wilderness Society, “gives big oil and gas companies in the Gulf of Mexico a royal holiday from having to pay for the privilege of drilling on public lands. Corporations who sign new leases to drill for oil in the deep federal waters of the Gulf will get their first 5 to 12 million barrels royalty-free. Companies drilling for natural gas in the Gulf will get a break on their first 35 billion cubic feet of natural gas extracted from shallow wells, beginning in October 2006.”

Meanwhile, Conoco Phillips has posted third quarter profits of $3.8 billion, up 87% over last year’s third quarter earnings, and Exxon Mobil just announced third quarter profits of $8.3 billion.

So let’s get this straight. Billions upon billions of dollars for the oil and natural gas industries, and Richard Pombo tells us to go out and gather firewood to stay warm?

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