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Burning the Future

In Burning the Future: Coal in America, writer/director David Novack examines the explosive forces that have set in motion a groundswell of conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia.

Burning The Future: Coal in America
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Insight in Stimulus pkgs #1 and #2 - Caveat Emptor
Written by Administrator   
January 24, 2008
Speaker Pelosi, Boehner, and Paulson just finished their press conference announcing the deal.  The deal does not include any business carry backs -- nothing on NOLs or tax credits.   Obviously the solar ITC or other renewable energy tax credits are NOT in.  Many of the environmental groups and the renewable energy trade associations have acquiesced about being dropped from the 1st Stimulus package (the sure winner) and are now pushing to be included in the “second stimulus package.” 

We should be thougthtful here - I do not believe a 2nd Stimulus Package has a chance - it will be opposed by most Republicans (though Domenici announced support)  and most of the Blue Dog Democrats and other conservative Dems. Then we are left with supporting something that the leadership can say "we tried", but just like "Pay Go" on oil (where we were stripped in this past Energy Bill), the Dems may not have the political clout to win. -

Clean energy, again, is caught in political theater - and not a component of federal economic, energy, environmental or security policies - Scott

Following is the deal:

January 24, 2008

Today, Congressional Democrats and Republicans and President Bush reached an agreement on a bipartisan stimulus package to immediately jumpstart the slowing economy.

Our goals were to provide working Americans who are struggling in these difficult economic times with timely, targeted and temporary relief and to quickly give our economy a shot in the arm. We have accomplished both goals.

The House will move quickly to approve this stimulus initiative that will provide broad-based help to the American people and effectively invigorate the economy. We hope the Senate will do the same.

Economists agree that any stimulus package must put money in the hands of those who will spend it quickly to stimulate the economy, and this bipartisan package does just that.

This stimulus package with broad-based benefits will:
* Provide tax relief this spring of up to $600 for an individual and up to $1,200 for a married couple, plus $300 per child. A total of 117 million families will receive a check.
* Include $28 billion in checks to 35 million working families who would not otherwise been helped. More than 19 million of these are families with children.
* Double the amount small businesses can write off their taxes for new investments to get our economy moving again and provide immediate tax relief for all businesses to invest in new plants and equipment.

To address another critical issue affecting American homeowners, the package includes mortgage lending reforms-including a one-year increase in Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's conforming loan limits (from $417,000 to $625,500), and other changes that immediately help families facing foreclosure refinance their loans and get the housing counseling they may need.

This is a remarkable achievement - that required compromise from all sides. We put Americans' interests first. We are confident that this package will help American families struggling to make ends meet in the slowing economy, in the face of rising prices for gas, home heating oil, groceries, and health care.



Energy Tax Package, Roads Eyed For Possible Second Stimulus Measure
     Democrats are considering reviving an energy tax package as well as limited highway infrastructure aid as part of a possible second economic stimulus bill.
     While congressional leaders are working out details with the White House on an initial stimulus plan, Democrats are discussing a range of items that might be included in a second, longer-term proposal.
     Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. -- a member of the Finance Committee and its Energy Subcommittee -- said this discussion includes a $21.8 billion package of tax incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency that was dropped from last year's energy bill. Republicans used a veto threat to block it, arguing that it was mostly paid for by repealing about $13 billion in incentives for oil and gas companies.
     House and Senate Democratic leaders say the initial stimulus plan is unlikely to extend renewable energy production and investment tax credits that expire at the end of the year. Extending those tax credits is strongly supported in Congress, but Democrats say they do not fit in with the aim of offering short-term relief in the initial stimulus plan.
     But a second stimulus plan might allow for inclusion of longer-term proposals, with infrastructure being a major focus.
     "We're not just talking roads; we're talking about clean water infrastructure and schools," Lincoln said.
     Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said he is working on a limited highway infrastructure proposal that focuses on road resurfacing, rather than longer-term construction projects. He said he was encouraged by CBO Director Peter Orszag's testimony before the Finance Committee Tuesday that indicated the benefits of such projects could perhaps be seen before those from tax rebates.
     "I think it's picked up some momentum just in the last 24 hours," Wyden said, citing support from Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
     Some GOP conservatives have expressed skepticism about new spending projects as part of a stimulus, but Wyden said he thought Thune's support could give the plan cover.
     "No one can question [Thune's] political bona fides as a conservative," Wyden said.
     Renewable energy advocates are pushing for lawmakers to extend production and investment tax credits for solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower in the first quarter of the year to provide enough lead time for projects.
     They have promoted the stimulus plan as a worthy legislative vehicle.
     A spokesman for Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Bingaman -- who chairs the Finance Energy Subcommittee -- said his staff is not aware of talk regarding a second stimulus plan.
     He said that if "the parameters of that second package are different from the parameters of the first package, then including these tax credits may work."
     Environmental groups are pressing for an extension of the renewable tax credits in the initial stimulus plan.
     Seventeen groups -- including Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense -- Wednesday sent letters to the House and Senate asking for $200 million in low-income weatherization aid, and extensions of tax benefits for energy efficiency in houses, businesses and the manufacturing of energy-efficient appliances.
     "These investments would not only stimulate the economy in the short-term, but also would help solve global warming and promote long-term development and growth of the clean energy technology industry," the groups wrote.    By Darren Goode and Peter Cohn
Last Updated ( May 06, 2008 )
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