Friday, February 27, 2004

Democratic Energy Policies
As Super Tuesday approaches and the contest for the Democratic Party nomination enters its final phase, I thought it would be worth taking a look at the two leading candidates and where they might differ on energy policy.

The John Edwards campaign website has no separate energy page, but includes a number of energy issues on its environmental page. In general, he is for strengthened Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in offshore areas currently off limits, supports research into alternative vehicle technologies, and supports ethanol. (This won't win him my vote, as anyone reading this blog will be able to guess, but at least he singles out the potential for "biomass ethanol", which promises to be much more efficient than corn-based ethanol.) He also appears to support the Kyoto Treaty, though perhaps not in so many words.

Frankly, there's very little detail here (which is my impression of the Edwards campaign, in general), particularly for an issue that he has raised frequently on the campaign trail.

Turning to John Kerry, though he covers many of the same issues as Edwards, his program is much more detailed and appears fairly well thought-out. It addresses the need for improved natural gas infrastructure, proposes aggressive targets for renewable energy and hydrogen, and endorses a major investment in clean coal technology. His plans focuses on tax incentives for consumers and businesses, not new regulations. He apparently supports the Kyoto Treaty, though his criticism of President Bush in this area mainly chides him for not trying to renegotiate it.

Though most of Kerry's plan is still fairly high level, it gives the impression that whoever drafted it at least spoke to some people who understand the energy industry and its issues. While I'm not exactly endorsing John Kerry, his energy policies are much better grounded than those of John Edwards.

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