Last night, Federal legislatures came to an agreement to extend the deadline to advert the U.S. government from being shut down. Depending on what news agency you follow there are several perspectives on winners and losers in this recent battle on the political gridiron. One of the bargain points in the recent government shutdown was curtailing the EPA’s role to regulate green house gases (GHGs). Huh? What do GHGs have to do with the price of tea in China? I am sorry, how do GHGs equate to shutting down the government?
Let’s be clear, a partial government shutdown requires all non-essential government employees to be furloughed. I tried to research exactly what this mean, but the information out there is pretty vague. Here is what I found. The post office will still deliver mail, but don’t expect to get a passport. You still need to file your taxes with the IRS, but if you are expecting to get a refund you better file electronically or risk a delay. Applying for a federally backed mortgage? Sorry, no federally backed mortgage processing during a partial government shutdown. Are you on active duty in the military? You’ll be paid, but there are questions about whether there will be any delays. Imagine that! The government will still collect taxes, but just do not expect services during a shutdown. It is more like taxation with lousy representation.
Now I know it seems as if I am digressing, but I am not. I want to paint a picture of how despicable a government shutdown is. Which brings me back to the EPA and GHGs. I am not ranting. I am frustrated. Yes we have Federal clean energy programs. Yes we have State-level programs and targets. However, there is no coherent U.S. policy for clean energy. It incenses me to know that China is now the number one country in terms of clean energy. It stings even worse to know that they recently past the U.S. to become the number one country in terms of total installed renewable energy capacity. What are we doing about it? Playing political football with GHG regulations. Even in the game of football you can be lucky and recover an onside kick. However, that can only happen if you are in the game! U.S. renewable energy policy is more like sitting on the sideline watching the clock wind down.