Arnold Williams (notebuyer) wrote,
Arnold Williams

Congressman Gibbons Report

Congressman Gibbons spoke to a small group of about 100 people. Just to refresh your recollection, he grew up in Sparks, studied Geology and law, and found the many ways that laws get in the way of doing productive work in mining. His choice of topics for the evening: transportation and health care.

Transportation runs on energy. While the price of gasoline is lower than 1980, adjusted for inflation, it's still pretty high in current dollars. He was pleased with the Energy Bill, and pointed out that the House had passed one three times before the Senate got around to passing one once. The Energy Bill adds incentives for developing local sources, including royalty relief for some oil drilling, and an amortized insulation tax credit.

Health care will change only in that employers are allowed to form pools to bid for health care coverage ( in the same manner that shippers do for sea transport). He is aware that some of the cost comes from defensive medicine, and that is a tort reform issue.

Someone asked about Yucca Mountain, and he said, "It's a good example of old technology that doesn't solve the problem being used because changing to new technology that does, though less expensive, might be embarassing to those who first advocated the old technology." We have the capability to transmuste waste into titanium and copper.

Another person asked why we bother to find alternatives to oil when it's a perfectly good fuel. Congressman Gibbons responded "We have more oil in the United States than Saudi Arabia -- the shale oils in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, which cost about $15/barrel to extract. Supply is not our problem: actually issuing a permit to do that is. As it turns out, while we have permits for everything else, we don't for extracting oil." In addition, we have a problem in that our refining capacity is old and fixed: no jurisdiction is issuing permits for new capacity.

As a last note, he mentioned that permits can be contested, and are contested, buy "nonprofits" that take government money to contest the permits, and they just file one lawsuit after another contesting one part after another, so companies, seeing this, give up. I listened carefully to this point, and the discussion afterwards. Rumor has it that he is working on some sort of procedural roadblock to perpetual permit suits.

As a side note, your representative from Thoughts Online Magazine was quickly spotted and labelled "a reporter" for his extensive note taking -- which, in the current climate of incompetant reporters, I take as a slur. I responded that I was "just curious". Are you curious?

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