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Energy Bill Debate: Subsidies vs. a Needed ‘Kick in the Pants’

Wednesday, 13 Jun 2007 | 12:45 PM ET

A debate continues in the Senate over the energy bill that could bring massive changes to the current U.S. energy policy. On “Morning Call,” Christopher Horner, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism,” and David Hamilton, director of the Sierra Club’s Global Warming & Energy program, debated which party has the best policy.

The Best Energy Plan
The fuel fight continues on Capitol Hill, with Christopher Horner, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming & Environmentalism author; David Hamilton, Sierra Club Global Warming & Energy Program director and CNBC's Mark Haines

Horner compared Democratic and GOP proposals, saying, “The distinction that we see is two years ago, when the Republicans passed a supposedly comprehensive energy bill, is that it included $35 billion in subsidies -- but also in a revolutionary sense for an American energy legislation, some encouragement to break down those barriers of bringing energy to the market, including domestic resources.”

But, he said the current Democratic-sponsored bill “has none of that. It is all subsidies and then demanding some restrictions, a very bad idea.”

Hamilton believes the Senate bill has the potential to take the U.S. in a new direction: “We need to see a ‘kick in the pants’ in the renewable energy industry in this country, so that utilities are generating a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources. We need a significant larger boost of energy efficiency, which is the cheapest, cleanest, quickest way to lessen pressure on energy supplies,” said Hamilton.