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Green Campaign Watch: Renewables Renewal?, Power Vote & Dems Want to Drill

Congress is back in session and already another proposal has come up to renew the vital renewable energy tax credits. But the whole tenor of the energy discussion has changed, as drilling has become the focal point of the debate. Democrats are coming around and could endorse a compromise to open U.S. shores to drilling as soon as Friday. Meanwhile, the presidential election has energized youth voters, who want to make sure clean energy stays a high priority for the next administration.

New Proposal Extends Renewable Credits, Taxes Big Oil: The leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), have released a new, $40 billion tax package aimed at extending the renewable energy tax credits. The proposal includes incentives for carbon sequestration, plug-in hybrid vehicles, conservation, wind energy, solar energy, nuclear energy and biofuels and would pay for them with higher taxes on oil and gas companies. The bi-partisan pair have tried repeatedly to get the credits renewed. “I’m starting to feel like Don Quixote, except I’m not jousting at windmills. I’m jousting for windmills,” Baucus told CQPolitics.

1 Million Strong for Greenest Candidate: Power Vote is trying to rally 1 million of the nebulous and notoriously unreliable “youth voters” around energy and climate change. Spearheaded by Energy Action Coalition, Power Vote is a non-partisan drive and got James Hansen, NASA climate scientist and clean coal skeptic, to lend his voice to the effort’s official kick off yesterday. According to Power Vote’s site, they’ve already signed up over 100,000 “young Americans demanding real solutions.”

Democrats Heard Chanting, “Drill, Drill”: The Wall Street Journal reports that House Democrats could be heard chanting “drill, drill” in a closed-door meeting that produced a compromise that could open up the entire U.S. coastline to drilling. But the about-face from the left comes with a number of provisions that could help cleantech should the bill pass. The proposal scales back tax breaks for oil companies and creates new tax provisions for renewable energy as well as requiring utilities to increasingly use renewable energy sources in lieu of coal — all points the Republicans are likely to take offense to.

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