Flummoxed | AspenTimes.com


Paul E. AnnaAspen, CO Colorado

Drat. No doubt you are still flummoxed by the lack of a High Points in last Friday’s edition of The Aspen Times.Fear not, friends and readers, this scribe remains alive and well. I was, however, flummoxed myself – a victim of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. That is to say I was late in delivering last week’s story to my editor, and I blame the premature time change that was mandated by the bill passed in July 2005 and signed by President Bush.As you know, daylight-saving time came ’round three weeks earlier this year (on the morning of March 11 instead of April 1, which had been mandated by Congress in 1966). The change has been difficult for me to adjust to. Not just the missing of deadlines, but of far larger importance, the change in the snow conditions.A 9 a.m. start on the slopes is now comparable to an 8 a.m. start. While the days have the same amount time between sunrise and sundown as they would have otherwise (duh!), it starts an hour later and finishes an hour later. The result is icy (make that hard icy) mornings and snow that doesn’t soften on some east-facing high slopes until 3 p.m., an hour before the lifts close.Flummoxed.But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that the entire bill is a sham. There is great debate on whether the time change itself will make a drop of difference in the use of energy in America. And the basis of the bill is not about conservation at all. Rather it was all about providing subsidies to energy concerns.According to the Washington Post, in an article dated July 30, 2005, the day after the bill was passed in the Senate by a 74-26 vote, “The bill exempts oil and gas industries from some clean-water laws, streamlines permits for oil wells and power lines on public lands, and helps the hydropower industry appeal environmental restrictions.”Continuing, “It also includes an estimated $85 billion worth of subsidies and tax breaks for most forms of energy – including oil and gas. The petroleum industry got new incentives to drill in the Gulf of Mexico – as if $60-a-barrel oil wasn’t enough of an incentive.”If that doesn’t make you proud of your representatives there is this: Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay “also managed to insert at least $500 million in subsidies over a 10-year period – with the option to double the amount – for research into deep-water oil and gas drilling, a grant that many lawmakers expect to go to the Texas Energy Center in DeLay’s hometown of Sugar Land.”All that and the snow stays extra hard for an extra hour.About the only thing good thing that I can say about the Energy Policy Act of 2005 is that it provided yours truly with an excuse for missing a deadline.