Gang of Ten Reveals Legislation 5

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 12 Sep 2008 18:44:00 GMT

At Climate Progress, Joe Romm reviews the full text of the draft “Gang of Ten” energy legislation, now unofficially co-sponsored by ten Democrats and ten Republicans. The original ten senators are conservative and industry-friendly. Highlights of Romm’s review:

  • Title II makes clear that the “consumer tax credits for advanced vehicles” is focused on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), see Section 202 (page 17). The tax credit is “$2,500, plus $400 for each kilowatt hour of traction battery capacity in excess of 4 kilowatt hours” with a cap at $7,500. A midsized PHEV might consume 0.3 to 0.4 kilowatt-hours per mile when it runs on electricity (yes, Toyota may well do better than that, but I doubt GM will).

    So a PHEV20 (one with a 20-mile range running only on electricity) might have a battery capacity 7 kwh, and get a $3700 tax credit. The Chevy Volt is supposed to be 40-mile electric range and get about $6500.

  • Section 254 (page 114) has a geothermal heat pump tax credit up to $2000 and Section 282 (page 168) has a 2-year accelerated depreciation period for geothermal systems.
  • Title IV, Subtitle B “Coal-to-Liquid” (page 191) is a tad confusing, but it doesn’t look to me like it’s going to jumpstart the industry, since it requires carbon capture and storage and requires lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from liquid coal to be no greater than that from conventional petroleum — a very high bar to jump.
  • Subtitle C “Nuclear Power” (page 203) has a bad provision that says the Secretary of Energy “shall begin construction of a spent fuel recycling research and development facility not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.” Recycling is of course a euphemism for reprocessing.
  • Subtitle D “Tax Provisions” (page 218) has a short section on enhanced oil recovery that I think is the worst provision in the bill.

Download the full draft.

The Eight Missed Votes 2

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 12 Sep 2008 13:11:00 GMT

In August, Tom Friedman penned “Eight Strikes and You’re Out” on McCain’s record on extending renewable energy production and investment tax credits:
Senator McCain did not show up for the crucial vote on July 30, and the renewable energy bill was defeated for the eighth time. In fact, John McCain has a perfect record on this renewable energy legislation. He has missed all eight votes over the last year — which effectively counts as a no vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn’t leave his office to vote.
The eight votes:
  • July 30: S. 3335 filibustered 51-43 [Roll Call #192]
  • June 17: H.R. 6049 filibustered 52-44 [Roll Call #150]
  • June 10: H.R. 6049 filibustered 50-44 [Roll Call #147]
  • April 10: S. Amdt. 4419 (tax credits without offsets, attached to Dodd housing bill) passes 88-8 [Roll Call #95]
  • February 6: S. Amdt 3983 to H.R. 5140 (tax credits without offsets, attached to stimulus package) filibustered by one vote (58-41; Reid procedural vote with GOP, McCain not voting) [Roll Call #8]
  • December 13: H.R. 6 filibustered by one vote (59-40; Landrieu with GOP, McCain not voting) [Roll Call #425]
  • December 7: H.R. 6 filibustered 53-42 [Roll Call #416]
  • June 21: S.Amdt. 1704 filibustered 57-36 (Landrieu with GOP, Boxer, Brownback, Coburn, Johnson, McCain, Sessions not voting) [Roll Call #223]

The one time the tax credit extension passed, it was known to be a deal-breaker in the House, since there was no funding mechanism approved and it was tied to the housing bill.

See Hill Heat’s earlier timeline of Republican obstruction on extending the renewable tax credits.