Energy Bill Filibustered By One Vote: Reid To Drop Oil-for-Renewable Tax Package 4

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 13 Dec 2007 15:00:00 GMT

By a roll call vote of 59-40, Senate Democrats failed to muster the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster threatened by Republicans of the compromise energy legislation which retained the tax package under veto threat but not the House-approved renewable energy standard. Sen. Reid plans to reintroduce a version of the energy bill which contains the CAFE and biofuels provisions later today.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) was the only Democrat to vote with the Republicans. Coleman, Collins, Grassley, Hatch, Lugar, Murkowski, Smith, Snowe, and Thune voted with the Democrats. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), on the campaign trail, was the one senator not voting.

Cloture vote on H.R. 6, Energy Independence and Security Act and Debate on Farm Bill

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 07 Dec 2007 14:00:00 GMT

A roll call vote is expected at about 9:20 am on the motion to invoke cloture on the energy bill as passed by the House of Representatives on December 6.

By a vote of of 53-42 the cloture motion failed.

The following Democrats voted against cloture:
  • Bayh (D-IN)
  • Byrd (D-WV)
  • Landrieu (D-LA)
The following Republicans voted for cloture:
  • Coleman (R-MN)
  • Collins (R-ME)
  • Smith (R-OR)
  • Snowe (R-ME)
  • Thune (R-SD)
The following Republicans voted against cloture but previously had voted for the earlier Senate version of H.R. 6, which included the CAFE standard, but not RES or the tax title:
  • Corker (R-TN)
  • Craig (R-ID)
  • Crapo (R-ID)
  • Domenici (R-NM)
  • Ensign (R-NV)
  • Lugar (R-IN)
  • Sessions (R-AL)
  • Specter (R-PA)
  • Stevens (R-AK)
  • Sununu (R-NH)
The following Republicans voted against cloture but previously had voted for energy tax provisions similar to those in the House version:
  • Crapo (R-ID)
  • Lugar (R-IN)
  • Grassley (R-IA)
  • Roberts (R-KS)

Following the vote, the chamber resumed consideration of the farm bill (HR 2419).

2007 Energy Act H.R. 6: On agreeing to the Senate amendments with amendments

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 06 Dec 2007 20:00:00 GMT

Final vote on energy package. The bill passes 235-181. The Senate vote is scheduled for Saturday.

Democrats against:
  • Barrow
  • Boren
  • Boyd (FL)
  • Gene Green
  • Lampson
  • Marshall
  • Melancon
Republicans in favor:
  • Bono
  • Castle
  • Gerlach
  • Hayes
  • Johnson (IL)
  • Kirk
  • LaHood
  • LoBiondo
  • Ramstad
  • Reichert
  • Ros-Lehtinen
  • Shays
  • Smith (NJ)
  • Walden (OR)

Videos from the Speaker’s blog:

Speaker Pelosi: “Earlier today, some of you saw me reference this baseball, signed by Bobby Thompson, the ‘shot heard around the world,’ October 3, 1951. An historic day in baseball. When he signed this baseball, he referenced a phrase used by Ralph Waldo Emerson referencing the shot fired at Concord which began the Revolutionary War, the fight for American independence. If Bobby Thompson could reference a shot heard round the world, we should indeed be able to do it today. This vote on this legislation will be a shot heard ‘round the world for energy independence for America.’”
Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL) opens debate on the rule:
Rep. Welch: “Perhaps the best way to characterize what has been the US policy on energy is captured by looking at a photograph that serves as a metaphor. What it shows is the United States hand in hand with OPEC producers on whom we’ve become increasingly reliant and dependent, pursuing an energy policy of drill and drill, consume and consume, spend and spend, all with ever-escalating and budget-busting expense inflicted on our families and businesses, all with reckless denial – reckless denial – to the environmental damage that we are doing by this policy to the earth we all share, all with cavalier disregard to our national security by depending on regimes that are not our friends. Mr. Speaker, this bill brought before you does two fundamental things in changing the direction of energy policy…”
Rep. Ed Markey (MA-07), Chairman of the Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, speaks in favor:
Rep. Markey: “This is an historic debate. This is an historic day in the history of the United States. Today we debate energy independence and global warming for the first time in a serious way in our history. This legislation will accomplish things that will send a signal to the world. In this bill we will increase the fuel economy standards of the vehicles Americans drive from 25 miles per gallon to 35 miles per gallon. We will produce enough ethanol and cellulosic fuel that we can substitute for oil that by the year 2030 when both provisions are completely implemented we will be backing out twice the oil that we import on a daily basis from OPEC, from the Persian Gulf. What a signal to OPEC. Twice the oil from the Persian Gulf eliminated in one vote.”
Rep. George Miller (CA-07), Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, speaks in favor:
Rep. Miller: “This bill also creates over three million jobs in the green industry that are supported by this legislation, that encourages that investment in wind and biofuels, in solar energy. Those three million jobs, we’re eight years late coming to those jobs, but they’re in this legislation, and those jobs will be created in almost every sector of the economy, no matter what geographical area people live in, but we need to develop those skills. And I want to thank John Tierney and Hilda Solis for their efforts on that. This is what… where they told us to go to generate the next generation of innovation, of technology, was in energy and that’s where we’re going to go and America’s going to have a much better energy future as a result of this legislation.”
Rep. Henry Waxman (CA-30), Chairman of the Oversight Committee, speaks in favor:
Rep. Waxman: “And there are some things this legislation will not do. It won’t diminish the EPA’s authority to address global warming, which the Supreme Court has recognized. It won’t seize authority from the states to act on global warming. President Bush has threatened to veto this bill because it takes away taxpayers subsidies to oil companies, and supports new renewable energy technologies. It’s time for the President to do what the American people want, not what the oil companies want.”
Rep. John Dingell (MI-15), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, speaks in favor:
Rep. Dingell: “I will be voting for this legislation because it contains a number of significant landmark achievements. It will raise fuel economy standards by 40%, to 35 miles per gallon. And it will do it in a way which achieves and protects American jobs, and it gives manufacturers proper flexibility in achieving our goals.”
Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NY-12), Chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, speaks in favor:
Rep. Velázquez: “Small businesses are not just the most impacted by high energy costs, but small businesses are also leaders in domestic production of energy. They make up 80% of all renewable fuel producers in this country. This legislation makes them part of the solution. It does this by developing innovative new technologies, reduces carbon emission, increases clean renewable energy production, and modernizes our energy infrastructure.”

Democrats and Enviros Praise House Passage of Comprehensive Energy Bill

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 06 Dec 2007 19:40:00 GMT

By a vote of 235-181, the House of Representatives passed the version of H.R. 6 which contains both House and Senate provisions (CAFE of 35 MPG by 2020, RES of 15% by 2020, oil/gas rollback with PTC, green jobs, and other provisions, RFS).

Rep. Edward Markey:

Today marks the dawn of a future with less dependence on foreign oil, more renewable energy, and a safer climate. This bill marks a turning point away from America’s untenable path of reliance on dirty fossil fuels that pollute our planet and link us to dangerous foreign regimes and towards a new energy independence future.

Friends of the Earth:

This historic piece of legislation represents a paradigm shift in our nation’s approach to energy. The House of Representatives has voted to begin curbing our dependence on fossil fuels and reducing our global warming pollution. We applaud the bill’s passage in the House and commend Speaker Nancy Pelosi for standing up to special interests and ensuring that key provisions remained. This energy bill is not perfect – its fuel economy standards are too weak and its biofuels mandate too large – but, on balance, it represents a strong step forward. Especially important are a provision that will require all utilities to produce some of their energy from clean sources, such as wind and solar, and provisions that will end billions of dollars of subsidies for big oil and instead use these funds to hasten America’s transition to a clean energy future.

Sierra Club:

In January, Speaker Pelosi promised to deliver energy legislation that would put us on the road toward a new, clean energy future. The energy bill that the House passed today not only puts us on that road, but pushes the accelerator to the floor. It is a dramatic pivot away from the failed energy policies of the past and sets the stage for the Senate to flip the switch on America’s new energy future.

It is a bill of firsts: the first increase in fuel economy standards in more than three decades, the first national requirement for renewable energy, the first environmentally sensitive mandate for homegrown biofuels, and the first energy bill to provide billions for clean energy instead of shoveling subsidies to Big Oil and other polluters. Instead of a pork-laden monstrosity tailored to the needs of the dirty energy industry, this bill will give us clean electricity, greener cars, provide billions for clean energy instead of Big Oil’s bottom line, strengthen our economy, make us more secure, and begin to address the challenge of global warming. It is a tremendous achievement for the Congress, but more importantly, it is a victory for the hardworking American families who are now suffering as a result of decades of failed energy policies.

Auto Manufacturers Support Energy Bill

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 04 Dec 2007 18:14:00 GMT

As prefigured by John Dingell’s participation in the details of the CAFE component of the energy bill deal, the American auto industry is lending its support to the bill, a sharp reversal from its heavy lobbying against the standards in previous months.

Detroit News:

Automakers, which have successfully blocked raising passenger car standards for more than two decades, objected to a 40 percent increase, saying it would cost them billions to comply and could force them to make fewer of their biggest, most profitable models.

But General Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said in a statement Saturday that the Detroit automaker will meet the new challenge.

“There are tough, new CAFE standards contained in the energy bill before Congress that pose a significant technical and economic challenge to the industry,” Wagoner said. “But, it’s a challenge that GM is prepared to put forth its best effort to meet with an array of engineering, research and development resources. We will continue our aggressive pursuit of advance technologies that will deliver more products with more energy solutions to our customers.”

Toyota Motor Corp. praised congressional leaders for “taking this very important step toward establishing new, aggressive nationwide fuel economy standards.”

“Toyota will not wait for new standards to be set, but will move forward expeditiously to apply advanced technologies to improve the fuel economy of our fleet,” said Jo Cooper, Toyota’s vice president for government affairs in North America.

Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the trade group that represents Detroit’s Big Three, Toyota, Daimler AG and five other automakers, said “this tough, national fuel economy bill will be good for both consumers and energy security. We support its passage.” Mike Stanton, who is president and CEO and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, the trade group that represents Toyota, Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co., among others, expects his members to support the compromise. “We wanted Congress to act,” Stanton said in an interview. “It’s not perfect, but I think we’re going to be pleased.”

CAFE and the U.S. Auto Industry: A Growing Auto Investor Issue, 2012-2020

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 04 Dec 2007 16:00:00 GMT

A briefing hosted by the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) on key findings of a new analysis by Citi and INCR titled CAFE and the U.S. Auto Industry: A Growing Auto Investor Issue, 2012-2020, which shows that automakers’ shareholders can thrive while the automakers build cars and trucks that are better for our health and reduce global warming pollution.

Automakers have an opportunity to both advance fuel efficiency technology and become more globally competitive and sustainable in the process. The report’s results found that increasing corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards by 2012 could modestly benefit General Motors, while foreign automakers profits are largely unaffected.

In order to assess how Wall Street should react to an increase in fuel economy, Citi’s Equity & Debt Research group teamed up with the Investor Network on Climate Risk – which represents over $4 trillion in institutional investors – along with industry experts at the Planning Edge, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and NRDC to conduct a forward-looking simulation of the five-year earnings impacts of changes to the CAFE program.

Panelists
  • Russell Read, Chief Investment Officer, CalPERS ($208 billion public pension fund)
  • Walter McManus, Director, University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute
  • David Gardiner, Senior Advisor to the Investor Network on Climate Risk (formerly Executive Director of President Clinton’s White House Climate Change Task Force and EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Policy)

The analysis employed a complex proprietary model combining supply- and demand-side simulations with Citi’s financial models. The report finds that tougher CAFE standards can be met “with modest additions of existing technologies” and will likely be “most beneficial to GM and least beneficial to Chrysler.” Other key findings:

  • Most automakers’ earnings will be largely unaffected by the CAFE standards in the 2012 time horizon, but some companies, like GM, could gain as much as $0.25 per share.
  • Automakers are expected to modestly shift their sales mix to more fuel-efficient models to meet tougher CAFE standards, but the most profit-maximizing approach appears to be through investments in fuel-savings technologies-higher efficiency internal combustion engines, in particular-applied to cars and trucks.
  • Suppliers of technologies such as turbochargers, automated manual transmissions and diesel engine fuel injectors may gain $4.3billion in growth by 2012 and even more by 2020.

For more information contact Miranda Anderson at: anderson@ceres.org or 202-285-2018; or, Ladeene Freimuth at: 202-550-2306 or ladeene@freimuthgroup.com.

Energy Independence and Security Act Unveiled 3

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 04 Dec 2007 14:23:00 GMT

House leadership is whipping votes today for the energy bill deal, to be entitled the Energy Independence and Security Act when introduced. Highlights of the deal:
  • CAFE Standard: Increase fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 for new cars and trucks
  • Renewable Fuels Standard: Multiple-source domestic biofuels mandate with environmental safeguards
  • Plug-in hybrid/electric vehicle tax credit and advanced vehicle incentives
  • Repeal of $21 billion in tax subsidies for gas and oil companies (H.R. 6), international tax loophole closed, rollback of 2005 Energy Act tax breaks
  • Renewable Electricity Standard: 15% by 2020 (4% may be efficiency)
  • Efficiency Standards: new appliance and building standards
  • Renewable Production Tax Credit and other incentives: extends existing PTC, funds renewable research, provides renewable energy bonds for power providers
  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program
  • Incentives for small business development of renewable energy technology
  • Carbon Capture and Sequestration: R&D and clean coal incentives

Full details of the legislation are below the fold.

Energy Independence and Security Act

The New Direction Congress is poised to pass an ambitious legislative agenda to put us on a path toward energy independence—to strengthen national security, lower energy costs, grow our economy and create new jobs, and begin to reduce global warming. We are doing so by investing in the future of America with the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act.

Specifically, we are taking groundbreaking steps to increase the efficiency of our vehicles, making an historic commitment to American grown biofuels, requiring that 15 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources, and strengthening energy efficiency for a wide range of products, appliances, lighting and buildings to reduce energy costs to consumers. We are repealing tax breaks for profit-rich oil companies, so that we can invest in clean renewable energy and new American technologies. Not only would this reduce our dependence on foreign oil, the measure would also save consumers billions of dollars.

This agreement with the Senate builds on the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 3221, and H.R. 2776) passed this summer, which includes wide-ranging solutions from 10 House committees. With passage of this measure, we are reducing carbon emissions that cause climate change and increasing our energy independence. The House will move forward next year with the next major effort to reduce global warming.

Strengthen our National Security by Reducing our Dependence on Foreign Oil

Historic Fuel Economy Standards for Cars and Trucks, Endorsed by Environmentalists and the Automobile Industry. The price at the pump demands groundbreaking and historic provisions to increase fuel economy standard to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 for new cars and trucks. These provisions will save American families $700 – $1000 per year at the pump, with $22 billion in net consumer savings in 2020 alone. This is the first increase by Congress since 1975 – marking a significant advancement in our efforts to address our energy security and laying the groundwork for climate legislation next year. The bill ensures that fuel economy standard will be reached, while offering flexibility to automakers and ensuring that we keep American manufacturing jobs and continue domestic production of smaller vehicles. It will reduce oil consumption by 1.1 million gallons per day in 2020 (one-half of what we currently import from the Persian Gulf), and reduce greenhouse gases equal to taking 28 million of today’s average cars and trucks off the road.

Renewable Fuels Standard/Historic Commitment to Homegrown Biofuels. The initiative includes a historic commitment to American biofuels that will fuel our cars and trucks – with a robust increase in the Renewable Fuels Standard. This isn’t just about the Midwest – this is about diversifying our energy crops from coast to coast. Whether it is sweet sorghum in Texas, rice straw in California, or corn stover in Minnesota, we will create American jobs and protect the environment. The measure ensures that biodiesel and cellulosic sources, such as switchgrass, are a key part of the increase. It includes critical environmental safeguards to ensure that the growth of homegrown fuels helps to reduce carbon emissions and does not degrade water or air quality or harm our lands and public health. The plan includes incentives to boost the production of biofuels and the number of Flex Fuel and other alternative fuel vehicles.

Incentives for Hybrids. It establishes a plug-in hybrid/electric vehicle tax credit for individuals and encourages the domestic development and production of advanced technology vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Repealing Big Oil Giveaways to Invest in Renewable Energy. The measure repeals about $21 billion in tax subsidies for Big Oil, mainly including provisions from H.R. 6, which passed the House in January, and the President’s budget. It closes a loophole written into the international tax bill (H.R. 4520) and rolls back the 2005 Energy Bill tax break for geological and geophysical expenditures.

Lower Energy Costs with Cleaner Energy, Greater Efficiency, and Smarter Technology

Historic Step – Electricity from Clean Renewable Sources. This provision, which was contained in the House-passed bill, requires utilities to generate 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources – such as wind power, biomass, wave, tidal, geothermal and solar – by 2020. It permits utilities to meet up to 4 percent of their target through energy efficiency. A 15 percent Renewable Electricity Standard will reduce global warming emissions and lower energy prices and fossil fuel and natural gas consumption and is endorsed by a broad range of businesses, manufacturers, electric utilities, environmental, labor, farm, and faith-based organizations.

Landmark Energy Efficiency to Bring Down Costs. It includes landmark energy efficiency provisions that would save consumers and businesses hundreds of billions of dollars through 2030. It would require more energy efficient appliances, such as dishwashers, clothes washers, refrigerators and freezers, and would speed up Energy Department action on new efficiency standards after six years of delay. It would require improved commercial and federal building energy efficiency and assist consumers in improving the efficiency of their homes.

Incentives for the Renewable Energy Economy. It strengthens and extends existing renewable energy tax credits, including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydro, landfill gas and trash combustion, while creating new incentives for the use and production of renewable energy. It bolsters research on solar, geothermal, and marine renewable energy. The bill provides new clean renewable energy bonds for electric cooperatives and public power providers to install facilities that generate electricity from renewable resources.

Create New Jobs and Reduce Global Warming

A Skilled Green Workforce. This package creates an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program to train a quality workforce for “green” collar jobs – such as solar panel manufacturer and green building construction worker – created by federal renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. Major investments in renewable energy could create 3 million green jobs over 10 years.

Small Businesses Leading in Renewable Energy. The bill increases loan limits to help small businesses develop energy efficient technologies and purchases; provides information to small businesses to reduce energy costs; and increases investment in small firms developing renewable energy solutions, recognizing the leadership of entrepreneurs in the alternative energy sector.

Energy Efficiency Reduces Carbon Dioxide. The landmark fuel efficiency standard, renewable electricity standard and energy efficiency provisions will not only save consumers and businesses money, but will also significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Making Coal Part of the Solution. This initiative takes aggressive steps on carbon capture and sequestration to come up with a cleaner way to use coal – authorizing a nationwide assessment of geological formations capable of sequestering carbon dioxide underground and expansive research and development, including large-volume sequestration tests in a variety of different geological formations. It includes incentives for clean coal, which for the first time ever include a requirement for carbon sequestration.

White House Threatens Veto of Energy Bill

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 03 Dec 2007 20:49:00 GMT

In a letter to Congress, White House economic advisor Allan Hubbard reiterated President Bush’s October 15 veto threat of the energy bill deal brokered by the Democratic leadership, leaving no room for compromise from the president’s demands.

On October 15, I wrote you to outline a basic framework for a bill that would not compel the President’s senior advisors to recommend a veto. Based on the limitd information we have received, it seems the provisions under discussion would not satisfy those criteria. In fact, it appears Congress may intend to produce a bill the President cannot sign.

The Administration continues to believe that all the elements described in my earlier letter constitute the appropriate framework for energy legislation. Press reports indicate that your draft energy bill would fail to meet at least some of these conditions, for example by including a mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a title increasing taxes, or an expansion of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements.

Further criticisms include the difference between the Congressional renewable fuels standard and the White House’s preferred “alternative fuels standard”, and not excluding the EPA’s Clean Air Act authority from CAFE regulation.

The full letter is available here.

Domenici Criticizes Energy Bill

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 03 Dec 2007 20:19:00 GMT

On Saturday, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, challenged the energy bill deal brokered by the Democratic leadership, attacking the inclusion of a Renewable Portfolio Standard (also known as the renewable electricity standard).

For weeks, my staff, along with Senator Bingaman’s, has been engaged in good faith negotiations with the House under a defined set of parameters laid out at the start of the process. We have made substantial bipartisan progress toward finalizing a bill. The legislation we have been working on contained a robust, much-needed Renewable Fuels Standard, important provisions on energy efficiency and carbon sequestration, and a long overdue increase in fuel economy standards. The parameters agreed to by Speaker Pelosi and communicated to us by Senate Democrats did not include a renewable portfolio standard.
Domenici complained particularly about what he saw as a lack of good faith.
At this time, I have instructed my staff to cease their work on the energy bill, since the final bill apparently will not be the product of our bipartisan negotiations. As someone who has been working for 35 years to forge bipartisan, good-faith compromises on tough issues like the federal budget and energy policy, I know that your word means everything. It is particularly disappointing for me to see that such a sentiment seems to be a thing of the past.

Sen. Domenici himself has failed to maintain such bipartisan compromises on this very bill. During the May committee markup of the Senate version of the energy bill (S. 1321, H.R. 6), Sen. Domenici failed to maintain a bipartisan deal to avoid controversial amendments during markup—Democrats had agreed not to introduce RPS in committee, and Domenici claimed Republicans would not introduce coal-to-liquids language. However, Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., introduced a coal-to-liquids amendment, breaking the deal.

Congressional Leadership Announce Energy Bill Deal

Posted by Brad Johnson Sat, 01 Dec 2007 23:30:00 GMT

Friday afternoon the Democratic leadership in Congress announced the results of the energy bill negotiations that began in August and went into overdrive during the Thanksgiving recess, particularly once Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) signaled his willingness to support the 35 MPG CAFE standard as long as some technical provisions were included.

Speaker Pelosi:

CAFE will serve as the cornerstone of the energy legislation that will be on the House floor next week. We will achieve the major goal of increasing vehicle efficiency standards to 35 miles per gallon in 2020, marking an historic advancement in our efforts in the Congress to address our energy security and laying strong groundwork for climate legislation next year. We are confident that this final product will win the support of the environmental, labor and manufacturing communities.

This landmark energy legislation will offer the automobile industry the certainty it needs, while offering flexibility to automakers and ensuring we keep American manufacturing jobs and continued domestic production of smaller vehicles.

This comprehensive package will also include an increase in the Renewable Fuels Standard and a Renewable Electricity Standard, among other key provisions.

Translation of Pelosi’s statement:

“Offering flexibility to automakers”: The flex-fuel credit will extend to 2014, and be phased out by 2020.

“Continued domestic production of smaller vehicles”: The standards will distinguish between foreign-made and domestic vehicles

“Among other key provisions”: the status of the oil/gas subsidy rollback and related tax package, including the Production Tax Credit, is still under negotiation.

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