WASHINGTON, June 22 â€” Automakers had to know they were in serious trouble when Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat with deep blue-collar roots, announced that she had lost patience with their annual objections to higher gas mileage rules.
â€œWhen automobile manufacturers told me they could not meet the increased standards, I listened,â€ said Ms. Mikulski, who said she had always been swayed by the potential loss of middle-class manufacturing jobs. â€œI listened year after year, and now I have listened for more than 20 years. After 20 years, I firmly do believe it is time for a change.â€
Bolstered by such converts as Ms. Mikulski, the Senate just before midnight Thursday approved an energy bill that would for the first time in more than two decades require auto companies to produce cars and trucks that get substantially more out of a gallon of gas.
But that was about the only industry it took on. The measure, approved on a bipartisan 65-to-37 vote, essentially spared oil and gas companies and major utilities and fell short of goals initially set by supporters in areas like renewable fuels.
Jan 18, 2007: This bill passed in the House of Representatives by roll call vote. The totals were 264 Ayes, 163 Nays, 8 Present/Not Voting. View Votes (roll no. 40)
Jun 21, 2007: This bill passed in the Senate by roll call vote. The totals were 65 Ayes, 27 Nays, 7 Present/Not Voting. View Votes (roll no. 226)
Washington, DC [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] In a flurry of activity, the U.S. Senate voted down two amendments yesterday that would have created $32 billion worth of energy tax incentives and a National Renewable Energy Portfolio (RPS) requiring utilities to generate 15% of electricity from renewables by 2020. Later that same evening however, the Senate passed H.R. 6, the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007, 65-27.
The Clean Energy Act of 2007 is designed to reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil by investing in clean, renewable resources, promoting new emerging energy technologies, developing greater efficiency and creating a Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve.
But two key amendments that would have provided billions of dollars worth of incentives and revenue for the U.S. renewable energy industry were rejected. The Energy Tax Packageâ€”approved by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and House Ways & Mean committee earlier this weekâ€”contained a five-year extension of the tax credit for the production of electricity from wind, geothermal, biomass as well as the solar ITC extension.
Having passed in both the House and Senate, the bill may proceed to a conference committee of senators and representatives to work out differences in the versions of the bill each chamber approved. The bill then awaits the signature of the President before becoming law.
[NYTimes, RebewableEnergyAccess, www.govtrack.us]