WASHINGTON, DC (December 13, 2007) –The Senate today affirmed its determination to send an energy bill to the president’s desk before Christmas, by an 86-8 margin. Failing to reach the required 60 votes for cloture last Friday, Senate leadership brought the bill back for successful passage, while maintaining key aspects of the House-approved legislation. Following is a statement by Karen Wayland, legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):
“The American people are demanding a new direction in energy policy, and Congress has spent the last year doing just that. The bills that the House and Senate passed are a dramatic departure from the energy bills of the last three decades, in both Republican- and Democrat-controlled Congresses.
“This bill is the first step in the fight against global warming. It’s not a substitute for a carbon cap, but it is necessary to put us on our way toward achieving the kind of reductions we need. Passing this legislation will give us a down payment toward fighting global warming.
“However, we are disappointed that the renewable electricity standard was removed from the final bill, since investing in renewable, efficient energy sources is critical to moving America beyond its oil addiction. We look forward to separate passage through Congress in the near future.
“This historic legislation will make America more energy independent, more secure, create thousands of new jobs, spark economic growth, save consumers money, cut pollution and make real progress to reduce carbon emissions warming the Earth.”
Measures retained in the bill include the following:
- Fuel efficiency standards, raising fleet-wide averages to 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
- Significant environmental safeguards for biofuel production; 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022 – a five-fold increase over the current standard.
- Lighting efficiency standards that require typical bulbs use 25-30 percent less energy by 2012-2014 and two times less energy by 2020.
- The bill excludes energy technologies that pose significant environmental and financial risks, such as new nuclear plants and liquid coal projects.