Senate Takes Bold Step Forward on Fuel Economy, Leaves Out Other Global Warming, Environmental Provisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate quickly passed the full energy bill at close to midnight to prevent the auto manufacturers and their Senate supporters from having time to develop a new amendment that would undermine the historic bipartisan vote to improve vehicle fuel efficiency, according to energy and policy experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The fuel economy provision it contains would mean American cars and trucks will average 35 miles per gallon by 2020. However, the Senate did not include vital measures to reduce global warming and protect our land and water.
“While the bill is far from perfect and is missing some critical elements of the energy policies necessary to meet our global warming targets, the fuel economy improvements show that Washington is serious about breaking America’s oil addiction,” said Karen Wayland, Legislative Director for NRDC.
Measures that were not included but must be addressed in order to make meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment:
  • Adequate safeguards to ensure that intensive biofuels production does not result in water pollution, habitat destruction, or loss of forests.
  • Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that would require utilities to produce 15% of their electricity from clean renewable sources such as wind and solar.  
  • A greenhouse gas standard that would require advance biofuels to emit 50% less global warming pollution than gasoline.
“America not only deserves but needs an energy bill that includes meaningful reductions of global warming pollution and protects our natural resources, said Dan Lashof, Science Director of the NRDC Climate Center. “This bill makes a down payment on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. When the House of Representatives takes up energy legislation, we trust they will include critical components that were not added before the clock ran out.”