Friday, January 19, 2007

House Approves CLEAN Energy Act 264 to 163

Jan 18: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a brief statement on the passage of H.R. 6, the CLEAN Energy Act, which rolls back subsidies and tax breaks for "Big Oil" [See WIMS 1/18/07]. Following extensive debate, the bill passed at approximately 6:00 PM by a vote of 264 to 163. Some 32 Republicans voted for the bill and only three Democrats voted against the measure; and, eight members did not vote.

Pelosi said, “Today’s vote represents the first step toward a future of energy independence. By rolling back $14 billion in subsidies for Big Oil at time when they have recorded record profits, and investing that money in clean renewable energy, energy efficiency and alternative fuels, we will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. By investing in American ingenuity, Democrats will accelerate the implementation of existing clean, energy-efficient technologies. We will promote homegrown alternatives, creating good paying jobs while bolstering our national security, sending our energy dollars to the Midwest, not the Middle East.”

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman issued a lengthy statement on the House passage of H.R. 6. Bodman said in part, "Energy is a bipartisan issue and together we can work to reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy while expanding our nation's economy. We can accomplish this by increasing our investments in new energy technology and also in the further development of our nation’s natural energy resources... We support the bill’s effort to repeal some of the unnecessary oil and gas incentives from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct). In addition, we would ask that Members consider repealing other unneeded incentives contained in EPAct, such as federal funding for oil and gas research and development.

"While there are areas of agreement in this legislation, there are also areas of disagreement. Among them is a provision requiring companies that signed favorable oil development leases with the Department of the Interior in 1998 and 1999 to renegotiate those leases. While I agree that the leases are out of line with prior and current policy, the bigger issue is protecting the sanctity of contracts... I would ask Congress to closely review this provision as the bill moves forward.

“In addition, we can continue our work to invest more in clean energy technology today. So I am again asking that Congress fully and immediately support the President's $2.1 billion Advanced Energy Initiative. This 22 percent increase in funding for projects in vehicle technology, solar and wind research, nuclear energy, and clean coal projects would kick start the development and eventual deployment of these new clean energy technologies and allow us to more quickly wean our dependence from foreign sources of energy. Also, I encourage the Congress to fund the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative. This multi-billion investment is important to advance basic science research, which can lead to revolutionary discovery and ultimately greater energy independence.”

As previously reported, the bill has sharply divided business and environmental interests. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups strongly opposed the bill, while Sierra Club and other environmental organizations praised the bill [See WIMS 1/18/07].

Additional representative business comments were issued by National Manufacturers Association (NAM) and the American Petroleum Institute (API). NAM President, John Engler said, "The debate over energy policy should not focus on punishing oil and gas companies through new taxes or costs. Instead, Congress should focus on improving access to domestic energy supplies, energy efficiency technology and creating a more secure energy future for all consumers.” API said, "HR 6 is a repeat of failed energy legislation and is a disappointment for all Americans who want to insure a secure energy future. Punitive taxes on the U.S. oil and natural gas industry are ultimately anti-consumer and contrary to the goal of providing stable and cost-effective supplies."

Additional representative environmental group comments were issued by National Wildlife Federation (NWF). NWF called the House vote the "Opening Salvo in Fight Against Global Warming" NWF said, “Today’s vote is the opening salvo in the fight against global warming and in favor of creating of a new energy future for America. Ending the nation’s oil addiction and shifting to renewable energy sources will put us on a pathway that reduces global warming pollution and promotes energy independence. Forty percent of America’s carbon emissions that contribute to global warming are attributable to the use of oil, and 60 percent of our oil supplies come from foreign sources."

Access the Pelosi statement (
click here). Access the details of the House vote (click here). Access the statement from Energy Secretary Bodman (click here). Access the statement from the U.S. Chamber (click here). Access a letter from the Chamber to House members (click here). Access a release from Sierra Club (click here). Access a statement from NAM (click here). Access a statement from API (click here). Access a statement from NWF (click here). Access legislative details for H.R. 6 (click here). Access the House Floor consideration of the bill (click here). [*Energy]