Tuesday, June 19, 2007

House Energy Legislation In Development Next 2 Weeks

Jun 18: Representative John Dingell (D-MI), Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and Rick Boucher (D-VA), Chairman, Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality have issued a memo to members of the Committee regarding a set of Committee prints addressing energy efficiency standards, a smart electricity grid, loan guarantees for innovative energy technologies, renewable fuels infrastructure incentives, and advanced battery and plug-in hybrid vehicle promotion. The prints will form the basis for markup of energy legislation in the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality this week and in the full Committee next week.

The memo notes that a number of the more controversial issues such as coal-to-liquids, fuel economy standards, a low carbon fuel standard, various mandates, and the role of Federal and State programs, are not included in the set of prints but will be taken up with comprehensive climate change legislation in the fall.

According to the memo, "This procedure for considering energy legislation at this time was discussed with the Speaker, and she understands the rationale for proceeding this way so that we can rapidly complete work on a bipartisan bill that can be signed into law. As we see in Senate consideration of energy legislation [See WIMS 6/14/07], many of these issues are complex and difficult, and it is our desire to avoid unnecessary delays in passing legislation that can accomplish much good. For example, the energy efficiency provisions of the Committee prints, when fully enacted, will remove from the atmosphere carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to those emitted from all cars currently on the road, according to an analysis by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the Alliance to Save Energy. This does not even count any savings from the smart grid or other provisions included in the prints."

Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and a Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released a statement in response to the announcement by Chairman Dingell and Chairman Boucher. Markey said, “I welcome Chairman Dingell and Chairman Boucher’s decision to back down from several controversial provisions in their draft energy legislation that would have taken our nation in exactly the wrong direction when it comes to energy independence and global warming.

“The original discussion draft would have overturned the Supreme Court’s decision on Massachusetts vs. EPA [See WIMS 4/2/07] regarding regulation of CO2 emissions from motor vehicle tailpipes. It would have pre-empted California from adopting their own stronger standards, thereby blocking other states from adopting the California standard. It would have put in place weak fuel economy standards for cars and trucks [that] are insufficient in meeting the challenge our nation faces from its increasing dependence on imported oil from the Middle East. And finally, it would have increased emissions of carbon dioxide pollutants by promoting coal-to-liquids fuels. There was broad opposition to these provisions, from Governors, the Attorneys General, and the environmental and public interest community. Twelve Democratic members of the committee, including me, all opposed the draft, as did Speaker Pelosi [See WIMS 6/8/07, subscribers only]. A bill with these provisions in it was clearly not going to become law."

Access the memo (
click here). Access the Committee prints and a section-by-section explanation of the prints (click here). Access the complete release from Representative Markey (click here). [*Energy, *Climate]