House Passes Energy Bill
21 April 2005
On a vote of 249–183, with 3 not voting, the House passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Twenty-one Republicans voted against the measure, and 41 Democrats voted for it. (Full roll call is here.) Attention now shifts to the Senate.
The bill funnels some $12 billion in tax breaks and subsidies to energy companies, including a $2 billion subsidy for developing oil and gas in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico; opens ANWR for drilling; and shields energy companies from lawsuits related to MTBE (the gasoline additive).
Amendments to increase the average fuel efficiency of vehicles and to specify a target for reduction in oil consumption were rejected yesterday. (Earlier post.)
Some of the amendments proposed during the session today:
Amendment #16, to authorize a total of $3 billion over ten years for a program to encourage the domestic production of hybrid and advanced vehicle diesel vehicles by providing grants to manufacturers and incentives to customers to purchase such vehicles, passed on a voice vote.
Amendment #17, to increase the number of project grants to local governments under the pilot program for the Energy Department’s Clean Cities program from 15 to 30, and to reduce the amount of the maximum grant from $20 million to $15 million (net increase of $150 million, or 50%), passed by voice vote.
Amendment #18, to create a Diesel Truck Retrofit and Fleet Modernization Program, passed by voice vote.
Amendment #20, to establish the Conserve by Bicycle Program, passed by voice vote.
Amendment #23, to make producers of approved renewable fuels eligible for grants to build production facilities for renewable fuels, defeated 239–190.
Amendment #25, to authorize a National Academy of Sciences study on the feasibility of mustard seed as a feedstock for biodiesel, passed 259–171.
Amendment #28, to reduce by 50% any royalty payments, excluding the costs of processing the rights-of-way, for wind energy generation that otherwise would be paid to the Treasury on BLM lands, passed by voice vote. This royalty relief provision terminates after 10 years of enactment or after the Secretary declares there exists a generation capacity of at least 10,000 megawatts of electricity from renewable sources on public lands, whichever is sooner.
Amendment #30, to strike language in the bill (section 320 of title III) which would preempt the authority of state and local governments to ensure that liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities are sited in areas where they do not pose a threat to public safety, and the states’ authority to ensure that such facilities are not sited in places where they pose a threat to sensitive coastal and ocean areas, defeated 237–194. (In other words, the language preempting state and local authority for the siting of LNG terminals by the federal government remains in the bill.)
Maryland Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, who is becoming the voice of Peak Oil in the House, voted against the bill. Although his next full Special Order speech to Congress on Peak Oil was pushed to sometime next week, he did manage to get a brief presentation in last night at around 11:45 pm. Text (no graphics) of those remarks are here.