## House Passes Energy Bill; Transportation Focus on Biofuels, Mass Transit and Plug-Ins

##### 05 August 2007

On Saturday, the US House of Representatives passed its version of an Energy Bill (H.R.3221): “The New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act.”

The bill, which integrates efforts from eleven House committees, establishes a wide range of long-term incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency and conservation initiatives, paid for primarily by the repeal of about $16 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies. It establishes a renewable power standard requiring all electric utilities to produce 15% of their power from wind, solar, biomass or other renewable sources by 2020. The bill does not address vehicle fuel economy. On the transportation side, H.R.3221 focuses on three primary areas: biofuels, including biogas and biogas hybrids and plug-in; mass transit; and support for plug-in hybrids. Some of the transportation-related sections of the bill include: Title IV (Science and Technology), Subtitle E (Biofuels). Among the provisions of this subtitle of the bill, the “Biofuels Research and Development Enhancement Act” are: • A technology transfer center, established by the Department of Energy in cooperation with the department of Agriculture, that will make information available on research, development, and commercial application of technologies related to biofuels and biorefineries, including: biochemical and thermochemical conversion technologies capable of making fuels from lignocellulosic feedstocks; biotechnology processes capable of making biofuels with an emphasis on development of bio-refinery technologies using enzyme-based processing systems; biogas collection and production technologies suitable for vehicular use; cost-effective reforming technologies that produce hydrogen fuel from biogas sources; biogas production from cellulosic and recycled organic waste sources and advancement of gaseous storage systems; and other advanced processes and technologies that will enable the development of biofuels. • A research, development, and demonstration program for a biofuels distribution infrastructure. • A study on any research and development challenges inherent in increasing the proportion of biodiesel sold in the US to 2.5% of diesel fuel sold. • A study on research and development challenges inherent in increasing to 5% the transportation fuels sold in the United States fuel with biogas or a blend of biogas and natural gas. • Establishing at least 5 bioresearch centers that focus on biofuels. • Grants to eligible entities for research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of biofuel production technologies in states with low rates of ethanol production, including low rates of production of cellulosic biomass ethanol. • Programs to increase energy efficiency in the operation of biorefineries, and to enable biorefineries that exclusively use corn grain or corn starch as a feedstock to produce ethanol to be retrofitted to accept a range of biomass, including lignocellulosic feedstocks. • A study on increasing the level of ethanol blended in gasoline in the US to from 10% to 40%. • A study on optimizing flex-fuel vehicles to use E85. • A study of engine durability and performance associated with the use of biodiesel. • A study a of methods of increasing the fuel efficiency of vehicles using biogas by optimizing natural gas vehicle systems that can operate on biogas, including the advancement of vehicle fuel systems and the combination of hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid electric drive plat- forms with natural gas vehicle systems using biogas. • A report on the progress of the research and development that is being conducted on the use of algae as a feedstock for the production of biofuels. Title V (Agriculture Energy). Among the provisions of the section of the bill are loan guarantees for the construction of biorefineries and biofuel plants. The section also extends the research cooperation between the departments of Energy and Agriculture. Title VIII (Transportation and Infrastructure.) This title, the “Transportation Energy Security and Climate Change Mitigation Act of 2007” establishes a Center for Climate Change and to plan, coordinate, and implement research, strategies and actions to reduce transportation-related energy use and mitigate the effects of climate change, with special emphasis on research strategies and action to address the impacts of climate 21 change on transportation systems and infrastructure. The bill has a number of provisions related to the support and development of public transportation and congestion-reduction, factoring in all modes of transport. Title IX (Energy and Commerce), Subtitle E (Advanced Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles and Components). This section provides incentives for the conversion of vehicles to plug-ins as well as for the advancement of the enabling technology. Among the provisions are: • A program to provide guarantees of loans by private institutions for the construction of facilities for the manufacture of advanced vehicle batteries and battery systems that are developed and produced in the United States, including advanced lithium ion batteries and hybrid electrical system and component manufacturers and software designers. • A competitive program to provide grants on a cost-shared basis to State governments, local governments, metropolitan transportation authorities, air pollution control districts, private or nonprofit entities to carry out projects to encourage the use of plug-in electric drive vehicles or other “emerging” electric vehicle technologies. • Grants to support 5 demonstration programs to convert at least 1,000 vehicles in each program to plug-in hybrids, with the intention of determining how best to integrate plug-ins into the electric power grid and into the overall electricity infrastructure. • Incentives for medium- and heavy-duty hybrids,including hydraulic hybrids. • Inclusion of electric drive in the Energy Policy Act of 1992. • A study of the benefits of plug-in hybrids and electric drive vehicles. Title X (Tax Provisions), Subtitle B (Conservation), Part 1 (Transportation). This section establishes tax credits for the purchase of plug-in hybrids. Resources: ### Comments Let's hope (but the chances are very slim) that PM Harper government will do the same and repeal the$2B+/yr direct and indirect subsidies to the Canadian Oil Industries.

They are doing very well with their record high profits. They don't need subsidies, specially with Oil at $75+/barrel. The same$2B/yr could be applied to accellerate the development of clean alternative energies such as Wind, Solar, Hydro, Geothermal, Waves and more efficient Hybrids, PHEVs and BEVs etc to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

There is not much point in reading about energy legislation until after Bush signs it and it becomes law. The 2005 Energy Bill was a pretty good bit of bipartisan legislation and we are seeing the positive results like ethanol production. About every segment of renewable energy is at capacity for building new infrastructure.

If the House and Senate try to gut what is working, Bush will veto it. Most of what I read here is taken credit for what has already accomplished. For exampls most states have already enacted 'a renewable power standard requiring all electric utilities to produce 15% of their power from wind, solar, biomass or other renewable sources by 2020'.

Unless the House passed two different energy bills Saturday, Bush has promised to veto this one because it doesn't promote domestic oil and gas production.

repeal of about $16 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies That'll guarantee a veto. All the renewable energy in the world aint going to mean diddly if we are$1.5 TRILLION behind in renewable steel and concrete spending. An increase in road use taxes is undeniable and inevitable.

"That'll guarantee a veto."

Absolutely! As if the ongoing Iraq occupation to the tune of $500 Billions and untold amount of sweat and blood so far is not enough of a subsidy to the Oil Interest. This unlawful occupation is mainly to guarantee that the major Oil Corporations will have a stake in the huge Iraqi oil reserve, which can be extracted at very little cost, if the cost of war and bloodshed not counted. "Pogo, I've seen the enemy, and it is us!" If Bush does veto this his popularity will hit an all time low I suspect. Hopefully it would mean even stronger legislation after he's gone. I think that this bill might have the votes needed to bypass a veto attempt. It passed with over 53% of the vote in the house and if people get excited about the end of the corporate welfare for companies like the most profitable in the world, Exxon, more support might be garnered. I hope that constituents will get excited enough to contact their representatives just by the repeal of the Hummer tax break. The number one thing to keep in mind about Bush for the rest of his presidency: He doesn't care one iota about his ratings. He's intent on trying to save his precious legacy and lock in as much of his extreme agenda as possible before he has to leave office. (The inherent contradiction between those two things seems to have completely eluded him and his inner circle.) That means no meaningful steps will be taken on the energy or environmental fronts unless Congress can muster a veto-proof majority, which will happen only in the most extreme cases. Kit P: If one could convince Karl Rove, who is Bush's resident political consultant, paid with tax money I might add, to pass the bill, Bush might sign it. The sticking point I see is elimination of the oil subsidies. It takes a big man to rise above what in effect means an indirect reduction in Big Oil campaign contributions to the Republican party. Can Bush do it? What a farce this bill is. Read the highlights, research this, study that, report progress etc. Sell the sizzle not the steak, or as one politician would say ’Where’s the beef’. What ever happened to the CAFÉ increase, oh sorry the Democratic committee chairman is from Michigan and he gets his marching orders from the UAW and GM. Go back and read the name of the bill. Anything with that much apple pie and motherhood in the title is trying to obfuscate the fact that the politicians either do not have the answers to the problem or the testicular fortitude to tell the public the truth, educate them on the solution. What a farce this bill is. Read the highlights, research this, study that, report progress etc. Sell the sizzle not the steak, or as one politician would say ’Where’s the beef’. What ever happened to the CAFÉ increase, oh sorry the Democratic committee chairman is from Michigan and he gets his marching orders from the UAW and GM. Go back and read the name of the bill. Anything with that much apple pie and motherhood in the title is trying to obfuscate the fact that the politicians either do not have the answers to the problem or the testicular fortitude to tell the public the truth, educate them on the solution. Wait for it, wait for it!!! Not going to happen. It would really be refreshing for someone to actually have read our NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY or the 2005 Energy Bill. Of course Bush listens to Big Oil and Big Electric, they are important part of out economy. Bush has also pushed renewable energy harder and more successfully than any of his predecessors. So Bush has already done most of he set out to do on energy. There is is no reason to for a new bill. What a farce this bill is. "WASHINGTON, July 30 — A one-sentence provision buried in the Senate’s recently passed energy bill, inserted without debate at the urging of the nuclear power industry, could make builders of new nuclear plants eligible for tens of billions of dollars in government loan guarantees." New York Times Of course Bush listens to Big Oil and Big Electric, they are important part of out economy. Bush has also pushed renewable energy harder and more successfully than any of his predecessors. So Bush has already done most of he set out to do on energy. There is is no reason to for a new bill. Load-a-crap. “The New Direction for Energy Independence ... Act.” Yea when you're going around in circles, you're going in a new direction every few degrees. If they'd read greencarcongress, they'd already know most everything they've resolved to undertake to learn. But that misses the point. We need to keep the merry-go-round going. That's the "engine" of the American economy, you see. More NYTs bias reporting which is sometimes called lying but at a minimum unethical reporting. The loan guarantee is if the government changes regulations in the middle of building a nuke plant. What is more interesting, with all the space devoted to the billions of dollars of loan guarantees,; the NYTs could not find the space to actually quote the sentence. What is the NYTs afraid, readers coming to a different conclusion with all the facts. Kit translated: "Go nukes! Go coal! Go Big Oil!" What is wrong with nuclear power? I does not matter though this bill is not likely to pass, with how it treats Big Oil. If this thing kickstarts nuclear power again in this country, I'm all for it. Jack's back and like the NYTs he leaves out information to support a narrow agenda. Jack left out go renewable energy. Just change 'anti' to 'and' with a resulting in comprehensive and diverse energy policy. I am against something. The endless lists that the anti's makeup to explain why something will not work totally ignoring that it is working. The 2005 Energy Bill is working. What I would like to see in any energy bill, is a provision to tax fossil fuel carbon. Recently there has been a decrease in American demand for unnecessarily big vehicles (unnecessary that is, for those who don't really need the size and hauling capacity) pickup trucks and SUV's. Why? Because of fuel price increases owing to natural economic forces, i.e. refinery problems or problems in places like Nigeria. I believe therefore that if the price of gasoline drops precipitously, we need to kick in a tax on gas to make it artificially more expensive, i.e.$3.00 or more a gallon. I cannot emphasize enough that we need such a tax to incentivize people to buy more fuel-economical cars, or drive less.

If however it should ever be determined that global warming is a figment of the imaginations of those who dislike the automobile for other reasons (i.e., Freudian hangups of one kind or another), I'll re-evaluate my position.

I am against something. The endless lists that the anti's makeup to explain why something will not work totally ignoring that it is working. The 2005 Energy Bill is working.

Straight from Rove's mouth.

So Alex, you want to tax something old people and children need because you have some theory that sea level might increase a few mm in a hundred years? How about we pass a law that says Alex can not have a hot water heater in his house? Cheap fix too, at least a 15% reduction in energy use. Put me in charge of the energy police and I will find lots of things that Alex enjoys but does not really need.

Clearly there are lots of better ways of reducing ghg than increasing taxes on the poor.

Kit P, from your dismissive comments it seems you don't weigh global warming very significantly. This then would explain your view of the current energy policy as "working" and why you encounter so much disagreement here at GCG. Is your intention just to stir things up or what? The only thing "working" it seems to me is high oil prices. It all depends on your goals and your goals are obviously different to most people's here. If you want to debate global warming go over to realclimate.

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