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E-M:/ Congress Tops off Landmark Energy Bill



For Immediate Release: December 18, 2007
For More Information:  Abby Rubley, Environment Michigan (734) 662-9797

 

 

Congress Tops off Landmark Energy Bill, Awaits Presidential Signature

 

Today the House passed a bipartisan energy bill that, when signed by the President, will represent the first time in more than thirty years that Congress has acted to increase fuel economy.

“After three decades of stalled progress, Congress has delivered much needed relief for our country’s dangerous oil addiction” said Environment America Washington, D.C. office director Anna Aurilio. “Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid along with Chairman Dingell and Chairman Markey deserve tremendous credit for breaking the decades-long log jam on fuel economy.”

The bill will increase fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon fleetwide by 2020, save 1.1 million barrels of oil per day and save consumers $22 billion in 2020. By 2030, these standards will reduce annual global warming emissions by 424 million metric tons a year, the equivalent of taking 77 million of today’s cars off the road.

 

“This improvement in fuel economy will make real progress on global warming,” said Aurilio. “By making our cars go farther on a gallon of gas we can cut global warming pollution by more than the total annual emissions of countries like Brazil, France or Spain.”

The bill also contains beneficial reforms to Department of Energy (DOE) authority to issue energy efficiency standards for appliance and equipment products, and establishes new efficiency standards for products such as light bulbs, dishwashers and clothes washers. The lighting standard alone would reduce global warming pollution by 100 million metric tons in 2030 relative to DOE projections. The bill also will save taxpayers money by increasing efficiency in federal government buildings. A provision to tighten federal building codes was dropped from the House bill.

“The President called for an increase in CAFE in his 2007 State of the Union address and Congress is going to sign, seal, and deliver it to him,” said Aurilio. “We look forward to President Bush’s signature to give Americans the gift of a greener Holiday.”

 

The threat of a veto by President Bush and a filibuster by Senate Republicans led Senate leaders to drop a renewable electricity standard (RES) from the bill. An energy bill with a renewable electricity standard passed the House twice this year and garnered a majority in the Senate but fell short of the 60 votes needed for cloture. The House RES would have required that utilities generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy such as wind, solar, or biomass, or through energy efficiency savings by 2020. Senate leaders were also forced to drop a package of tax credits that would have shifted billions of dollars from the oil industry to clean, renewable energy sources including wind, solar and geothermal technologies.

 

“We are thrilled that this Congress has turned a corner on energy policy by delivering long-overdue oil savings for America. We look forward to taking the next step toward a new energy future by passing renewable energy standards and incentives when Congress returns in 2008,” said Abby Rubley, Environment Michigan Field Director.

 

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