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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Senate Energy Bill: 59-40 ... for now

As predicted, the Senate took its second stab at the Energy Bill this morning; the vote was expected to be very close with 60 votes needed to end the cloture vote and move the Energy Bill forward. The Energy Bill currently includes the first overhaul in fuel economy standards in 35 years, a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and a $13 billion clean energy tax package that would close corporate loopholes and repeal subsidies for the big oil and gas companies.

The Senate just failed clearing the cloture hurdle by a mere SINGLE VOTE (59-40)!! Sen. McCain was the only Senator missing from the vote… even the other presidential hopefuls found time in their busy calendars. It is despicable and horribly irresponsible that forty senators stood behind oil and gas companies this morning, rather than an investment in the future prosperity and sustainability of this country. Coincidently, senators have received over $8 million from big oil and gas over the last four years...

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has since called to bring the bill back for yet another vote this afternoon. Before the vote, however, Reid and the Democratic Majority, having already stripped the bill of RES, must now likely remove the bill's entire clean energy tax package in order for it to pass – even more disappointing!

Reid should NOT just give in to this reckless Minority! This is an opportunity for the Democratic Majority to show some backbone, rather than just roll over and let the tax provisions fall away from an already watered-down bill. The Democrats could actually push back, and force this bill into a filibuster situation, rather than allow an empty compromise -- which is what will happen otherwise. They could force the shameful 40 to do a little more as they continue to stand behind the oil and gas corporations that are preventing us from developing emerging sectors of our economy.

So, does the bill still include anything worthwhile -- if the taxes fall? If Reid moves ahead with what he pledged earlier today, we will lose the tax provisions. The RFS provision does contain some promising biofuels provisions, including a measure to consider the total global warming pollution generated during biofuel production (rather than just the decrease in oil use), investment in cellulosic ethanol and other environmental protections. The overhaul of the fuel economy standard is also an important step in the right direction. The final bill is still expected to include improved energy efficiency standards for buildings.

Stay tuned for the next vote, or filibuster?


Jesse Jenkins said...

Great post Alisha. For those regular WattHead readers, Alisha is our new "DC Correspondent." Welcome to the team Alisha.

Now, on to my rant...

It's time for a filibuster! Make that reckless minority of Senators who stand in the way of a sustainable and prosperous 21st Century America literally STAND in the way and filibuster while news cameras role.

It’d be political theater, but down-right effective political theater! It would force these 40 Senators to explain why they sided with giant oil companies recording massive profits and not with the American consumer - CAFE will save the average American family $700-$1000 per year at the pump after all.

It’d show some strength on the Dems part for once and most importantly, it would start to shift political realities to more closely match what real reality demands!

If this reckless and downright despicably 40 Senators get away with this Scott free, with no political ramifications, how can we ever expect political realities to shift?


Jesse Jenkins said...

Want to know who the dirty 40 are who are standing in the way of progress (and the one who seems to have ducked out of this vote!):

NAYs ---40
Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lott (R-MS)
Martinez (R-FL)
McConnell (R-KY)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)

Not Voting - 1
McCain (R-AZ)

If one of these critters "belongs" to you, give 'em hell!

Anonymous said...

I work for a utility. Speaking just for myself, to be honest, I do not understand the insistance that we must push renewables to reduce GHG and save the earth. All - all - manmade GHG emissions account for less than 1% of total GHG global emissions. Why is it this 1% that everyone insists we must reduce/eliminate to make a diference in GHG, whatever the cost? Affordable energy is the backbone of our economy, and fossil fuels are what make energy affordable. If we insist on forcing the use of more renewables that drive up energy costs, we'd only be making a tiny difference in total GHG, with no real impact, yet from the news coverage you'd think such a change is going to have a HUGE impact on cyclical, global climate change. Wouldn't we be better off putting our dollars into the most high efficiency changes possible to reduce demand vs a focus on renewables and GHG free nuclear, which will present a different set of environmental challenges? Population continues to grow and we all rely on more devices that ever, that use electricity. Now people want plug in cars, but won't that drive up demand for electricity even further? If you drive up demand and concurrently make electicity more costly... it will not end wel..