CLEAN Energy Act of 2007

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Upon taking control of the 110th Congress in January 2007, Democrats promised to pass comprehensive energy legislation. When passed by the House, the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007 simply addressed royalties and tax breaks previously afforded to oil and gas companies. The Senate later amended the bill, and passed a much more comprehensive version which included [more on what the Senate version included].

Some organizations publicly supported or opposed the bill. Their arguments were [more on arguments regarding the bill].


Article summary (how summaries work)
The original House version of the act would primarily eliminate tax breaks for oil companies, end exemptions for oil companies from paying oil and gas royalties, and establish a reserve of the revenue resulting from the act to offset costs and fund alternative energy research. The Senate-amended version also included other provisions, such as requirements for raising automobile fuel efficiency standards, greater funding for research, development, and promotion of alternative energy technology, consumer protections against price gouging, and promotion of international energy partnerships and diplomacy to foster international energy security.



Contents

Current status

The bill passed the House on January 18, 2007, and was subsequently considered in the Senate, where it was amended to include provisions from the Senate's own energy bill. The amended version passed the Senate on June 21, 2007. It was signed by President George W. Bush and has become law.


Criticisms and commendations

Support for coal industry

Taxpayers for Common Sense, a group committed to being an "independent voice for American taxpayers," urged senators "to oppose any mandates, loan guarantees or other subsidies for the coal-to-liquids (CTL) industry."[1] The group argued that the technology was a risky investment and a "costly gamble that will not lead us to energy independence."[2]

Heritage Foundation: Energy bill is anti-energy

Ben Lieberman of the Heritage Foundation argued that the energy bill would hurt domestic energy production and increase reliance on foreign oil. He argued, "Tax hikes on domestic energy also undercut the energy security rationale for the bill. The tax title would improve the comparative advantage of OPEC and other non-U.S. suppliers, whose imports are not subject to most of these provisions."[3]

Furthermore, he describes how a requirement to switch over to "politically correct alternative energy sources" would become a burden, as these sources require federal funding to be competitive. He wrote, "Of course, the only reason why a federally mandated Renewable Portfolio Standard is needed in the first place is that that these alternatives are far too expensive to compete otherwise. In effect, Washington is forcing costlier energy options on the public."[4]

He applied the same argument to the bills requirements for increased energy efficiency standards for appliances and light bulbs, stating "Advances in energy efficiency for appliances, or for any other product, do not require government regulations. Manufacturers and consumers are perfectly capable of determining for themselves the proper balance between energy efficiency and other product attributes. Rigid federal standards simply give efficiency priority over everything else, often to the detriment of families and businesses."[5]

Action on the bill

House - initial consideration

On January 18, 2007, the House passed the CLEAN (Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation) Energy Act of 2007 (later to become the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007) by a vote of 264-163. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.).

Same for all scorecards:
Scored vote

Scorecard: National Journal 2007 House Scorecard

Org. position: {{{Vote position 1}}}

Description:

"Increase taxes on energy companies, with the funds used to promote alternative fuels and conservation. January 18. (264-163)"

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/house_votes.htm)


Support and opposition

Senate Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), a supporter of the bill, justified his vote by saying, "The oil industry doesn't need the taxpayers' help. ... There is not an American that goes to a gas pump that doesn't know that." House Ways and Means Chair Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), a cosponsor of the bill, agreed, stating "These tax breaks came at a time of record profit for oil corporations and were so large that even the Bush Administration called them excessive."[6]

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), however, argued that, "We do not need a tax on domestic energy production and development...Increasing taxes on our nation's energy industry means one thing: more reliance on foreign oil and gasoline." He was joined in opposition by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who stated, "If you want to do things right, let's tax foreign oil." Rep. Stevan Pearce (R-N.M.) also criticized the bill, stating "The San Francisco Democrats want to run cars with wind."[7][8]

On January 17, 2007, before the bill passed, the Bush administration expressed its opposition. Specifically, it opposed the provisions forcing companies to renegotiate the flawed leases from the 1990s. In addition, it “strongly opposed” the proposal to repeal the 2004 tax break aimed at helping U.S. manufacturers compete against imports.[9]

Bill details

The bill stemmed from past congressional action regarding oil royalties. The Deep Water Royalty Relief Act of 1995 relieved oil companies from paying royalties on extractions from public land as an effort to stimulate oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The law intended for royalties to be paid to the government when oil reached $39 per barrel, but that provision was not included in the contract, leaving the oil companies to extract energy relatively royalty free.[10]

Most oil companies refused to renegotiate the contracts or pay the royalties that would have been collected. H.R.6 would impose a fee on any of those who hold the 1998-1999 leases unless they renegotiate them to include royalty payment to the taxpayers. Over the first ten years, the fees would equal $6 billion. At the time the bill passed the House, there were over fifty oil companies holding the errant leases.[10]

Specifically, the bill would prohibit the Secretary of Energy from issuing any new leases that authorize production of oil or natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico and under the Outer Continental Shelf to a person holding other leases unless the person has renegotiated past leases.[10]

In addition, a 2004 law providing qualification for manufacturer’s tax benefit would also be ended. The provision, from an earlier law, impacted several manufacturing types and the oil and gas industries with expense absorbing tax breaks. The elimination of the tax benefit would only apply to oil and gas extraction companies, not other product manufacturers. The bill would reduce a tax break for the cost of geological and geophysical expenses of exploration. The reduction would apply to very large, integrated energy companies. Those companies would lose the ability to write off expenses and exploration costs, but would gain the authorization to amortize those expenses over seven years rather than five.[10]

The Secretary of Interior would be ordered to implement within 60 days of bill passage a "conservation of resources" fee for producing and for non-producing federal oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Producing lease fees would be $9 per barrel for oil and $1.25 per million Btu of gas in 2005 dollars. The provision would apply to production of gas or oil in any calendar year in which the arithmetic average of the daily closing for light sweet crude on the NYMEX exceeds $34.73 per barrel for oil and $4.34 per million Btu for gas in 2005 dollars.[10]

The funds recouped by this bill, estimated at $14 billion over five years, would be considered offsetting receipts, meaning they would be counted against other spending thereby offsetting that outlay. The bill establishes an account, The Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve, that could include collected past royalties. The Reserve fund would be used to fund future legislation to accelerate the use of clean domestic Renewable energy resources and alternative fuels; to promote the utilization of energy-efficient products and practices and conservation and to increase research, development and deployment of clean renewable energy and efficiency technologies.[10]

Main article: U.S. federal oil and gas royalties

Senate - initial consideration

Action in the Senate

Following the House vote, Senate action was uncertain. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) stated, “I support the principle behind the House bill,” and asked for it to be placed on the Senate calendar. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Finance Committee, disagreed, and called the bill "another pig in the poke" that targets incentives necessary to promote domestic drilling. [11]

On June 7, 2007, a motion to proceed with consideration of the bill was presented in the Senate, and action was expected in the following weeks, sometime by the end of June.[10] In the Senate, cloture was invoked on H.R.6, and provisions from the Senate's own energy bill, S.1419, were then added to it, making it more comprehensive than the version originally passed by the House.

Among the amendments considered were:


Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: National Journal 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Aye

Description:

"Create a national action plan for reducing oil consumption by 35 percent by 2030. June 12. (63-30)"

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/senate_votes.htm)


Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: National Journal 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Nay

Description:

"Speed up the permitting process for oil-refining sites. June 13. (43-52)"

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/senate_votes.htm)


Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: National Journal 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Aye

Description:

"Table a proposal to require utilities to produce 20 percent of their electricity from clean- or renewable-energy sources by 2020. June 14. (56-39)"

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/senate_votes.htm)


Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: National Journal 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Aye

Description:

"Limit debate on an energy bill setting higher fuel standards for vehicles. June 21. (62-32; 60 votes required to invoke cloture)"

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/senate_votes.htm)

  • An amendment to grant Virginia the ability to explore for natural gas and drill within coastal waters.


Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: American Conservative Union 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Aye

Description:

"The Senate rejected an amendment to the Energy Policy Bill that would have allowed Virginia to petition for natural gas exploration and drilling in the state’s coastal waters. ACU favors development of domestic energy sources and supported this amendment."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.acuratings.org/)

  • An amendment that would have changed the tax code to provide funding for alternative energy investment.


Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: U.S. Chamber of Commerce 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Nay

Description:

"In a significant victory for the Chamber, the Senate failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to end debate on an amendment to H.R. 6, the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007, that would have levied punitive taxes on the oil and natural gas sector. As a result of this 57-36 vote, the tax increases were not included in the Senate energy package passed on June 21. The tax increase would have exceeded $32 billion and would have singled out the oil and natural gas industry for punitive tax treatment to pay for unproven alternative energy technologies that are not yet economically viable. Moreover, the tax increases likely would have been passed onto consumers, leading to higher prices for gasoline and home heating.Throughout 2007, the Chamber strongly opposed several schemes considered in the House and Senate to target the oil and natural gas sector for new taxes. Fortunately, no punitive tax increases were included in energy policy legislation, ultimately signed into law by President Bush on December 19."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.uschamber.com/issues/legislators/07htv_senate.htm)

Comprehensive bill

Progress on the comprehensive bill in the Senate stalled due to disagreements over renewable electricity production. The initial legislation would include a requirement that utilities companies get 15 percent of their electricity production from alternative, renewable sources by 2020. Senate Republicans, including Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), opposed the provision, and claimed it would be too difficult for regions of the country that can produce little wind energy to comply. Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) offered a compromise that would allow utilities to include up to 4 percent of the mandatory 15 from improving efficiency or buying credits from other utility companies, still requiring at least 11 percent of electricity production to come from renewable sources. This was still not enough to appease most Republicans.[12]

On June 21, 2007, the Senate passed the bill, H.R. 6, as amended with the inclusion of provisions from S.1419, by a vote of 65-27. The final version was modified from the original after a lengthy debate and compromise was reached. Republican opposition was largely overcome when a measure raising taxes on oil and gas companies for the purpose of supporting alternative fuel projects was defeated in a 57-36 cloture vote. Following that GOP victory, the larger bill closely passed the 60-vote cloture threshold by 61-32. Also among the compromises in the legislation were the dropping of a provision that would have required a 4 percent annual increase in fuel efficiency standards between 2020 and 2030. Senators also softened a requirement that automakers produce more flexible fuel vehicles.[13] A measure introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) requiring alternative energy electricity production was also struck from the final bill in order to gain enough support.[14][15]


Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: Club For Growth 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: {{{Vote position 1}}}

Description:

"Vote on the proposal that would increase and expand Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and require 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be produced and used domestically by 2022. The pro-growth vote was "nay" because the CAFÉ standards and the biofuel regulations increase costs and distort the market for cars and fuel. This bill also contains a tax increase. Passed 65-27: R 20-23; D 43-4 (ND 39-3, SD 4-1); I 2-0."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2008/05/the_2007_congressional_scoreca_1.php)

Scored vote

Scorecard: American Conservative Union 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Nay

Description:

"The Senate passed legislation imposing massive new regulation on the energy industry, including a rise in automobile mileage to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, a ban on the incandescent light bulb, new energy efficiency mandates for appliances, the use of 15 billion gallons of biofuels by 2015, and the taxpayer subsidy of new energy technologies. ACU opposes this kind of direct government interference in the economy."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.acuratings.org/)

Bill summary

The original Senate-amended version of the bill, including provisions from both H.R.6 and S.1419, would do the following:

Biofuels

One year from enactment, the President would be directed to promulgate regulations to ensure that motor vehicle fuel, home heating oil, and boiler fuel contain a percentage of renewable fuels. The percentage would be 8.5% in 2008 increasing to 36% in 2022. There would be no "per gallon" obligation on the use of the fuels and there would be no restriction on where the fuels could be used nationwide. Advanced Biofuels would meet similar percentage increases. The onus would be on refineries, blenders, and importers to meet the percentage levels. Small refineries would be exempt until 2013 or 2015, depending on type of ownership. Exemptions would be based in part on disproportionate economic hardship. Biomass fuels would be harvested from the National Forest System or other public lands and elsewhere, and would also include feed grains, other agricultural commodities, plants, trees, and algae. Also included would be crop residue, animal waste and by-products, and food or yard waste.[16]

Grants and loan guarantees

Grants to State, tribal, and local governments would be available to establish refueling infrastructure corridors for gasoline blends containing no less than 11% and no more than 85% renewable content, or diesel fuel containing at least 10% renewable content. The infrastructure would ensure adequate distribution of renewables within the corridor, provide for equipment to directly support vehicles powered by renewable fuels, and for maintenance of the infrastructure and equipment installed. The governments could partner with public and private entities. Grants would range to $20 million under a pilot program and the non-federal share would be no more than 20%.[16]

Grants and loan guarantees would also be available to design and build facilities to produce the renewables that show the ability to produce at least 50,000 gallons annually. No single facility would be granted more than $250 million. States with low ethanol production could receive grants to build facilities.[16]

Other grants would aim to improve transfer of the raw biomass to local refineries, with what appears to be an emphasis on local production of the fuels or fuel bases. Regular reports to Congress on grants made and grantee progress would be ordered.[16]

To facilitate the development and distribution of renewable additions to petroleum products and Ethanol, eleven bio-research centers would be ordered. The Secretary would provide a center at which interested parties can gain information on programs and incentives and biofuel users and producers. A database would provide the physical properties of and reference materials for different types of alternative fuels. Fuel cap labeling, telling consumers that a vehicle can operate on alternative fuels, would be ordered by 2010.[16]

Other grants would aid small hydroelectric power producers in Alaska without damming bodies of water. The use of ocean tides and currents, and solar, wind, or geothermal energy sources would benefit from the construction grants as well. Federal share of costs would not exceed 50%.[16]

Research funding

Studies would be ordered on increased consumption of Ethanol blended gasoline, advanced biofuel technologies, the feasibility of pipeline construction, transporting renewable fuels by rail road, optimizing flex-fuel vehicles to use E-85 fuel, credits for use of electric cars, incentives for renewable fuels, carbon content in biofuels and biodiesel, engine durability associated with using biodiesel, and the effects of Ethanol-blends on off-road vehicles.[16]

Energy efficiency promotion

Consumer products

  • By 2010 all general purpose lighting would be Energy Star products, with a study that will take into account the cost of replacing all general service lighting and cost reduction. Specific wattage use of fluorescent lights and incandescent reflector lamps would be reduced. Created in the bill is the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prizes to be awarded for various improvements to products providing increased lighting and reduced energy use. Private funds could be added to the prize amounts ranging to $10 million. There appears to be no restrictions on whether or not a private, commercial entity donating to the prizes would be given any privilege to gaining copyrights of the produced products. More efficient lighting can reduce electric costs nationwide by $18 billion annually, the Senate would hold.[16]
  • Minimum levels of energy efficiency would be developed and will reach to faucets, bathrooms, clothes washing machines, and dishwashers. Regional standards could be increased for heating and cooling products to include furnaces, boilers, or central AC equipment. Consideration would be given to proven excessive burdens on manufacturers of energy-using products. Various current regulations would be under continuous review.[16]
  • Energy efficient products would be labeled for consumers within about 3 years of enactment. The labeling would include TVs, personal computers, cable and satellite boxes, video recorders, and computer monitors. Other products could be added.[16]
  • Refrigerators and freezers, residential clothes- and dish-washers, and dehumidifiers made before January 2011 would be required to have improved modified energy factors with further improvements after January 2012. The Secretary could make awards to manufacturers producing high-efficiency consumer products. Awards would be lump sum payments. No award amounts are given in the bill.[16]

Commercial and industrial energy efficiency

The Secretary would establish a program in cooperation with materials manufacturers, companies engaged in energy-intensive commercial applications, and national industry trade associations to support, develop, and promote the use of new materials manufacturing and industrial and commercial processes, technologies, and techniques to optimize energy efficiency and the economic competitiveness of the United States. Examples include feedstock and recycling research, development, and demonstration projects. Feedstock is the raw materials used in manufacturing, chemical, and biological processes. Federal share would be no more than 50%.[16]

A consortium of developers, builders, and state and local governments would be established to move towards building commercial buildings that require greatly reduced energy usage and that are economically viable. Standards developed would apply to buildings built by 2030, 50% of all commercial buildings by 2040, and all commercial buildings by 2050.[16]

High efficiency vehicles, advanced batteries, and energy storage

The national goals for energy savings in transportation would be 20% by 2017, 35% by 2025, and 45% by 2030, to be reached through regulatory, funding, and policy efforts.[16]

The Secretary would develop a program to determine ways through which vehicle weight can be reduced to improve fuel economy without compromising passenger safety, and study the cost of lightweight materials to build those vehicles. Automobile parts manufacturers may receive loan guarantees for fuel-efficient automobile part manufacturing, as would efforts toward advanced technology vehicle manufacturing with improved city and highway fuel economy.[16]

Corporate fuel economy standards

The Secretary of Transportation would prescribe average fuel economy standards for automobiles, medium-duty trucks, and heavy-duty trucks manufactured beginning in 2011.[16]

Beginning in 2013, fuel economy for medium and heavy duty trucks would be 4% greater than the previous year for the next twenty years.[16]

After the prescribed fuel economy rate for automobiles is set in 2011, the industry would establish fuel economy standards for all models at at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Models built through 2030 would increase fuel economy by 4% over the fuel economy of the previous year model. In the end, actual fuel economy levels must be feasible. Crash testing would also be ordered to limit injury and death.[16]

The bill states: "The Secretary of Transportation may establish, by regulation, a corporate average fuel economy credit trading program to allow manufacturers whose automobiles exceed the average fuel economy standards prescribed under section 32902 to earn credits to be sold to manufacturers whose automobiles fail to achieve the prescribed standards.”[16]

Labeling of automobiles regarding the fuel economy that can be expected over the life of the vehicle would be required and would allow consumers to compare performance results with other vehicles. The "Fuelstar" program would be established to rate the automobile’s performance by a star rating on the label. A National Academy of Sciences study would be ordered to evaluate vehicle fuel economy standards. The bill aims to have 50% of manufactured automobiles be flexible-fuel automobiles by 2012, rising to 80% by 2015.[16]

The Secretary of Transportation could create rules establishing a national tire efficiency consumer education program. Tires could be labeled, but not permanently.[16]

Energy storage

An Energy Storage Advisory Council would be created to consider various storage potentials including compressed air energy storage, ultra capacitors, the energy storage industries, and research and development toward improved storage options for batteries and other energy sources for vehicles in particular. Funds would be made available on a cost-share basis for R & D and demonstration projects involving electric vehicles.[16]

An advanced battery initiative would be established through which grants to private businesses and others would spur research in that area.[16]

Fifty percent of civil claims against those who might violate this Act would be used for research and development purposes.[16]

National Media Campaign

The Secretary of Energy would develop and conduct a national effort to increase energy efficiency throughout the US economy, promote national security benefits associated with energy efficiency, and decrease oil consumption over the next decade. The effort would be up for competitive bid, and would include most media outlets.[16]

Another campaign would be undertaken to raise consumer awareness of flexible fuel vehicles. Flexible fuel vehicles are defined as capable of operating on alternative fuels (such as E-85 ethanol) and gasoline or diesel fuel.[16]

Modernizing the electricity grid

The bill establishes that it would be US policy to develop and deploy advanced technology to modernize and increase the efficiency of the US electricity grid to maintain reliable and secure electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure to meet future growth demand.[16]

Real-time monitoring and analysis would be required to maximize capacity, efficiency, and reliability, reduce line loss, and facilitate real-time pricing. The grid would incorporate renewable energy generators and displace a portion of the petroleum used to power the national transportation system.[16]

The federal fleet would be required to achieve a 20% reduction in petroleum consumption by October 2015, and 10% annually thereafter, through a plan to be developed using alternative fuels, acquisition of higher fuel economy vehicles, and substitution of cars with light trucks. Other factors, such as reducing fleet size, would be included. Federal employees would be encouraged to telecommute, use public transportation and bicycles, and carpool. Law enforcement, emergency, and military vehicles would not be included.[16]

Federal buildings

Efforts would be made to purchase electricity from renewable sources by 10% by 2010 and 15% by 2015. Federal contracts would be looked to for various energy efficient elements. Other performance standards would be created, including those to govern energy use in public or assisted housing.[16]

The General Services Administration would be directed to accelerate cost-effective energy technology in government buildings through a centralized effort taking responsibility for recommendations, practices, and activities as well as providing technical assistance to government agencies charged with lowering energy uses. The GSA would report on current cost-effective lighting technologies in use. It would also move quickly to upgrade to cost-effective lighting where feasible, and report on those efforts and opportunities within one year. Replacement of current technologies would be completed in five years.[16]

Local and state governments

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may provide competitive grants to local governments to deploy cost-effective technologies and practices and achieve operational savings. If a community is economically depressed, the EPA may waive up to 100% of the local share of the project.[16]

States would be required to improve energy efficiency in utilities, to include electric and natural gas utilities. Block grants would be available based on population size served. Federal share would be 75%.[16] Grants would be made to states to reduce fuel wasted by idling school buses.[16]

Colleges and universities

Grants would be made available to improve energy efficiency at educational institutions, as well as grants to engage in innovative energy sustainability projects.[16]

Carbon capture and storage research, development, and demonstration

A program would be developed for improving technologies for capturing carbon dioxide, developing technologies that reduce the cost and increase the efficacy of compressing CO2 for storage, field demonstrations, and an assessment of risks relating to field sites where the CO2 may be stored. Efforts would look into recycling and reusing CO2. A study would be conducted to determine the viability of injecting CO2 into operating oil and gas fields, depleted oil and gas fields, unminable coal seams, deep saline formations, and deep geological systems. Seven large-scale demonstration projects for geological containment would be authorized.[16]

Capturing CO2 from electric energy production, petroleum refining, and the manufacturing of iron, steel, cement, commodity chemicals, and fuels from coal would be demonstrated with an award for high-capacity storage to 85%.[16]

Price gouging

Unconscionably excessive pricing would mean a price charged that represents a gross disparity between the current price and the price normally requested before the declaration of an energy emergency but is not attributable to increased wholesale or operational cost outside the control of the supplier.[16]

Market manipulation or the providing of false information to deceptively affect the cost of petroleum distillates would be prohibited. The President may call for an energy emergency for 30 days, with an extension possible under some conditions. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would investigate price gouging and related laws, and the state Attorney Generals would enforce the laws. The FTC may intervene in State court actions to be heard and file petitions for appeal.[16]

Energy diplomacy and security

A Major Energy Producer (MEP) would be defined as having produced 1 million barrels of oil or more per day in the previous year, and as having oil reserves of 6 billion barrels or more. An MEP would also be defined as having gas production of 30 billion cubic meters or more, and as having gas reserves of 1.25 trillion cubic meters or more.[16]

A Major Energy Consumer (MEC) would be defined as having used over 1 million barrels of oil per day with an 8% increase over the previous year, or having used over 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas with a 15% increase over the previous year.[16]

Congress would find that it is imperative to national security and prosperity in the US to have reliable, affordable, clean, sufficient, and sustainable sources of energy, and that the US dependency on oil imports causes tremendous costs to national security, economy, foreign policy, and so forth.[16]

It would be the policy of the US to advance global energy security through cooperation with foreign governments to promote reliable, diverse, and sustainable sources of all types of energy. The policy would include increasing availability of renewable and clean sources of energy and decreasing global dependence on oil and natural gas energy sources. The Secretary of State would be directed to report on progress made in developing strategic energy partnerships, aiming to strengthen global relationships through a mutual understanding of each others' energy needs. Priorities and policies, measures to respond to acute energy needs, long-term reliability, and the safeguarding of nuclear fuel, among others, would be elements of the partnerships.[16]

Response mechanisms to an energy emergency in India or China, in cooperation with those governments, would be considered priorities. The bill appears to suggest that an international petroleum reserve would be established, and that it would be coordinated or perhaps fueled by a draw down of the National Strategic Petroleum Reserve to respond to such emergencies.[17]

House - second consideration

Bill summary

  • Auto manufacturers' vehicle fleets would have to average 35 miles per gallon by 2020, a 40 percent increase over the current requirement
  • By 2020, 15 percent of the electricity generated by the nation's utilities would have to come from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and biomass.
  • Tax incentives would be provided to bring about a sevenfold increase in the use of ethanol as a motor fuel by 2022, with 36 billion gallons on the market each year.
    • Two-thirds of that would have to be "cellulosic", derived from feedstock such as prairie grass, woodchips, or other non-corn based biofuels.
  • Appliance and light-bulb standards that would effectively phase-out but the middle of the 2010s the incandescent bulb.
  • $21 billion increases in revenue to finance tax incentives for hybrid cars, ethanol production, and renewable-energy development. Included was a rollback of $13.5 billion in tax breaks for the five largest oil companies.[18]

Criticism and support

Almost every part of the bill was criticized except the fuel-efficiency standards. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) said the biofuels target would set a mandate "that can't be met." others said the renewable-source standard would put an unfair burden on Southeastern states, although bill supporters said those states are good sites for solar power plants. Dingell said "It will come as no surprise to anyone in this body that I have some reservations -- to put it mildly -- about how this legislation was assembled. Many have been complicit in the curious process that has yielded an imperfect product, but it is probably the best product achievable."[19]

Jeremy Symons, director of the National Wildlife Federation's program on Global warming said of the fuel-efficiency change, "From the point of view of solving the climate crisis and advancing the clean-energy economy, this is a big down payment on action."[20]

House action

On December 6, 2007 the House approved a version of the bill by a vote of 235-181, sending the measure to the Senate. Fourteen Republicans voted for the bill while seven Democrats opposed it. Republicans in the Senate hoped to strip it of tax increases on the oil industry and a renewable-source requirement before a final version went to President Bush. The White House objected to the bill on several terms, including tax boosts on oil companies, saying Bush would veto it. However, as energy prices rose congressmen from both parties showed strong support for fuel-efficiency standards, which had not been changed since the mid-1970s. House Minority Leader John Boehner, who opposed the measured, lauded the CAFE (corporate average fuel efficiency) standards as a good and reasonable compromise. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) said "There is a real appetite to increase CAFE standards. The only question has been how much and how fast."[21][22]

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a Navy reservist, said "In the end, I voted with my heart. I'm out of the Navy, but still in the Navy, and I want instability in the Persian Gulf to no longer be a problem for the Pentagon. I really think this will help."[23]

Passage of the bill took nearly a year for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). In addition to the popularity of the fuel-efficiency standards, the bill's promotion of ethanol won the allegiance of farm-state Congressmen from both parties. However, Pelosi had to fight challenges from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.), who had long opposed fuel-efficiency mandates on Michigan's auto industry. Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee complained that Pelosi handpicked negotiators circumvented them as the deal was put together. A final threat was a revolt by conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats who were angered by tax increases in the bill that could endanger their positions.[24]


Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: Drum Major Institute 2007 House Scorecard

Org. position: Aye

Description:

"This legislation represents a major step toward redirecting U.S. energy usage in a cleaner, more sustainable direction. The bill will save American consumers money at the fuel pump and on their heating bills, reduce air and water pollution, and mitigate the threat of global warming. Like its earlier incarnation, the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007 this bill recognizes that fossil fuels are not a sustainable option for the nation’s growing energy needs, and that a substantial public investment is needed to jump start the development and promotion of renewable energy sources and energy-efficient technologies. In the short term, this investment would create jobs producing renewable energy and technology. In the long term, new energy sources and more efficient technology promise environmental and public health benefits, as well as lower costs, for the American middle class. The bill also funds the investments in an appropriate way: by repealing taxpayer subsidies to the oil industry, which is already making booming profits at the expense of middle-class consumers. This legislation also goes beyond what the original CLEAN Energy Act attempted by establishing a Renewable Electricity Standard and stricter fuel economy standards for cars. These improvements marshal even more of the nation’s resources in support of conservation and a shift toward renewable energy, building on advances already adopted in many states to create a more sustainable energy future for the nation."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.adaction.org/pages/publications/voting-records.php)

Scored vote

Scorecard: National Journal 2007 House Scorecard

Org. position: {{{Vote position 2}}}

Description:

"Revise the energy bill to increase fuel-efficiency standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, shift energy-tax incentives, and require electric utilities to use renewable-energy sources for 15 percent of their electricity by 2020. December 6. (235-181)"

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/house_votes.htm)

Senate - second consideration

First vote fails

Senate Democrats initially failed to gain enough votes to close debate on the bill in a Cloture vote of 53-42 on December 7, 2007. Democrats fell 7 votes short of the 60 needed even after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid summoned the Senate's four Democratic presidential candidates back from campaigning to vote. Three Democrats voted against closing debate while five Republicans voted in favor. Several centrist Republicans facing re-election in 2008 voted for cloture with the Democrats including Sens. Norm Coleman (Minn.), Susan Collins (Maine), and Gordon Smith (Ore.)[25][26]

After the vote, Sen. Domenici said it had actually marked beginning of a process to complete work on an energy package in Congress. On December 6, Reid had told reporters that he would consider stripping the bill of the Renewables Portfolio Standard, the provision requiring utilities to use 15 percent renewable energy.[27]

Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: Drum Major Institute 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Aye

Description:

"This legislation represents a major step toward redirecting U.S. energy usage in a cleaner, more sustainable direction. The bill will save American consumers money at the fuel pump and on their heating bills, reduce air and water pollution, and mitigate the threat of global warming. Like its earlier incarnation, the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007 this bill recognizes that fossil fuels are not a sustainable option for the nation’s growing energy needs, and that a substantial public investment is needed to jump start the development and promotion of renewable energy sources and energy-efficient technologies. In the short term, this investment would create jobs producing renewable energy and technology. In the long term, new energy sources and more efficient technology promise environmental and public health benefits, as well as lower costs, for the American middle class. The bill also funds the investments in an appropriate way: by repealing taxpayer subsidies to the oil industry, which is already making booming profits at the expense of middle-class consumers. This legislation also goes beyond what the original CLEAN Energy Act attempted by establishing a Renewable Electricity Standard and stricter fuel economy standards for cars. These improvements marshal even more of the nation’s resources in support of conservation and a shift toward renewable energy, building on advances already adopted in many states to create a more sustainable energy future for the nation."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.drummajorinstitute.org/library/report.php?ID=63)

Scored vote

Scorecard: U.S. Chamber of Commerce 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Nay

Description:

"In a victory for the Chamber, the Senate on December 7 failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to end debate on H.R. 6, the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act, which was at the time seriously flawed and unnecessarily anti-business energy legislation. The vote was 53-42. The version of H.R. 6 voted on December 7 would have established an unworkable 15 percent nationwide renewable electricity mandate and a $21 billion tax component that singled out the oil and natural gas industry for punitive tax increases. H.R. 6 was ultimately signed into law without the punitive tax increases or renewable electricity mandate."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.uschamber.com/issues/legislators/07htv_senate.htm)

Scored vote

Scorecard: National Journal 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Nay

Description:

"Limit debate on the energy bill to increase fuel-efficiency standard to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, shift energy-tax incentives, and require electric utilities to use renewable-energy sources for 15 percent of their electricity by 2020. December 7. (53-42; 60 votes required to invoke cloture)"

(Original scorecard available at http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/senate_votes.htm

Second vote passes

On December 13, 2007 the Senate passed a revised version of the bill by a vote of 86 - 8. The final version increased fuel efficiency standards to 35 mpg by 2020, increased energy efficiency standards for appliances and buildings, and set a mandate for the vastly expanded use of ethanol and other biofuels. The bill also included $1.46 billion in increases in revenue to offset the estimated $2 billion that would be lost to gasoline taxes because of the improved automobile gasoline mileage.[28]

The earlier version of the bill with $13 billion raised from the oil industry, a mandate that utilities rely on renewable energy for at least 15 percent of their power generation, and a $21.8 billion 10-year tax package failed by a one vote margin. A final attempt the end debate and make way for a vote failed by 59 - 40 despite the return of four Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton (NY), Barack Obama (Ill.), Christopher Dodd (Conn.), and Joseph Biden (Del.). Nine Republicans voted in favor of ending debate while one Democrat, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) voted against it. Sen. John McCain was not present.[29]

Same for all scorecards:
Scored vote

Scorecard: FreedomWorks 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Nay

Description:

"This legislation is a massive $300 billion taxpayer subsidy to private agribusinesses. “Nay” votes are scored."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.freedomworks.org/keyvotes/2007_senate.php)

Scored vote

Scorecard: American Conservative Union 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Nay

Description:

"Although the Senate had earlier voted for new energy regulations, the House then revised them, and the Senate refused to shut off debate and move to a final vote on the revised bill mandating increased automobile mileage, the production of 36 billion gallons of “biofuels” by 2022, and new energy efficiency standards on appliances, lights, and other consumer goods while increasing taxes on domestic oil and gas companies. ACU opposes expansion of federal authority into the economy and so opposed this bill. ACU opposed this massive expansion of welfare programs."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.acuratings.org/)

Scored vote

Scorecard: Americans for Democratic Action 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Aye

Description:

"It would direct the Energy Department to set new energy efficiency standards. The additional amendment would strike a provision requiring utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from alternative sources by 2020. It also would increase to $21.8 billion a package of tax incentives that would be offset in part by eliminating or reducing $13 billion in subsidies for major oil and gas companies."

(Original scorecard available at http://www.adaction.org/pages/publications/voting-records.php

Scored vote

Scorecard: National Journal 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Nay

Description:

"Limit debate on the energy bill to increase fuel-efficiency standard to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 and shift energy-tax incentives. December 13. (59-40; 60 votes required to invoke cloture)"

(Original scorecard available at http://www.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/senate_votes.htm

The failed vote to end debate came after the White House and Sen. Domenici warned that Bush would veto the bill because of the tax portion. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Democrats had "shown how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" by "inserting an enormous tax hike, a tax hike they knew would doom this legislation." Reid said Congress should not be intimidated by a veto threat, "We are the Congress of the United States. We can write things even though the president may not like them." Democrats said that the tax measure was modest and only took back tax breaks the oil companies received in 2004 and that they did not need them with oil prices at about $90 a barrel.[30]


Same for all scorecards:

Scored vote

Scorecard: American Conservative Union 2007 Senate Scorecard

Org. position: Nay

Description:

"Voting on a third revision of the Energy Bill, the Senate this time voted to pass legislation imposing massive new burdens on the energy industry of the United States while rejecting measures to increase domestic supplies of oil and gas. ACU continued to oppose this intervention in the economy. ACU opposed this massive expansion of welfare programs."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.acuratings.org/)

Scored vote

Scorecard: Information Technology Industry Council 2007-2008 House Scorecard

Org. position: Aye

Description:

"Legislation to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, developing innovative new technologies, reducing carbon emissions, creating green jobs, protecting consumers, increasing clean renewable energy production, and modernizing our energy infrastructure, and to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for the production of renewable energy and energy conservation."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.itic.org/clientuploads/scorecards/13307_ITI_VoteGuide_FINAL.pdf)

Final House passage and signature into law

On December 19, 2007 the House passed the revised bill by a vote of 314-100. In addition to fuel efficiency standards and an increase in the biofuels mandate it also set efficiency standards for appliances and incentives for the commercial building industry. New efficiency standards would make the incandescent bulb virtually extinct by the middle of the 2010s. Conventional incandescents were to be phased out starting in 2012, ultimately ceding the market to more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LED's). The commercial building industry was to gain new incentives for energy-efficient windows, equipment, and design. Additionally, the federal government was supposed to make all of its buildings carbon-neutral through energy efficiency and clean energy use by 2030.[31]

Bush signed the bill later on December 19 and said "The legislation I'm about to sign should say to the American people that we can find common ground on critical issues." Bush noted that he called for higher fuel-efficiency standards in his State of the Union address. "The bill I'm about to sign delivers on that request," Bush said. However the administration said in a position paper at the time that Congress should not legislate a particular numeric standard and the administration should have the authority to set the standard for cars.[32]

Same for all scorecards:
Scored vote

Scorecard: Club For Growth 2007 House Scorecard

Org. position: {{{Vote position 1}}}

Description:

"Vote on the proposal that would increase and expand Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and require 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be produced and used domestically by 2022. The pro-growth vote was "nay" because the CAFÉ standards and the biofuel regulations increase costs and distort the market for cars and fuel. The bill also proposed a tax increase. Passed 314-100."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2008/05/the_2007_congressional_scoreca.php)

Scored vote

Scorecard: American Conservative Union 2007 House Scorecard

Org. position: Nay

Description:

"The House passed new energy regulations mandating increased automobile mileage (paid for by $2.1 billion in new taxes), the production of 36 billion gallons of “biofuels” by 2022, and new energy efficiency standards on appliances, lights, and other consumer goods, while rejecting measures designed to allow an increase in the supplies of domestic oil and gas. ACU opposed this massive expansion of federal authority into the economy and so opposed this bill."

(Original scorecard available at: http://www.acuratings.org/)

Scored vote

Scorecard: Americans for Democratic Action 2007 House Scorecard

Org. position: Aye

Description:

"Dingell (D-MI) motion to concur in a Senate amendment to a bill that would require new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards of 35 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks, require 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be used by 2022, and direct the Energy Department to set new energy efficiency standards. A $2.1 billion tax package would cover the cost of the new CAFE standards."

(Original scorecard available at http://www.adaction.org/pages/publications/voting-records.php

Scored vote

Scorecard: Information Technology Industry Council 2007-2008 House Scorecard

Org. position: Aye

Description:

"Legislation to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, developing innovative new technologies, reducing carbon emissions, creating green jobs, protecting consumers, increasing clean renewable energy production, and modernizing our energy infra-structure, and to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for the production of renewable energy and energy conservation."

(Original scorecard available at http://www.itic.org/clientuploads/scorecards/13307_ITI_VoteGuide_FINAL.pdf

On its 2007 House scorecard, National Journal rated a yes vote in roll call vote 1177 as "L-2" (Liberal-2). Votes were rated either conservative or liberal and weighted 1 to 3. The scorecard gave the following description:

Approve the final version of the energy bill, including the increased fuel-efficiency standards. December 18. (314-100) [33]

Articles and resources

See also

References

  1. Ryan Alexander, "Oppose Amendments for Coal-to-Liquid Subsidies," Taxpayers for Common Sense, June 13, 2007.
  2. Ryan Alexander, "Oppose Amendments for Coal-to-Liquid Subsidies," Taxpayers for Common Sense, June 13, 2007.
  3. Ben Lieberman, "The House Energy Bill: As Anti-Energy As the Senate Version," Heritage Foundation, August 1, 2007.
  4. Ben Lieberman, "The House Energy Bill: As Anti-Energy As the Senate Version," Heritage Foundation, August 1, 2007.
  5. Ben Lieberman, "The House Energy Bill: As Anti-Energy As the Senate Version," Heritage Foundation, August 1, 2007.
  6. William L. Watts. "House Democrats take aim at drilling royalties," Market Watch. January 12, 2007.
  7. Josef Herbert. "House Rolls Back Big Oil Subsidies," CBS News. January 19, 2007.
  8. "Democrat backlash against US oil industry," Telegraph. January 20, 2007.
  9. Jim Efstathiou Jr. and Tina Seeley. "House Democrats Poised to Cut Oil Company Subsidies," Bloomberg News. January 18, 2007.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Robert McElroy, "Managing America: Energy," TheWeekInCongress, June 8, 2007.
  11. H. Josef Ebert, "House Rolls Back Big Oil Subsidies," CBS News, January 19, 2007.
  12. Kathryn A. Wolfe, "Talks Over Renewable Energy Falter," CQ, June 20, 2007.
  13. Sholnn Freeman, "Senate Passes Energy Bill," Washington Post, June 22, 2007.
  14. Manu Raju, "Dems notch energy bill win, but renewables provision derailed," The Hill, June 22, 2007.
  15. Sholnn Freeman, "Senate Passes Energy Bill," Washington Post, June 22, 2007.
  16. 16.00 16.01 16.02 16.03 16.04 16.05 16.06 16.07 16.08 16.09 16.10 16.11 16.12 16.13 16.14 16.15 16.16 16.17 16.18 16.19 16.20 16.21 16.22 16.23 16.24 16.25 16.26 16.27 16.28 16.29 16.30 16.31 16.32 16.33 16.34 16.35 16.36 16.37 16.38 16.39 16.40 16.41 16.42
  17. Robert McElroy, "Managing America: Energy," ThisWeekInCongress, June 15, 2007.
  18. Jonathan Weisman and Steven Mufson, "Broad Energy Bill Passed by House," The Washington Post, December 7, 2007.
  19. Jonathan Weisman and Steven Mufson, "Broad Energy Bill Passed by House," The Washington Post, December 7, 2007.
  20. Jonathan Weisman and Steven Mufson, "Broad Energy Bill Passed by House," The Washington Post, December 7, 2007.
  21. Jonathan Weisman and Steven Mufson, "Broad Energy Bill Passed by House," The Washington Post, December 7, 2007.
  22. Klaus Marre, "House ignores veto threat, passes energy bill," The Hill, December 6, 2007.
  23. Jonathan Weisman and Steven Mufson, "Broad Energy Bill Passed by House," The Washington Post, December 7, 2007.
  24. Jonathan Weisman and Steven Mufson, "Broad Energy Bill Passed by House," The Washington Post, December 7, 2007.
  25. Steven Mufson and Jonathan Weisman, "Energy Bill Vote Blocked in Senate," The Washington Post, December 7, 2007.
  26. Ian Swanson, "Senate cloture bid on energy bill fails," The Hill, December 7, 2007.
  27. Ian Swanson, "Senate cloture bid on energy bill fails," The Hill, December 7, 2007.
  28. Steven Mufson, "Senate Passes Energy Bill Without House Tax Package," The Washington Post, December 14, 2007.
  29. Steven Mufson, "Senate Passes Energy Bill Without House Tax Package," The Washington Post, December 14, 2007.
  30. Steven Mufson, "Senate Passes Energy Bill Without House Tax Package," The Washington Post, December 14, 2007.
  31. Steven Mufson, "House Sends President An Energy Bill to Sign," The Washington Post, December 19, 2007.
  32. Peter Baker, "Solidarity for Bush, Democrats," The Washington Post, December 20, 2007.
  33. "2007 Vote Ratings, National Journal, March 7, 2008.

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