Sweeping Energy Bill Blocked in U.S. Senate
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A wide-ranging energy bill that is intended to increase fuel-economy standards, the use of alternative fuels and of renewable energy was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday only to be blocked in the Senate the following day.
A Democrat-led motion to avoid the bill being filibustered failed to get the required two-thirds majority. If passed, the bill would have faced a threatened veto from President Bush, who cited concerns over increased taxes and energy prices.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 would require vehicle fleets to average 35 miles a gallon by 2020, a ten mile per gallon increase over today’s standard.
In addition, the bill would have required a 700% increase in ethanol production by 2020, and would mandate that most of that ethanol be produced from a source other than corn. The bill also would require utilities to increase their production of energy from sources such as wind and solar and eliminate $13 billion-plus in tax breaks for oil and gas companies.
The Union of Concerned Scientists in an analysis of the bill, said the increase in fuel efficiency would save 1.1 million barrels of oil per day and save consumers some $22 billion by 2020.
Democrats are expected to bring a revised version of the bill to the Senate floor this week.