In a move that is said to have surprised even some environmentalists, the US House of Representatives has put forward a $21 billion energy package, including repealing tax breaks given to oil companies in 2005.
The bill will cause problems in the Senate, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed ahead with the entire package, taxes and all. “We have to pay for the bill,” she told reporters.
The House-passed legislation would roll back $13.5 billion in tax breaks enjoyed by the five largest U.S. oil companies with the money to be used for tax incentives for development of renewable energy sources like ethanol from grasses and wood chips and biodiesel and for energy efficiency programs and conservation.
It also would impose new efficiency standards for appliances, building construction and require expansion of the use of ethanol sevenfold to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022 with 21 billion gallons coming from cellulosic feedstock such as wood chips and prairie grass.
But the centerpiece of the bill is a requirement to boost automobile fuel economy by 40 percent to an industry average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, the first such action since 1975, when Congress first enacted the federal auto fuel economy requirements.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will try to bring it up Friday. Senate Republicans said they will try to strip out the new oil taxes and a requirement that utilities generate more electricity from windmills, solar panels and other renewable sources.
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino called the House-passed bill “misguided” and unacceptable, and said President Bush would veto it if the bill is not changed.
That’s a great message to the climate talks in Bali, George…