The US House of Representatives has repealed $16 billion in oil company tax breaks, while providing billions of dollars in incentives for renewable energy and conservation. While this represents only a small fraction of subsidies to the oil industry annually, its an important step, which Oil Change supports.

Republican opponents said the legislation ignored the need to produce more domestic oil, natural gas and coal. One GOP lawmaker bemoaned “the pure venom … against the oil and gas industry.”

The House passed the tax provisions 221-189. Earlier it approved, 241-172, a companion energy package aimed at boosting energy efficiency and expanding use of biofuels, wind power and other renewable energy sources.

The two bills passed at an unusual Saturday session as lawmakers prepared to leave town for their month-long summer recess. They will be merged with legislation the Senate passed in June.

On one of the most contentious issues, the House voted to require investor-owned electric utilities nationwide to generate at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources.

The bill also calls for more stringent energy-efficiency standards for appliances and lighting and incentives for building more energy-efficient “green” buildings. It would authorize special bonds for cities and counties to reduce energy demand.

But the Democrats avoided a nasty fight by ignoring — for now — calls for automakers to make vehicles more fuel-efficient.

But that fight should not be put off any longer.


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