Senate Energy Bill: I want my MPG…

from Wildlife Promise

The Energy Bill will be wrapped up this week one way or another, as Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a motion for cloture yesterday, signaling debate and voting on the energy bill will end tomorrow.

Yesterday, both the bad liquid coal amendment and the mediocre, compromise liquid coal amendment failed, leaving liquid coal out of the energy bill completely. This thrilled the environmental community (including NWF), but could hurt the bill’s overall chances for passing since Republican leadership has said they will filibuster the whole bill if it doesn’t include more fossil fuel (oil, gas or coal) production.  Talk about being stuck in the dinosaur age! (ba-dum-ching!) The bad Bunning-Domenici bill liquid coal bill failed. But, In trying to get it passed, Domenici and others had argued so strongly that the Testor compromise bill was terrible and unattainable, they couldn’t turn around and vote for the compromise bill, so it lost. Voting against the compromise was a rare mix of enviro champs and anti-enviros (Boxer and Inhofe voting together at last).

Today, we’re slated for more votes, including the bad Levin Fuel Economy amendment, which would weaken fuel economy provisions already in the bill. This will be a tight vote, so please give a quick call to your senators and make sure they will vote against the Levin amendment. It’s unclear when or if a renewable energy standard amendment will come to the floor, and it’s doubtful that it will be Senator Bingaman’s 15 percent renewables by 2020 that we so desperately need.

Finally, a quick reality check that this bill may be hard to get into law anyway: Republican senators are threatening to filibuster and the President is threatening to veto. The President is threatening a veto mainly because the “NOPEC” amendment passed yesterday, essentially declaring OPEC a violation of US anti-trust laws. Many see this NOPEC amendment as merely a symbolic gesture, but the President doesn’t want to upset OPEC, saying it would hurt US interests abroad.

Stay tuned for votes…