Energy Bill Passes House–Details, Next Steps and More

As promised, here’s a breakdown of the energy package passed by the House of Representatives Saturday, Aug. 4.

VICTORY: A Renewable Electricity Standard passed, 220-190, which would require electric suppliers to provide 15 percent of their electricity using renewable energy resources by the year 2020 (with 4 percent able to come from electricity efficiency measures). A year ago we were beating back bills and policies that were further entrenching the U.S. in dirty fossil fuel economy. Today we’re celebrating a major step toward a clean energy future and solutions necessary to confront global warming.

VICTORY: The bill includes a “Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act” to develop a national strategy to help wildlife populations and their habitats adapt to the impacts of global warming. It even provides modest new funding to states to assist wildlife in adapting to global warming. Also, the bill directs Federal agencies that manage our public lands to consider existing and future impacts from global warming as they make decisions about managing fish, wildlife and other natural resources.

VICTORY: The Solis amendment, requiring an assessment of needs of developing countries in adapting to climate change, and how the U.S. can help them, passed by voice vote (i.e. general agreement, not a roll call vote).

VICTORY: The Welch amendment, which establishes a grant program for colleges and universities to invest in sustainable and efficient energy projects (up to $1 million for efficiency and $500,000 for sustainability).

VICTORY: The Wu amendment, which requires the Secretary of Energy to establish a grant program for universities to research and develop renewable energy technologies; also authorizes $25 million for the total program.

What Next?

The bill isn’t law yet. Now the Senate Energy Bill and the House Energy Bill get “conferenced together”–meaning a small number of senators and representatives will decide what goes into one final bill that will be sent back to the House and Senate for vote on final, final passage. If this it passes, it gets sent to the President’s desk, who can either sign or veto.

For those concerned with moving the U.S. toward a clean energy future to help protect wildlife from global warming impacts, the final bill needs to include both the improvements to mileage standards from the Senate bill and the Renewable Electricity Standard from the House Bill.

The House and Senate have now left town for summer recess, but stay tuned for news on the final bill in early September. Thanks so much to everyone who contacted their representative!