Foreign Policy Blogs

The Morning After

After I posted last night, the Senate came back for a late session in which they approved a complete package.  The final result was that the CAFE improvements were in, as was a huge boost in ethanol production and a requirement for ethanol use in vehicles, a frankly feel-good provision on price gouging was included, the tax package was nowhere to be seen, and, very disappointingly, the Renewable Portfolio Standard was out.  Also, amendments for massive coal-to-liquid fuel and coal-to-syngas programs were disapproved earlier in the week.  See this from CNN:  Senate passes energy bill, boosting mileage standards.  Other provisions include:

  • New appliance and lighting efficiency standards and a requirement that the federal government accelerate use of more efficient lighting in public buildings

  • Grants, loan guarantees and other assistance to promote research into fuel efficient vehicles, including hybrids, advanced diesel and battery technologies

  • Support for large-scale demonstrations that capture carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants and inject it into the ground

The Senate website has the final vote here. 

In another story, from the A.P. again, via the Environmental News Network, we hear Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in reference to the tax package being blocked (see earlier posts): 

""Big Oil seems to do pretty well here on Capitol Hill,' Reid told reporters, making no effort to hide his sarcasm."  (Senator Reid should read the magisterial Master of the Senate by Robert Caro to get a long-term perspective on that, or The Prize by Daniel Yergin, an extraordinary history of the oil industry.)   

Again, as I've noted before, the House package is forthcoming.  How it looks coming off the floor , and maybe even next week , will be important.  What really matters is how the final legislation emerges from the House-Senate Conference Committee later in the summer.  There will be some epic negotiations going on there no doubt.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change