Foreign Policy Blogs

Senate Energy Update

As of Friday, December 7, a day which will live in infamy because of the Senate Republicans' unwillingness to overcome the undue influence of the special interests of the electric utility and oil & gas industries (in cahoots with three Democrats), the renewable portfolio standard of 15% and the tax revisions providing $21 billion in revenue to support renewables looked as if they would be stripped from the superb energy package that had come over from the House.  (See No Surprises (Unfortunately) below.)  A frustrated Rep. Rahm Emanuel said last week:  "As an amateur student of constitutional history and as a member of Congress, I have come to the conclusion that the Senate was a historic mistake."  (I wrote about this at The Hill in July.)   

Now we hear that the Senate is indeed going to strip the 15% RPS but leave the tax provisions substantially intact.  See U.S. Senate Democrats to revive energy bill from the "Detroit Free Press" today.  Ranking Energy and Natural Resources Committee member, Pete Domenici, warns, however, that "It's a wasted time and effort to pass a bill with $21 billion in taxes.  The president will say "I told you not to do it.'"

Here's a little inside baseball on how the Senate came to abandon the RPS from a veteran energy beat reporter at "U.S. News & World Report."



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