Friday, December 7, 2007

Senate Blocks Energy Bill

From the New York Times:

Brushing aside a veto threat from the White House, the House passed a package of energy measures on Thursday that includes a 40 percent increase in fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks sold in the United States. But the measure stalled today in the Senate, as expected.

The bill’s supporters say it will reduce the nation’s dependence on imported oil, jump-start development of clean-energy technologies and sharply reduce the nation’s production of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide.

But the complex and costly bill faces the prospect of a radical rewrite in the Senate because of opposition there to two provisions: $21 billion in new taxes, mostly on the oil industry, and a mandate that electric utilities must generate 15 percent of their power from alternative sources, like wind or solar. The White House threatened to veto the bill if the final version contains those or several other provisions passed by the House.

The House vote was 235 to 181, with 14 Republicans voting for it and 7 Democrats voting against. But the measure was blocked in the Senate this morning, as it attracted 53 “yes” votes — 7 short of the number needed to advance it. Forty-two senators voted against it.>>>CONTINUED