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Energy Bill Gets Green Light Then Red Light

December 10, 2007

Des Moines, IA - Iowa's renewable fuels industry got some good news and some bad news from Congress last week. The U.S. House passed the energy bill Thursday, but the Senate declined to vote on it.

Iowa's ethanol and biodiesel producers had been pushing for passage of the bill, supporting new requirements for the use of renewable fuels. Opponents, including the White House, don't like the renewable fuel standard, or the repeal of oil industry tax cuts. Jim Presswood is an energy advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"It is time for Congress to pass an energy bill that puts us on a path toward solving our oil addiction problem as well as taking significant steps towards reducing global warming pollution."

Presswood adds that the new energy bill would also be good for Iowa's drivers.

"The key elements of an energy bill are an increase in vehicle fuel economy standards, making our cars go further on a gallon of gas, as well as requiring our utilities to produce more renewable energy."

The bill, officially known as the "Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007," mandates that automakers raise the average fleet-wide standard to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. It also requires utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. Presswood notes the bill would also have repealed billions in tax subsidies for Big Oil. The last two provisions are now in doubt, as negotiations resume.

Dick Layman/John Robinson, Public News Service - IA