U.S. Senate Energy Bill Falls Short of Moving America Forward

Media Contacts

On a vote of 85-12 the U.S. Senate passed its version of the energy bill

Arizona PIRG

“The renewable electricity standard and energy efficiency tax provisions stand out as the bright lights of the U.S. Senate bill,” said Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG). “Unfortunately, the bill still falls short of delivering the energy policy America deserves, by doing nothing to protect consumers from high prices at the gas pump or to reduce America’s dependence on oil.”

The U.S. Senate bill includes a ten percent renewable electricity standard and billions in energy efficiency tax incentives for buildings, appliances and vehicles. However, despite the fact that several analyses have demonstrated savings of between 3-5 million barrels per day by 2020 are feasible, the bill fails to guarantee any reduction in oil consumption. It includes only an unenforceable goal of reducing America’s dependence on oil by 1 million barrels by 2015. The U.S. Senate energy bill includes a non-binding “Sense of the Senate” that states mandatory market-based limits are needed to reverse the growth of global warming pollution.

“While the U.S. Senate bill demonstrates that a majority of Senators support mandatory reductions in global warming pollution, the bill does not actually require reductions in pollution,” said Brown.

The Senate energy bill actually weakens environmental, consumer and public health protections in several ways:

– The bill permits an inventory of offshore oil and gas reserves, taking the first step to weaken the long-standing moratorium that protects America’s coasts.

– The Senate bill pre-empts states from making decisions about the siting of liquefied natural gas terminals in their communities.

– The bill includes billions of dollars in loan guarantees, tax breaks and direct subsidies for the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries.

– The bill repeals the Public Utility Holding Company Act, which protects electric consumers from Enron style abuses.