Update: As of the middle of November, the energy bill is moving again. You can find a discussion of the current issues here. The entry below is from August 9, 2007.
For the past week, I've been reading about the energy bill just passed by the U.S. House. Now that Congress is on its summer vacation, we all have a chance to catch up on what happened during the House's recent flurry of activity. Here's a quick recap of what's been going on with the energy bill.
- Back in June, the Senate passed a version of the energy bill that included higher fuel economy standards. If it becomes law, new cars and light trucks will have to get an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
- Last Saturday, at the last minute before leaving for the August recess, the House passed its own version of the energy bill. The House version doesn't include the fuel economy standards, but it does include a provision that has a lot of support from environmentalists: a national renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) that would require most electric utilities to get 15 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2020. More than 20 states have already passed similar laws, but a national rps standard would speed up the adoption of renewable energy across the rest of the country. Renewable Energy Access has a good summary of some of the other provisions of the House version of the bill.
- When Congress returns to work on September 4, the House and Senate will have to reconcile these two different versions of the energy bill before sending it to the White House. However, this week, President Bush threatened to veto the bill saying it doesn't do enough to encourage production of energy. You can read the administration's position on the energy bill in this statement from the Department of Energy.
Megan E. Phelps is a freelance writer based in Kansas. She enjoys reading and writing about all things related to sustainable living including homesteading skills, green building and renewable energy. You can find her on Google+.