What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Utility Industry : CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6)/On passage (2007 senate Roll Call 226)
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CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6)/On passage
senate Roll Call 226     Jun 21, 2007
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This was the final vote on a comprehensive energy package that aimed to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels, promote conservation and foster research and development into alternative energies.

The legislation would increase fuel-economy standards for vehicles to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 and mandate the use of 15 billion gallons of ethanol annually by 2015. The bill also would create new efficiency standards for household appliances and federal buildings as well as promote new energy technologies, including wind energy, hybrid cars, so-called clean-coal technology and carbon-dioxide sequestration. Furthermore, the measure would make price gouging in oil markets a federal crime during presidentially declared emergencies and subject the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to U.S. antitrust laws, both provisions that drew veto threats from President Bush.

The bill originated in the House, and this measure reflected the Senate's version of the legislation.

Democrats lauded the bill as a huge step forward in breaking the country's fossil fuel habit and taking responsible stewardship of the environment. Republicans objected primarily on the grounds that it focused energy policy in the wrong direction, namely by not giving sufficient support to finding new domestic sources of fossil fuels.

"It is inescapable that we must do something about global warming if we are to save civilization for our children and grandchildren and save this planet we have been given the humble privilege of inhabiting," Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) said. "That is an inescapable force that will drive us to a clean energy future in the 21st century.

Some Republicans maintained that it was hypocritical to attempt to reduce oil imports without tackling the problem of lack of refining capacity in the United States and increasing U.S. production of fossil fuels. "We can't have a serious discussion about energy without discussing the fact that it has been more than 30 years since the last oil refinery was built in the United States," said Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).

The vote on the bill came shortly before midnight, after a last-minute challenge by the auto industry and their supporters in the Senate. Democratic leaders called Senators back to the chamber to invoke cloture, a procedure to end debate and bring to a final vote (see Roll Call 225).

In the end, the legislation passed easily, by a vote of 65 to 27. Twenty Republicans joined all but four Democrats (including both Michigan Senators) in passing the measure, sending comprehensive energy legislation to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels and promote conservation and alternative fuels back to the House.

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