U.S. House works on energy bill, passes Interior appropriations bill

The House of Representatives is gettin’ jiggy with eco-legislation this week. On Wednesday, it passed a bill declaring that — gasp! — global warming is a “reality,” and mandated funding for climate research. The House hopes to pass comprehensive energy legislation by July 4; proposals on the table include tough efficiency standards for lighting and appliances, smart-grid incentives, expansion of biofuels research, and funding for carbon capture and storage (shockingly, and wonderfully, not applying to coal-to-liquid technology). However, the various proposals exclude any mention of fuel-economy standards or biofuel production mandates, both of which are prominent in the Senate energy bill; those controversial issues may be left to a separate climate-change bill to be debated in the fall. The House also passed a $28 billion Interior Department spending bill, disallowing oil-shale leases in 2008 and increasing spending on operation and maintenance of national parks. Whee! We almost feel patriotic.