The Senate passed its $16 billion version of the federal energy bill yesterday with an 85-12 vote. Included: tax breaks and incentives for domestic oil and gas production; billions for clean energy, nuke power, and conservation; and, the “sense of the Senate” demanding that “the United States should demonstrate international leadership and responsibility regarding reducing the health, environmental, and economic risks posed by climate change.”
(Search on ‘S. J. RES. 5’ for the 109th Congress at senate.gov to read the whole thing.)
Not included, as compared to the House version: Even more incentives for dirty energy production; immunity from defective-product lawsuits for manufacturers of MTBE, a gasoline additive that has fouled drinking water in hundreds of communities nationwide; drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And the House certainly didn’t include no namby-pamby non-binding resolution on reducing global warming.
So stay tuned for the next round, as the House and Senate duke it out in conference to reconcile their two versions of the bill.
Read more in today’s The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times.On Monday, anticipating this vote, the editors of The New York Times weighed in on the significance of the climate resolution — far from being an empty gesture (as opponents to action on climate change would style it),
The resolution was anything but meaningless. It represents a major turnaround in attitudes, especially among prominent Republicans who only a few years ago doubted a problem even existed. It is something to build on: Pete Domenici, the most influential Senate Republican on energy matters and a recent convert to the global warming cause, has already scheduled hearings to see what sort of legislation can be devised down the road.
And it terrifies the White House because it is further proof that the administration’s efforts to minimize the warming threat have failed and that President Bush’s voluntary approach to the problem is no longer taken seriously.
So, what do you think? Tipping point, or toothless?