Monday, June 25, 2007

Maine lawmakers applaud energy bill

Thoughts: I have not read the bill, but can only imagine it will do too little over too long a time frame and as with most legislation, will likely have all kinds of hidden subsidies.

Maine Today
By JOHN RICHARDSON, Staff Writer June 23, 2007

Maine's Republican U.S. senators praised the massive energy bill
adopted by the Senate just before midnight Thursday as a
historic step toward ending America's dependence on foreign oil
and addressing climate change.

Both Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins championed parts of the
bill, which was widely seen as a triumph for the Senate's
Democratic majority.

Snowe had worked for six years to increase fuel efficiency
standards for cars and trucks, and negotiated with fellow
lawmakers this week to help gather enough votes to overcome a
threatened filibuster.

"It is really a remarkable accomplishment," Snowe said. "It's been
an uphill battle for so long."

Collins, who also supported the fuel efficiency increases, added
an amendment to the bill to provide $275 million over five years
to support research into alternative fuels, such as biofuel that
University of Maine researchers are extracting from wood.

Collins also added an amendment -- and Snowe co-sponsored it
-- to provide $60 million over six years to study abrupt climate
change. The University of Maine also is involved in that research.

"UMaine will no doubt continue to play a pivotal role in the
future of these crucial environmental and energy issues," Collins
said in a news release.

The Senate voted 65-27 for the measure, which Snowe said
Friday represents a major shift in energy policy toward
conservation, efficiency and alternative fuels. "There is finally an
awakening," she said.

The nation's first new across-the-board fuel efficiency standards
since 1975 would require automakers to raise the fleet efficiency
standard by 10 mpg, to 35 mpg, by 2020.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., had fought to instead pass a more auto
industry-friendly fuel economy measure and said one reason for
his effort's failure was growing public concern about global
warming. He called the auto industry "a juicy target."

Snowe said she is confident the auto industry has the technology
to meet the fuel efficiency standards. "Unfortunately, the foreign
automakers are capturing the market because they have the
fuel-efficient vehicles," she said.

The House is expected to move its version of the bill forward as
soon as next week.

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at:

No comments: