House Passes Energy Bill, CAFE and RPS Intact

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The House of Representatives, after a long and arduous battle, have voted to approve the Energy Bill. The bill, which the Senate will hopefully pass soon, includes the first increase in the corporate average fuel economy standards (CAFE) in decades, raising the bar to 35 MPG by 2020. Also notable, especially for the cleantech industry, was the inclusion of a mandate through the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that would require utilities to generate 15 percent of their power from renewable sources. More good news for the renewable sector came in the form of $21 billion in new taxes, mostly on big oil.

This bill has been a long time coming and looks to actually have some teeth in terms of addressing climate change and our fossil fuel addiction. But it’s far from law. It still has to go through the Senate, which will surely take issue with a mandated RPS and hefty new taxes. And the bill in its current form could very well earn a veto from President Bush, though The New York Times reported on a “defiant” House “brushing aside a veto threat from the White House” with today’s legislation.

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