06 Aug 2001 Energy Plan Passes U.S. House, by Gretchen Randall
BACKGROUND: After much heated debate, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a comprehensive energy bill. While President Bush had to compromise on some issues, Democrats voted with Republicans to allow drilling in 2000 acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Corporate Average Fuel Standards (CAFE) were increased but by a smaller margin than amendments sought. Tax incentives were also included for oil and gas exploration, nuclear energy and clean coal technology
TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Action on this bill was an important step in securing our nation’s security by allowing for more domestic oil production.
THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: This is the first time in nearly 20 years that we have increased the mileage requirement for light trucks and SUVs. In another display of bi-partisanship, the bill allows for 2000 acres or one ten thousandth of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to be open to drilling, while maintaining the rest of it as is. This is a wonderful example of working together to satisfy the needs of all Americans.
DISCUSSION: Labor unions encouraged Democrats to vote for oil exploration in ANWR because of the 700,000 jobs that the Teamsters special assistant on energy, Jerry Hood, claimed it would provide. Hood is also reported in T he Washington Times to have said that polls show that more than 50 percent of respondents don’t know what ANWR is. Other unions backing oil exploration in ANWR include the International Brotherhood of Carpenter and Joiners and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.
The United Auto Workers Union (UAW) helped defeat an amendment that would have increased fuel efficiency standards to 27.5 miles per gallon for light trucks and SUVs from the current 20.5 mpg. Instead, language in the bill requires the auto industry to change designs so the vehicles save 5 billion gallons of gasoline between 2004 and 2010. UAW claimed the higher standards would have cost jobs. Lighter weight vehicles have contributed to more highway fatalities, as noted by the recent National Academy of Sciences report on CAFE standards.