Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Written December 10, 2007: Sound Familiar?


Democratic leaders in the Senate are planning a vote on a retooled energy bill late next week after they failed to muster enough support yesterday to prevent a filibuster of ambitious legislation passed by the House on Thursday.
The Senate voted 53 to 42 yesterday to close debate, falling short of the 60 votes needed to permit a vote on passage even though four Democratic presidential candidates rushed back from the campaign trail to bolster the measure's chances. All but three of senators who blocked a vote on the bill were Republicans; five Republicans joined with Democrats in favor of closing debate.
The failure to close debate was a victory for the major oil companies, Southeastern utilities and coal-mining firms that had opposed the legislation. One of the companies most opposed to the measure was Southern Co., the holding company for GeorgiaAlabama and Mississippi utilities. The firm spent $7.1 million on in-house lobbying efforts and an additional $1.1 million for outside lobbying firms on energy and environmental issues in the first half of this year.

On Thursday, the House had brushed aside a veto threat from [then] President Bush and approved an energy bill that would raise vehicle mileage standards for the first time in 32 years, set a quota of 36 billion gallons a year for the use of ethanol and other biofuels, and require increased use of renewable energy sources to generate electricity. The bill would also raise $21 billion in revenue over 10 years, largely through ending tax breaks for the nation's biggest oil companies, while extending tax incentives for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.

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