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Activism

House Gives America An Oil Change In Energy Policy

After a hefty long debate over offshore drilling and new energy policies, the House passed the ever unpopular Comprehensive American Energy Security & Consumer Protection Act. The bill which will open up new areas of the country to oil drilling, but it also comes with increased support for renewables. The bill – weighing in at 290 pages (PDF) –  was not formally introduced until 9:45pm on Monday night, but Pelosi had released an outline of it early last week.

“The energy bill puts us onto that path of independence by having a comprehensive legislation which is the result of a bipartisan compromise in favor of sweeping innovation solutions for America’s energy future,” said Pelosi in a press conference today. “It is imperative that we are energy independent, so we can enhance the prospect for a great future of renewables and creating good paying jobs.”

The bill passed in the House by a vote of 236-189, with ten Republican’s supporting the bill and thirteen Democrats opposing it. It includes measures to “extend the tax credits for renewables, curb energy speculation, establish a national renewable electricity standard, release 10 percent of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, repeal subsidies to oil companies, and force oil companies to explore on the land already under lease (“use it or lose it”).” It also comes with provisions on efficiency and public transit. And there are even incentives for “clean coal.”

The act allows drilling 100 miles off the Atlantic coast and Florida’s Gulf coast, but that buffer zone could be reduced if a state’s government allows. It will also let state’s decide on whether or not to permit oil-shale development on federal lands within their borders. Here are some videos from the floor debate:

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Rep. Markey: “This is a very simple debate. The Republicans are very upset that the Democrats are going to take the oil companies and make them pay taxes to the American people when they drill on the land owned by the American people…Democrats are saying America needs an oil change.”

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Rep. Miller: “Americans understand the problem: Our nation is addicted to oil, we’re paying record prices to heat and cool their homes and drive their cars and trucks, and global warming is a real, serious and growing problem. Meanwhile, oil companies are making more money than ever before.”

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Rep. Inslee: “If we were having this debate in the 1800’s, some people would be arguing we need to keep whale oil. But we’re in transition – now is a chance for America to revolutionize the world of clean energy.”

Now it’s the Senate’s turn to vote, where even if such legislation does pass the White House has already threatened a veto.




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