While renewable energy tax credits are withering away in the Senate, the Democrats have unveiled a compromise piece of legislation to the House of Representatives which aims to increase the amount of renewable energy used in the United States, lower gas and energy prices for consumers, and would allow offshore oil drilling provided it was done at least 50 miles offshore.
You can read the full text of the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act if you like (it's 290 pages of Congress-speak) , but here are the main points in the issue areas which this legislative package covers:Renewable Energy
Extends and expands renewable energy tax incentives and includes tax incentives for plug-in vehicles.
Requires utilities to generate 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and includes a provision that up to 4% of this target to be met through energy efficiency efforts.
Creates a Strategic Renewable Energy Reserve to invest in clean, renewable energy resources and alternative fuels, promote new energy technology, and increase efficiency and energy conservation efforts.
Energy Efficiency & Public Transportation
New residential and commercial buildings will have to be 30% more energy efficient by 2010 and 50% by 2020.
Provides incentives to financial institutions to provide lower interest loans for those people who build, buy or remodel their homes to improve energy efficiency.
Reduces transit fares for commuter rail systems and busses, expands service through awarding of federal grants.
Lowering Consumer Costs
Ensures that oil companies pay their fair share of royalties on "flawed leases" made in 1998 and 1999. Oil companies holding 70% of leases made in these years in the Gulf of Mexico pay no royalties; the estimated royalties that should be paid amount to $15 billion.
Repeals tax loopholes for the Big Five oil companies; money gained from this will pay for investment in renewable energy.
Releases 10% of the oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and replaces in later with heavier crude oil. This is aimed at bringing down the price consumers pay for fuel.
Takes aggressive steps in reforming the Mineral Management Service, the agency which collects royalties from oil and natural gas companies.
Expanding Domestic Fossil Fuel Production
Permits oil drilling offshore at a distance of 50-100 miles if states allow it; Permits offshore drilling past 100 miles on the outer continental shelf. National marine monuments and national marine sanctuaries are permanently withdrawn from oil and gas leasing.
Requires oil companies to use the 68 million acres of federal lands they already hold leases on.
Mandates annual lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, which holds more oil than ANWR and can be brought to market faster according to the bill's backers.
Incentivizes installing natural gas pumps at service station and homes, and requires gas stations owned by "Big Oil" to have at least one pump for "alternative fuels" such as natural gas or E-85 ethanol.
Increases investment in carbon capture and storage research and development.
via :: The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming
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