Udall: Energy bill may include ‘trifecta’ of renewable provisions | AspenTimes.com

Udall: Energy bill may include ‘trifecta’ of renewable provisions

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Colorado Congressman Mark Udall called a federal energy bill that likely will include a “trifecta” of renewable energy provisions a big step toward cutting reliance on foreign energy.

A compromise announced Friday on the energy bill includes provisions to require increases in vehicle fuel efficiency, the amount of power coming from renewable energy sources and use of ethanol for motor fuel.

“That’s a trifecta,” said Udall by phone as he waited to fly to Washington Monday.

The House is expected to vote on the bill Thursday, followed by the Senate.

It was unclear whether the compromise includes House measures restricting oil and gas leasing on public land on top of the Roan Plateau in western Colorado and prohibiting the use of federal funds to prepare final regulations for a commercial oil shale leasing program or conduct commercial lease sales.

Tara Trujillo, Udall’s spokeswoman, said the congressman’s office wasn’t able to confirm the status of the two provisions.

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It was hazy in November whether the renewable energy standard in the House version of the bill would make it into the final measure reconciling differences with the Senate.

House Democrats reached a compromise after Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., a supporter of the auto industry, agreed to back a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency.

As of Monday evening, the Senate energy bill included the fuel economy provision; the House didn’t.

The Senate rejected the renewable energy standard passed by the House. It would require investor-owned utilities get at least 15 percent of their power from renewable sources and energy efficiency by 2020.

“This is exciting and it shows, if we pass these measures, that the country is serious about creating a new energy economy,” said Udall, a Democrat.

He said he believes that the example of Colorado and other states with renewable energy standards was key in gaining the support of House Republicans who have seen the benefits in their own states.

Greg Schnacke, president and chief executive of Americans for American Energy, called the compromise and the earlier bills disappointing.

“This is an anti-American domestic energy bill at its heart,” said Schnacke, whose Golden-based group advocates development of domestic energy, oil and natural gas.

Schnacke, who is in Washington to monitor the proposal, criticized the compromise as an “array of taxes, regulations all driving this country to less American-produced energy.”

A package of nearly $16 billion in new taxes on the oil industry to generate revenue to support renewable energy sources and conservation wasn’t expected to stay in the bill.

President Bush has threatened to veto the bill.