Senate Democrats on Energy Independence

As a companion to the post about the House Democrats plan on transportation and energy, there is the Senate Democrats plan on Energy Independence by 2020. With the Senate now definitely being run by Democrats, we might as well get a head start on what the Senate Democrats think about energy policy.

I have to say that as a statement of principles, I like this better than the biofuel heavy House Democratic Plan. It’s certainly a broader approach that looks at many more pieces of the energy picture.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Chair, Energy Independence 2020

Reduce Burdens on Consumers and the Environment

  • Prevent oil company price gouging, market manipulation, and disaster profiteering
  • Increase energy market transparency and consumer choice at the pump
  • Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to cover increased household energy costs

  • Provide car buyers with accurate fuel economy information
  • Protect pristine public lands from short-sighted oil and gas exploitation
  • Enhance funding for weatherization and low-income energy assistance in all climates

Launch an Apollo Project for Energy

  • Free the US from foreign oil by 2020 by supporting research, development, and production of alternative energy sources.

Diversify and Expand Our Energy Supplies

  • Establish a national electricity standard that requires greater use of renewable energy

  • Enhance incentives for energy production from solar, wind, and geothermal
  • Increase dramatically the production of domestically grown biofuels
  • Increase environmentally friendly extraction of oil and gas from existing domestic sources
  • Encourage construction of the Alaskan natural gas pipeline
  • Support the development of a hydrogen economy
  • Promote deployment of advanced clean coal technology with carbon capture and storage

Improve Energy Security and Reduce Price Volatility

  • Create geographically diverse strategic gasoline and jet fuel reserves

  • Streamline fuel specifications while maintaining state clean air protections
  • Encourage the development of a smarter and more distributed electricity system

Reduce Demand for Oil and Natural Gas

  • Lower petroleum use in the federal fleet and improve government conservation efforts

  • Provide consumers with more fuel efficient vehicle choices
  • Develop renewable substitutes to replace natural gas use in the petrochemical industry
  • Improve infrastructure and electricity options for hybrids and plug-in hybrids
  • Increase mass transit use and incentivize transit-oriented development
  • Improve air traffic management to shorten flight times
  • Reduce tractor trailer fuel needs by improving aerodynamics, logistics, and idling

Invest in Energy Efficiency and American Jobs

  • Update efficiency standards for appliances and small engines

  • Invest in math and science education for the next generation of energy engineers
  • Ensure access to worker training and retraining in advanced energy technologies
  • Leverage trade relationships to maintain competitiveness of energy-intensive U.S. manufacturers

One big missing piece here is any mention of nuclear, which I think should be at least a piece of the puzzle.

House Democrats Plan On Energy & Transportation

November 8, 2006

John Dingell, D-Michigan,
Ranking Democrat on Energy and Commerce Committee

With the Democrats now back in charge of the US House of Representatives, I thought it would be interesting to review their latest working document on energy and transportation policy. Back in July, a group of House Democrats released their vision of an energy and transportation policy to reduce dependence on oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Leading House Democrats, including

  • Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD),

  • Rep. John Dingell (MI), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Democrat,
  • Rep. Jim Oberstar, Transportation Committee Ranking Democrat,
  • Rep. Mark Udall (CO), co-chair of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus,
  • Rep. Stephanie Herseth (SD), co-chair of the House Democratic Rural Working Group and member of the House Agriculture Committee,
  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer, member of the House Transportation Committee and Task Force on Livable Communities, and
  • Rep. Adam Schiff, member of the House International Relations Committee and co-chair/co-founder of the Democratic Study Group on National Security,

released the following statements today after unveiling a comprehensive energy independence bill entitled the “PROGRESS Act.”

So what’s inside the Progress Act?

There are five major components:

  1. Establishing a National Energy Security Commission that would bring together government, industry and academic leaders to develop national goals that respect regional energy solutions and develop recommendations that Congress would have to act upon under expedited rules.

  2. Establishing a New Manhattan Center for High Efficiency Vehicles that would create an advanced vehicle efficiency consortium and commit a minimum of $500 million a year for ten years to federal alternative fuels and vehicle technology programs in the federal government.
  3. Establishing a National Biofuels Infrastructure Development Program that would reimburse private sector partners to share the costs of investing in the wholesale and retail biofuels pumps, tanks, and other related distribution equipment.
  4. Promoting Transit Use & Developing a Rail Infrastructure Program that would create a stimulus package of infrastructure investment that upgrades the pipeline for biofuels – the freight rail system – in order to get an affordable and reliable supply of biofuels to market.
  5. Ensuring Federal Government Leadership in the Use of the Alternatives to Oil by increasing the use of alternative fuels in federal and state fleets, developing biofuel plants in every region of the country, and speeding development of standards that are needed to promote alternative fuels use.

Thoughts from our dear readers?