The Senate passed an energy bill that Senator Bernie Sanders helped shape as a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "While this energy bill is not as strong as I would like, it is certainly a major step forward in breaking our dependence on fossil fuels and moving us toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy," Sanders said.
"The sweeping energy legislation…would mandate the first substantial change in the nation's vehicle fuel-efficiency law since 1975 despite opposition from auto companies," the Washington Post reported. According to The Wall Street Jounral, the bill would "increase fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles, provide tax incentives for development of alternative fuels and require far greater use of ethanol and other so-called renewable automotive fuels.'
In addition to raising fuel economy standards, the bill includes a Sanders' proposal to provide block grants to states and local governments for energy efficiency projects.
Another provision Sanders added to the bill in committee would support energy-saving projects at colleges and universities.
The bill also includes a job-training provision to train workers for green-collar jobs, language the Senate adopted on June 12 in an amendment by Sanders and Senate Hillary Clinton. A study last year by the National Renewable Energy Lab identified the shortage of training as "a leading non-technical barrier to renewable energy and energy efficiency growth."
"I am very excited about both the economic opportunities in front of us and the possibility of Vermont playing a leadership role in breaking our dependence on fossil fuel, moving towards energy efficiency, moving to sustainable energy," Sanders said.
The bill also would:
- Raise fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon. Automakers are now required to meet an average of 27.5 mpg for cars and 22.2 mpg for SUVs and small trucks.
- Require that half of the new cars manufactured be able to run on 85 percent ethanol blends by 2015.
- Authorize grants, loan guarantees and other assistance to promote research into fuel efficient vehicles, including hybrids, advanced diesel and battery technologies.
- Require production of 36 billion gallons a year of ethanol, as a substitute for gasoline, by 2022, from corn, prairie grass and wood chips.
To listen to Senator Sanders discuss the bill, click here: http://demradio.senate.gov/actualities/sanders/sanders070622.mp3