In what lawmakers are calling "historic" and some environmental groups are calling "close but not enough," President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. How much independence and how much security will this new law bring us?
Key provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act include:
- Mandates an increase in the corporate fuel economy standard (CAFE) to 35 miles per gallon in 2020 for new cars and trucks with no exceptions.
- Increases the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFs) at 9 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2008 with a progressive increase to 36 billion gallons by 2022. (The RFS sets annual requirements for the amount of renewable fuels produced and used in motor vehicles.)
- Mandates an increase in homegrown biofuels throguh processes that are environemntally sound and limit the emissions of greenhouse gases and damages to air and water quality.
- Sets new efficiency standards for appliances and includes a provision that allows states to set their own standards if the Department of Energy takes more than 2 years to finalize new federal standards.
- Includes incentives for the research and development of solar, wave, geothermal, and hydrogen energy.
- Authorizes a nationwide assessment of geological formations capable of sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2) and includes grants to demonstrate technologies for large scale capture of CO2 from industrial sources.
- Promotes U.S. energy exports in clean and efficient technologies to developing countries.
- Creates a training program to promote the development of "green collar" jobs.
- Promotes transportation-related actions such as short-sea shipping as an alternative to land-based freight transportation to achieve cuts in energy use and carbon emissions in the transportation sector.
- Creates a "smart" electric grid to modernize the U.S. electricity supply.
Environmental groups, such as the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), see a "good news, bad news" situation. While praising such actions as the increase in CAFE standards, NRDC decries the provisions that were cut that would have allowed consumers to get 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources and that would require industry to pay more taxes.
Click here for the text of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.