What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Oil & Gas Industry : CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) amendment to reduce American oil usage by 2.5 million barrels-per-day by 2016, a 7 million barrels-per-day by 2026 and 10 million barrels-per-day by 2031/On adoption of the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 209)
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CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) amendment to reduce American oil usage by 2.5 million barrels-per-day by 2016, a 7 million barrels-per-day by 2026 and 10 million barrels-per-day by 2031/On adoption of the amendment
senate Roll Call 209     Jun 12, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment to an energy bill. The energy bill would require a 2.5 million barrel-per-day reduction in oil consumption by 2016, a 7 million barrel-per-day reduction by 2026 and a 10 million barrel-per-day reduction by 2031.

The amendment was proposed by Sens. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) to legislation to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by increasing fuel-economy standards for vehicles and mandating the use of 15 billion gallons of ethanol annually by 2015. The underlying bill would also encourage research on carbon-sequestration (keeping carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere and thus preventing it from contributing to climate change), mandate that the federal government get 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015 and require the State Department to pursue alliances with both energy-consuming and energy-producing nations.

Rising to support his amendment, Lieberman said, "We all know America is a nation addicted to oil and that addiction is hurting us and our people in many ways. It is saddling consumers with high gas and oil and other fuel prices. It is compromising our foreign policy. It is diminishing the quality of our environment."

Lieberman said that the reductions called for in the underlying legislation were expressed in terms of gasoline consumption, not oil consumption. "The problem," he said, "is gasoline usage can be reduced by increasing the use of diesel, but diesel is also made from oil, and oil is the substance to which we are addicted, with all the negative consequences I have described."

If converted to the amount of oil required to produce it, the gasoline savings goal in H.R. 6 would amount to a 20 percent reduction in projected U.S. oil consumption by 2030, Lieberman said. The oil savings requirement in his amendment would result in a 35 percent reduction in projected oil consumption by 2030.

The amendment would accomplish this by requiring the executive branch to institute federal regulations implementing the goals outlined in the amendment. "So we are setting goals," Lieberman said, "and we are asking the executive branch to come up with programs to show how existing statutory authority and regulatory authority they have can be used to achieve these goals."

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and other Republican critics of the amendment blasted it on the grounds that it abdicated too much to the executive branch. Domenici called it "outsourcing" legislative authority, and said it was unnecessary because the underlying legislation to which Lieberman was seeking to amend already contained specific targets and ways to reduce oil consumption.

"We don't need the goals, because we have already -- the amendment they offer sets goals and then directs the administration to figure out how to get where they are supposed to go. I think that is sort of like outsourcing," Domenici said. "That is outsourcing of the legislature duties and responsibilities to the executive, and then praising the bill because it tells the executive they have to reach these goals and save all of this oil. Well, if it were that easy, ever since we found out we were greatly dependent upon foreign oil, it would have been a cinch."

Despite significant opposition among Republicans, 15 ended up voting for the amendment, joining a unanimous Democratic caucus. The amendment was adopted by a vote of 63 to 30, and thus a bill to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels was amended to include a requirement that the executive branch implement a plan to reduce oil usage by 2.5 million barrels-per-day by 2016, 7 million barrels-per-day by 2026 and 10 million barrels-per-day by 2031.

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