What: All Issues : Environment : Renewable Energy : CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) amendment that would authorize $500 million for fiscal 2008 through fiscal 2015 for the creation of a grant program to encourage the production of advanced biofuels and to study the environmental impacts of increased use of renewable fuels/On passage of the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 219)
 Who: All Members
[POW!]
 

To find out how your Members of Congress voted on this bill, use the form on the right.

CLEAN Energy Act (H.R. 6), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) amendment that would authorize $500 million for fiscal 2008 through fiscal 2015 for the creation of a grant program to encourage the production of advanced biofuels and to study the environmental impacts of increased use of renewable fuels/On passage of the amendment
senate Roll Call 219     Jun 20, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment to energy legislation aiming to reduce the country's reliance on fossil fuels that would authorize $500 million for the next seven years for the creation of a grant program within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to facilitate the production of advanced biofuels and to study the impacts the increased usage of such fuels would have on the environment.

Proposed by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), the amendment would require the EPA to submit two reports to Congress, one in 2010 and another in 2015, on the potential issues that may arise from the mandates to increase the use of biofuels in the underlying bill. The legislation to which Bingaman was seeking to amend would mandate the use of 15 billion gallons of ethanol annually by 2015.

Another part of Bingaman's amendment would allow the EPA to consider the impacts on groundwater quality when regulating fuel additives under the Clean Air Act. Overall, Bingaman's amendment would require the EPA to study the ways in which biofuels, fuel additives and other changes mandated in the underlying legislation would affect air quality, water quality, land-use patterns, deforestation rates, greenhouse gas emissions and the long-term sustainability of using biofuels.

"This is a consensus amendment on the part of those with interests in enhancing our energy security through increased use of renewable fuels in an environmentally responsible way," Bingaman said.

"What we learned when we dealt with MTBE, which was an additive in gasoline, was we were not prepared for any adverse impacts from MTBE," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). "We thought it was going to be the answer. As you know, MTBE permeated the water supplies in many States. We thought it was going to clean up the air and, guess what, it did. But it created havoc with our water quality."

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) rose to oppose the amendment on some jurisdictional grounds with regard to which Senate committees and federal agencies would oversee the work. He also questioned the way the amendment was drafted, which in his view would have the EPA use the Clean Air Act to regulate water quality.

Furthermore, Inhofe said that he doesn't get as "excited about" many of the provisions of the amendment as Boxer and Bingaman do, such as having the federal government study land-use patterns, which he said was more appropriate for the local and state governments to do.

Inhofe also expressed concern that the biofuels provisions would increase the price of corn, which is made into ethanol. "Although high corn prices might be good for corn farmers, it is harmful for livestock and poultry industries," Inhofe said.

Democratic support for the amendment was unanimous, and 10 Republicans joined them in passing Bingaman's proposal. Thus, on a vote of 58 to 34, the Senate voted to attach an amendment authorizing $500 million over the next 7 years for the federal government to promote and study the environmental impacts of the increased use of biofuels to a bill aiming to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels.

Issue Areas:

Find your Member of
Congress' votes

Select by Name