Following up on my earlier post about John Kerry and his stance on energy issues and CAFE Standards, the Senate Finance Committee today accepted several key provisions introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) to the energy tax package. Kerry’s plan will roll back tax breaks for big oil companies, saving taxpayers $9.5 billion during the next 10 years. His proposals for tax credits for energy efficient homes and buildings, plug in hybrids cars, and renewable fuel production were also agreed to by the Finance Committee.
The Committee also accepted a Kerry amendment to demand higher environmental standards on liquid coal facilities. The amendment mandates a 20% life cycle greenhouse gas reduction requirement to liquid coal facilities that receive the alternative fuels tax credit.
“Ending big tax breaks for the oil companies is a huge step forward in solving our energy crisis,” Senator Kerry said. “It’s just not right that big executives are riding the gravy train while Americans can’t afford heating and cooling bills and suffer historic pain at the pump. We aren’t going to solve our energy crisis until we start getting smart about efficiency and new fuels, and providing incentives for greening and production of renewable fuels will move the ball forward.”
“Coal to liquids hurts our efforts to adopt clean, new, renewable sources of energy that are good for our environment and our future,” Kerry added. “My amendment will help curb greenhouse gas emissions from liquid coal facilities. We can burn coal in a clean way, while keeping jobs in our country and adding new ones. This legislation is a good place to start.”
A summary of the Kerry provisions is below:
– Modifications to Section 199: Rolls back royalties for major integrated oil companies. Excludes gross receipts derived from sale, exchange or other disposition of oil, natural gas or any product thereof from the domestic production deduction.
– Greenhouse Gas Reduction Requirement for liquid coal facilities: The committee adopted an amendment proposed by Kerry which attaches a 20% life cycle greenhouse gas reduction requirement to liquid coal facilities that receive the alternative fuels tax credit.
– Cellulosic alcohol production credit: Creates a new production tax credit of 50 cents per gallon for up to 60 million gallons of cellulosic fuel production in a taxable year.
– Plug-in hybrid vehicle credit: Establishes a new credit for each qualified plug-in vehicle in service and a credit for plug-in vehicle conversions. The base amount of the credit is $2,500 and can be increased depending on battery capacity.
– Extension of alternative vehicle credit: Extends the advanced lean burn technology vehicle credit through 2012 and through 2016 for qualified fuel cell vehicles.
– Energy efficiency credits – Extend Act: Introduced by Kerry, and Senators Snowe and Feinstein, these provisions extend tax credits for existing and new energy efficient homes and commercial buildings.
Finally the WaPo makes a case for why the “the Senate energy bill’s more stringent CAFE measure must prevail over the Pryor-Bond-Levin amendment.” Michaeldvg has a guest post up today on his blog, from the Auto Alliance who are of course, supporters of the Pryor-Bond-Levin amendment.
According to environmental advocates, three senators stand in the way of that possibly happening: Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Sen. James Webb (D-Va.). We did our whip count yesterday, and here’s what we learned. Mr. Warner told us he “has decided to vote against the amendment.” Mr. Webb said he “is inclined” to support it. That leaves Ms. Mikulski, whose office didn’t return our call or e-mail. If she’s still on the fence, she should follow Mr. Warner’s wise lead.