This article is written by Dani Sevilla, a student activist working with the National Environmental Trust to ensure the public is made aware of the importance of the 2007 Energy Bill. The energy bill under debate currently has the possibility to make some major changes in this countries environmental policy. The standards that are set up by the bill for fuel efficiency and renewable electricity standards are sufficiently aggressive to make a big difference in out planet’s future. Some of the major elements include a call for 15% renewable electricity standard by 2020 which would guarantee the growth of renewable, clean energy and increase the number of jobs in this environmentally friendly sector of the economy.
Another key factor in the bill is the Senate proposed 35 mpg fuel efficiency standard (also by 2020) which several lobbyists including the Auto Alliance are trying to curtail. These groups want to modify the bill to demand only a standard of only 32 mpg fuel efficiency by 2022. This may seem like a paltry change but over time the numbers add up. This is clear when we look at the real consequences of this drop in fuel efficiency standards. The amount of barrels of oil saved per day under the auto lobby proposal will be 500,000 whereas the Senate’s fuel economy compromise will save 1.2 million.
The House should agree to include the Senate’s increase in fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 in the final bill. This language is a carefully-crafted compromise that was supported by everyone from Trent Lott to Ted Kennedy. Far from destroying auto jobs, UCS estimates that the Senate provisions would create 22,300 jobs in the auto industry alone by 2020 – and a total of 170,800 jobs by 2020.
With this being said it is no wonder that a group of auto workers and dealers have broken from the auto industry and declared that they do support the 35 mpg fuel efficiency standard. These men and women are the ones who are out their designing, building, and selling the cars and they say it can be done. You can find more information about their campaign on their website: www.35mpgby2020.com.
Adam Lee the third generation car dealer who is leading this group says, “Without a 35 mile-per-gallon mandate, I’m afraid, global warming and our dependence on foreign oil will continue to get much worse in the long run. And, in the short run, I’m afraid I’ll be stuck with a lot full of cars that no one wants to buy or even worse: This country will no longer have an American auto industry.”
This bill has a chance to make some big changes if Congress just stands firm in favor of the environment against the pressures of outside self interested forces. I believe that the American people are growing more aware of the problems of climate change, and limited natural resources everyday and this country’s environmental policy should reflect this. We can all do a little to help by making sure our representatives know how we feel. The petition to support this energy bill is available at: www.energybill2007.org. Please take a moment to help these standards get passed! The vote on this bill is going to take place around Thanksgiving. There is still time to tell Congress you support it!
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