Veto threatens energy bill

The House of Representatives passed an energy bill in early August that would chuck the incandescent light bulb, invest more in renewables and less in oil and require power companies to get 15 percent of their energy from renewable energy sources. The bill passed 241-172 with 26 Republicans in favor and 9 Democrats opposed.

President Bush vows to veto it.

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, calls it “a fluff bill,” while Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says it is “the ambitious first phase in what will be a series of revolutionary actions for energy independence.”

Here are some key points of the 786-page bill:

It would repeal a 2005 bill that gave $16 billion-worth of tax breaks for oil industries. Some of the money would instead be used for renewable energy projects.

Investor-owned utilities would be required to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, hydro and geothermal energy.

The sale of 100-watt incandescent light bulbs would be outlawed by 2012.

The bill sets new requirements for energy efficiency in appliances and government buildings.

It includes billions of dollars in incentives for alternative fuels production, new research on capturing carbon emissions from refineries and coal-burning power plants and funds for “green” worker training.

Unlike the Senate energy bill passed in June, the House bill doesn’t include an increase in vehicle fuel-efficiency standards. Environmentalists say such a measure should be added to reduce significantly greenhouse gases.

“By combining a strong renewable energy standard with the Senate’s fuel economy improvements, this Congress can make a serious down payment on preventing the worst impacts of global warming,” says Karen Wayland, legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Republican opponents say the House’s energy bill unfairly singles out the oil industry and ignores the need for more domestic oil, natural gas and expansion of coal use. They say the bill provides no new supplies of energy, would escalate fuel prices, and provide billions of dollars for Democrats’ pet projects.