The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 is an underwhelming approach to sustainable energy policy. The bill provides billions of dollars in new corporate subsidies for coal and ethanol. Further, it fails to establish the strong energy efficiency and renewable energy standards that America needs for lower-cost, clean energy. The legislation breaks with recent Congressional practice of showering oil companies with subsidies, but Congress could have done more to provide resources to assist working families in procuring renewable energy systems and energy efficiency investments, as well as to reduce pain at the pump by demanding truly mandatory increases in vehicle fuel economy.
The legislation authorizes over $1.5 billion to encourage carbon sequestration, an unproven and risky plan to stuff millions of tons of toxic carbon dioxide under America’s communities and somehow store it safely for thousands of years. Coal companies and promoters of controversial coal-to-liquid projects stand to financially benefit from these subsidies.
The bill improved automobile fuel economy standards to only 35 miles per gallon by 2020 (just two years ago Congress proposed 40 miles per gallon by 2020). We could and should expect much better than 35 mpg 13 years from now. Automakers have improved fuel efficiency by 30% in the last 20 years, but they have devoted those gains to weight, performance, and luxury add-ons instead of fuel economy.
From Bill to Law
The Energy Independence and Security Act passed out of the House of Representatives without amendment in January 2007. When the Act was introduced in the Senate in June 2007, it was combined with a different Senate bill (S. 1419). View Public Citizen's analysis of the Senate bill. This amended version passed the Senate on June 21, 2007. After further amendments and negotiation between the House and Senate, a revised bill passed both houses. President Bush signed it into law on December 19, 2007.