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Energy Policy Act of 2005

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, today I joined my colleagues in voting for the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which passed the Senate by a vote 85 to 12. This legislation is not perfect, but it is a bipartisan framework that offers the basis of a comprehensive and balanced plan to address the energy needs of our country.

This bill takes important steps in shifting our dependence away from foreign oil. It spurs the development of renewable sources--biodiesel, wind, solar, and geothermal. Importantly, the Senate-passed bill contains a national renewable portfolio standard, requiring utilities to generate at least 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. The legislation also requires that we quadruple the amount of renewable fuels, such as ethanol, used annually in gasoline. Furthermore, this bill advances conservation by promoting energy-efficient homes and appliances, fuel cell vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and alternative fuel vehicles.

Among my greatest disappointments, however, is the Senate's failure to adopt the McCain-Lieberman climate stewardship amendment to establish an effective domestic program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the Kerry-Biden resolution to return the United States to its leadership role in the global deliberations on climate change. We have to be creative and to recognize the many different ways we can begin to make real progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of stabilizing the still-growing human impact on our climate. By not adopting these amendments, the Senate missed the chance to get back on the right side of history.

Although I supported passage of this bill before us today, I have grave concerns about what may be brought back to the Senate after final negotiations with the House of Representatives. If certain provisions in the House-passed Energy bill, including those that permit leasing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas development, are in the conference report, I will not support passage of the bill. If the conference report steals from these new investments in renewable energy and diverts even more taxpayer dollars to oil companies, when this week oil is at $60 a barrel, I will not support passage of the bill. We have seen comprehensive energy policy legislation doomed in the past when those negotiating the final bill have sacrificed the long-term interests that we all share for shortsighted special interests. I urge my colleagues to preserve the progress toward energy independence promised in the bipartisan bill passed today.

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