Democratic News

The energy conference continued its progress today, with major movement on two key issues: 1) agreement on a modest CAFE measure and 2) commencement of the great electricity debate 1) Staff negotiators brokered the CAFE compromise that Conferees adopted this morning. It will require that minivans, SUVs and pick-up trucks in model years 2006 through 2012 use at least 5 billion gallons less gasoline than the 2002 model year fleet. Staff negotiators also removed a provision in the Senate-passed bill that would have exempted pick-up trucks from future mandated increases in mileage standards, and dropped Senate bill language that would have required the government to consider the effects that higher mileage requirements would have on vehicle safety and autoworker jobs. (That latter provision would have made it harder for the Transportation Department to develop stricter fuel economy standards.) 2) Also today, the House made an offer to the Senate on electricity. That makes electricity the pending business before the conference. The Senate will consider the House offer and act on electricity/RPS when Conferees next muster. NOTES: Today marks the end of once-a-week conference meetings. With a Sept. 30 deadline nearing, the pace will quicken, with multiple-day meetings next week. Chairman Tauzin says he would like to meet next Wednesday and Thursday, both at 10:00 a.m., and that he wants next week’s agenda to include ethanol. Staff work is also intensifying. For example, the much anticipated tax walkthrough with Senate Finance and House Ways & Means will take place tomorrow. Staff also is working hard on the other remaining Tier I issues, including climate change and oil and gas/ANWR. There are a handful of Tier II issues, too, that are near resolution. # # #