Energy Bill Moves to House-Senate Conference
— The U.S. Senate has completed its work on S.10, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, according to the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA). The bill now goes to a House-Senate Conference Committee, where several issues will need to be resolved, including a House provision that provides liability protection for MTBE producers and a Senate provision that mandates refiners to produce 8 billion gallons of renewable fuels, mainly ethanol and biodiesel, by 2012, while the House bill mandates 5 billion gallons. Also yet to be resolved is Senate language requiring that 10 percent of electricity produced by 2020 come from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal, according NAFA.S.10 includes revisions to fleet purchase mandates in the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Fleets would earn credit for purchase of hybrids under an amendment offered by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). The cap on the use of biodiesel would be lifted under an amendment offered by Sen. James Talent (R-MO). Efforts by NAFA and others seeking additional amendments to allow fleets to earn credits for other measures that reduce petroleum use were not adopted after opposition came from manufacturers and others. The Senate bill does include an alternative compliance provision that is considered by many NAFA members to be unworkable.The U.S. Senate also adopted an amendment to the energy bill to reduce diesel emissions. The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2005, sponsored by Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), will distribute more than $1 billion over five years to establish voluntary national grant and loan programs for diesel emission reduction projects and programs that improve air quality and protect public health. The bill will help areas come into attainment for the new air quality standards, reported NAFA.