Senate Debates Energy Bill
Mid-year 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The act—H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey bill—uses the Farm Bill definition of renewable biomass, which was written by the Forest Landowners Association (FLA), in its Renewable Electricity Standard provision. This definition uses the broad language that includes wood, which is the one sought by non-industrial private forest landowners. This House bill would also repair the definition of renewable biomass to include wood in the Renewable Fuels Standard of the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007. However, this bill also carried a “cap-and-trade” climate feature, against which Americans have reacted strongly.
The energy and climate debate then shifted to the Senate, where a “climate fix” was also being discussed. After experiencing much consternation from voters, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has given the authors of the Senate’s energy legislation (Senators Kerry and Graham) until Memorial Day to find the 60 votes needed to pass a bill in the Senate, or the climate portion will be stripped out of the proposed energy legislation. At this point, it appears that cap-and-trade will not be a part of any Senate energy bill.
FLA will continue to monitor the energy debate to ensure that our members’ interests are properly represented.