The US House of Representatives has passed a new energy bill which would make a radical difference to the way American companies operate. Under the terms of the bill utility companies would be required to generate 15% of energy from renewable sources – including biofuels, wind and solar energy, which would have a huge impact on oil-dependent America. It would also put an end to the “Hummer tax loophole” which gives businesses incentives to buy gas-guzzling SUVs.
Unsurprisingly, the bill is opposed by President George Bush and by the powerful oil lobby – the oil industry has a lot to lose with approximately $16bn of annual subsidies and tax breaks threatened. The legislation still has to go through the Republican controlled Senate, often accused of being in the pocket of the oil industry, and be merged with other energy measures before it would become law.
This bill illustrates tension between the Democrat-controlled Congress and the Senate; we reported last week on clashes over water policy. The oil lobby is among the most wealthy and powerful in the States. The legislation has already come under fire from the White House, who threatened a veto on Friday, claiming that it failed to address high energy costs or promote domestic energy production.