President Prepares to Sign Energy Bill

Cindy Zimmerman

President George W. Bush is expected to sign the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 into law on Wednesday, after passage of the Senate bill by a vote of 314 to 100 in the House today.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the bill “groundbreaking in what it will do.” The bill makes the first statutory increase in fuel economy standards in 32 years. By the year 2020 cars, light trucks and SUVs must average 35 miles per gallon. It also requires 36-billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels to be incorporated into gasoline by 2022. There’s also a new mandate for biodiesel, requiring up to a billion gallons of annual usage by 2012.

Ethanol industry leaders are excited about the potential the bill’s passage creates for future ethanol sources. Jeff Broin, CEO of POET, said, “Passage of this Act will also hasten the development of cellulosic ethanol. An expanded RFS gives confidence to companies like ours who are making a sizable investment in cellulosic ethanol. With the market in place, our industry can do even more to improve the environment, develop rural economies and lessen our country’s dependence on foreign oil.”

President Bush plans to sign the bill into law during a ceremony at the Energy Department Wednesday morning.