Iowa Public Television


Bush Signs Energy Bill Into Law

posted on August 12, 2005

Hello, I'm Mark Pearson.

The Bush administration has been happy to talk about the economy in recent days, and this week was no exception.

*The government reports that attractive sales incentives from U.S. car-makers helped push retail sales higher in July, despite lackluster results at other retailers. *And, productivity in the American workforce also improved, as the second quarter pressure on labor costs eased a bit. Both are signs of an economy that's growing.

The man taking credit for that economic expansion was on vacation this week, but still taking part in some official business. Among the activities for President Bush was signing an energy bill that bodes well for the future of U.S. ethanol production.

Bush Signs Energy Bill Into Law

Over the past few years, the Bush administration repeatedly has called on Congress to pass a series of reforms of U.S. energy policy. Lawmakers put the finishing touches on a comprehensive energy bill last week.

Though he praised the legislation, Bush himself acknowledged that moving the U.S. towards affordable sources of energy is anything but a Sunday drive.

President Bush: "This bill is not going to solve our energy challenges overnight. Most of the serious problems such as high gasoline costs or rising dependence on foreign oil have developed over decades. Its going to take years of focused effort to alleviate those problems." (8:03)

The president signed the energy bill Monday in New Mexico, home of Republican Senator Pete Domenici (duh-MEN-a-chee) -- a key player in getting the measure through Congress.

Supporters of the bill claim the 1,700-page overhaul refocuses the nation's energy policies on promoting cleaner, alternative sources of fuel.

But critics called the measure a "gift to the energy industry" that does little to promote conservation.

Key provisions of the Energy Bill include:

Billions of dollars in subsidies for energy companies, including tax breaks and loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants, clean coal technology and wind energy. The subsidies to energy companies alone are expected to cost more than $14 billion over the next decade.

A mandate for refiners to use 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol annually by 2012 -- more than double the current annual production.

And, for consumers, tax credits for purchases of hybrid gasoline-electric cars and for making energy-conservation improvements in new and existing homes.

(slug: energy)

Factoring in revenue offsets, the energy bill is expected to cost the government $12.3 billion over the next decade. But the biggest provision for consumers and farmers alike, may be the increased ethanol mandate as crude oil prices hit record highs this week of $66 per barrel.

Tags: Congress energy policy George W. Bush government news reform