Bush sets deadline for energy bill; negotiations under way

| 7/20/2005

A comprehensive energy bill – the first of its kind in five years – has passed both chambers of Congress and is being negotiated in a conference committee.

President Bush asked for a final version by Aug. 1, barring delays that might be created by his nomination for the Supreme Court. The Senate passed its $14 billion version of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 on June 28. The House approved its version of the bill in April, which called for spending $8 billion.

The legislation contains a number of measures that could affect the trucking industry.

Sen. Christopher Bond, R-MO, and Sen. Carl Levin, D-MI, led the opposition to SA902, which would have increased non-passenger vehicle fuel economy by 6.5 miles per gallon and 12.5 miles per gallon for four-wheelers during the next 11 years. Instead, the two senators proposed and passed an amendment that keeps auto standards under National Highway Traffic Safety Administration authority.

Under another amendment sponsored by Sen. George Voinovich, R-OH, truck owners could receive part of up to $1 billion in funding to replace their older trucks, or retrofit them to meet emissions standards.

The bill also includes a provision to increase the length of daylight-saving time, which currently begins on the first Sunday of April and ends on the last Sunday of October. The amendment would push the beginning date back to the first Sunday of March and the ending date to last Sunday of November.

– By Aaron Ladage, staff writer