The United States
House of Representatives approved a sprawling, 1,725-page version of the Energy
Bill this week with a vote of 275-156. The legislation contains a number of
measures that could affect the trucking industry.
The bill, which was
agreed upon by a join conference committee earlier this week, is expected to be
approved by the Senate on Friday, July 29, and signed into law by President
Bush by the weekend.
The president asked
for a final version of the bill by Aug. 1, before the legislature departs for
its five-week summer recess. The House approved its version of the bill in
April, and the Senate on June 28. The conference committee has been ironing out
the differences since then.
Bond, R-MO, and Sen. Carl Levin, D-MI, led the opposition to SA902, which would
have required manufacturers to virtually double fuel mileage for big rigs. It
would have mandated a 6.5-mile-per-gallon increase for non-passenger vehicles
in the next 11 years and an increase of 12.5 miles per gallon for four-wheelers
in the same time frame.
Instead, Bond and
Levin proposed and gained approval of an amendment that keeps auto standards
under National Highway Traffic Safety Administration authority.
amendment that would benefit truckers survived the conference committee
negotiations. Sponsored by Sen. George Voinovich, R-OH, it provides for truck
owners to receive part of up to $1 billion in funding to replace their older
trucks, or retrofit them to meet emissions standards.
The Energy 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 second Sunday
of March and the ending date to first Sunday of November.
– By Aaron
Ladage, staff writer