Associated Press: Pelosi Hails Savings in Energy Bill

WASHINGTON, (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, anticipating final congressional action on energy legislation next week, said the bill will ‘put America on a road to energy independence,’ save people money at the gas pumps and increase the country’s security.

In remarks prepared for the Democrats’ weekly radio address on Saturday, Pelosi noted that the bill will require, for the first time in 32 years, an increase in automobile fuel efficiency to an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

That, along with a requirement to use more ethanol as a motor fuel, ‘will strengthen our national security, protect consumers from spiraling energy prices, create jobs and … tell the world that America is prepared to become a leader in addressing the global climate crisis,’ said Pelosi, D-Calif.

The energy legislation was passed by the Senate on Thursday and still awaits final House action, although the House approved similar language earlier this month. Approval is a foregone conclusion, Pelosi suggested, and the White House has said President Bush will sign it.

‘Congress has acted to put America on a road to energy independence with a new direction for energy security,’ Pelosi said in her radio remarks, excerpts of which were released Friday by her office.

In addition to the higher fuel economy, the Senate-passed bill also requires an increase of ethanol use to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022, a nearly sixfold increase over expected 2007 production. It also requires new efficiency standards for appliances, light bulbs and commercial buildings.

But Democrats were stymied in an attempt to pass a tax package that would have rolled back $13.5 billion in oil company tax breaks and funneled billions of dollars into tax incentives for renewable energy development and efficiency programs.

The White House and Senate Republicans had opposed the tax measures, which previously passed the House, and Democrats fell one vote short of overcoming a GOP filibuster.

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