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Cantwell-Ensign Clean Energy Amendment Derailed April 18, 2008

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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From Solar Nation

Clunk! Roller Coaster off the Rails
The House puts its foot down

Roller coasters have, by design, a multitude of ups and downs, but it’s comforting even to thrill-seekers to know they rarely become completely derailed. The roller coaster that represents the latest iteration of the Congressional energy bill, however, has finally done that.

The news from Washington is that the House of Representatives has no intention of moving forward with the “Cantwell-Ensign” clean energy provisions that the Senate made part of their comprehensive housing bill in early April. House Democratic leadership does not believe:

  • that energy provisions should be included in housing legislation;
  • that energy matters should be part of any future ‘Economic Stimulus’-type legislation; and
  • that bills with tax titles should be passed with no identified source of funding.

Unfortunately, those three characteristics well describe the clean energy amendment that Senators Cantwell and Ensign succeeded in attaching to the housing bill.

This is, to say the least, a disappointment, particularly after the efforts of solar citizens helped to produce the overwhelming (88-8) Senate passage of the amendment. But for the short term, it seems there will be no useful activity on Capitol Hill that will promote the tax credits for clean energy or energy efficiency that we know are so important. And that doesn’t mean these measures will never again be a part of the economic equation; what it means is that those congresspersons who firmly believe the measures are necessary must find other legislative vehicles to carry them through the House, Senate and the White House.

Will this happen this year? At this point we can’t tell you. There is talk of lumping the clean energy tax credits in with other credits and deductions in a broad-based ‘extenders’ bill, but nothing concrete has yet emerged. We do know that the attention of Congress in an election year tends to veer toward campaigns and polls instead of legislation as November approaches, so we’re hoping for action earlier rather than later.

As always, we’ll keep you posted.

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