House Passes Climate Change Bill; Calls for More Electric Vehicles, Reduced Motor Vehicle Emissions
July 2, 2009

The U.S. House passed the American Clean Energy & Security Act last Friday. The legislation is designed to reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy, and among its many efforts to achieve this is a call to reduce greenhouse emissions from vehicles.

The legislation, if enacted as law, would amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) to provide for the development of an electric vehicle infrastructure. Under the terms of the act, the Secretary of Energy would need to establish a large-scale vehicle electrification program, along with a program to provide financial assistance to auto manufacturers to create plug-in electric drive vehicles.

In addition, the act would require the administration to set motor vehicle emissions standards. Though the legislation does not address specific possible standards, it notes that the standards would "reflect the greatest degree of emissions reduction achievable through the application of technology which the Administrator determines will be available for the model year to which such standards apply, giving appropriate consideration to cost, energy, and safety factors associated with the application of such technology."

The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D. - Calif.) and Edward Markey (D - Mass.), now will move to the Senate. It passed the House with a vote of 219-212.

In 2006, the state of California passed similar legislation, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which called to return the state's greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Just last Friday, the California Air Resources Board voted to adopt auto glass regulations that are designed to help achieve that goal. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

Others have also suggested that they look for the California regulations to eventually go nationwide. (CLICK HERE for that story.)

CLICK HERE for a related story about the new regulations recently adopted in California.

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