Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Introduced Legislation

More legislation introduced.  As usual, the odds of anything getting out of committee and through congress is low, but new bills are still of interest because their language modifies the discourse relevant to science policy.

H.R. 1794, a bill To Provide Incentives to Reduce Dependence on Foreign Oil 
Introduced by Dan Lungren [R-CA]

Lungren doesn't have much of a history of leadership in this area, so it is interesting that the Sacramento suburb rep decided to introduce this bill.  Energy issues are very salient to his constituency (along with many, many others of course), and this bill clearly frames the matter in terms of energy security - as opposed to climate issues. 

That said, the bill is fairly broad in scope.  It calls for a tax credit for any facility (electrical generation) that pratcies climate neutral combustion.  'Clean coal' is directly alluded to, as the bill mentions that climate neutral combustion includes combustion in which CO2 is recaptured and used to extract hydrocarbon energy from below ground.

Largely, the bill seeks to extend Internal Revenue Code of 1986, which interestingly provided clean energy credits.  Carbon neutrality is emphasized, and the bill further proposes to extend tax credits for solar energy.

Also, examine these sections:  


The Secretary of Energy shall establish a program to award a prize in the amount of $1,000,000,000 to the first automobile manufacturer incorporated in the United States to manufacture and sell in the United States 60,000 midsized sedan automobiles which operate on gasoline and can travel 100 miles per gallon.


There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Energy $30,000,000 for fiscal year 2010 for the development of advanced lithium ion battery technology."

The bill is calling for direct monetary incentives for improved gas mileage($1bn is significant even to a major auto company), and a "reward" for creating an advanced lithium battery - similar to what John McCain proposed during his 2008 presidential campaign.  The effectiveness of such a strategy is debatable; aside from the limited supply of lithium, production of a commercially viable battery doesn't really require a reward incentive.  

Finally, the bill offers to treat any property used to produce biofuels (ethanol and methanol, specifically) as not chargeable to a capital account.

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