With the first vote out of the way, the motion to proceed passed 91-0, the Senate is already deep into debate concerning the energy bill that has environmental groups, utilities, auto makers, and ethanol producers watching very closely.

The bill comes packed full of amendments that deal with renewable energy standards, energy efficiency, advanced ethanols, average fleet fuel efficiency (CAFE standards), and coal-to-liquid technology – among other things.

The Senate will vote on Senator Bingaman’s Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) today or tomorrow… the whole bill is expected to move very quickly. The RES would mandate that 15% of our electricity needs are met with renewable sources by 2020. Over 20 states have adopted measures such as this, and consumers are saving a TON of money, as well as removing millions of tons of pollution from the atmosphere. It is time to get this going on a national level – we can do it easily and it just makes sense.

There are a few sneaky amendments in there too:
-Once again drilling in the arctic was penciled in by some creeps… but it will not pass… again. When will they get the picture?! It’s not worth it.
-Coal-to-liquid technology is being hailed as the answer by some senators (senators are not necessarily voting along party lines, rather along their state-interest lines so a few Dems. are pushing this). Coal-to-liquid would actually mean large increases in global warming pollution output – and it is NOT the answer, only an attempt to avoid our energy problem. We should be turning to advanced biofuels (even though they come with some problems) far before we even consider coal, drilling in the arctic, or tar sands.