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The Planet
Energy Madness

On the last day of July, before the Senate left for its August recess, it passed the same energy bill as in 2002, setting the stage for a conference with the House-passed bill, which includes drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

"Americans deserve better," says Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. The Club supports an energy bill that would increase fuel efficiency, reduce oil dependence, and devote more resources to renewable energy.

The surprising resurrection of last year's bill – what Club Legislative Director Debbie Sease calls "surreal Kabuki Senate theater" – came as senators squabbled about amendments, and Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the Democratic leader, commented that if the Senate was serious about passing a bill, it would start with the bill passed last year (by the Democrat-controlled Senate). Majority Leader Bill Frist and the Republicans seized on that and put the 2002 bill to a vote. It passed 84 to 14.

The Club will continue to fight against this damaging bill, which is likely to get worse in conference. It must be approved again by the Senate and House after returning from conference. Last year's bill died in conference.

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