Detroit Free Press: Energy bill promotes fuel-efficient vehicles
WASHINGTON – A wide-ranging energy bill -- which had previously been help up over concerns of a lack of funding to address the Flint water crisis -- was approved by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday and included a measure authored by Michigan’s senators promoting investments in the research and development of more fuel-efficient vehicles.
The legislation, passed on a vote of 85-12, included a provision written by U.S. Sens Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, both D-Mich., as well as U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., which reauthorizes the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program.
That program works with automakers as well as commercial truck manufacturers to come up with ways of improving fuel efficiency, including through research into electric- and natural gas-powered vehicles as well as hybrid and other systems.
The legislation would also encourage the development of vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems that can help cut fuel use, congestion and the number of traffic accidents. The overall bill – which promotes a variety of energy sources and could speed approval of projects to export liquefied natural gas to Europe and Asia – must now be reconciled with a House version of the bill.
Stabenow and Peters had recently lifted a hold on the bill that they had put on it because of a dispute over a funding measure that could provide more than $100 million in grants and loans to Flint to help address the crisis of high levels of lead found in the city's water.
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, had objected to the legislation that not only would have provided funds to Flint but other areas looking to modernize and improve water infrastructure, calling it a “federalizing” of those projects. Stabenow and Peters – who had not objected to the overall energy bill – lifted their hold, saying they would look for another legislative vehicle to help Flint and still expect to find a path toward getting funding approved.
By: Todd Spangler
Source: Detroit Free Press
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