The bill included an amendment that allows companies to continue to make and sell old-school 100 watt light bulbs after January 1, 2012, when they were originally scheduled to be phased out. Previously, Republicans have tried to overturn a 2007 law requiring light bulbs to be more energy efficient starting in 2012, but all previous attempts have failed. The new House bill also blocks the Obama Administration from closing the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project in Nevada. The government has already spent $15 billion on the project, but it still not open for business, which is storing spent nuclear fuel from power plants. President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada both want to end the program.
The bill also diverted $1 billion in funding away from some high-speed rail projects and transfered it to help pay for flood relief along both the Mississippi and Missouri riverways. It also provided for 1.3 billion for renewable energy programs, which is $491 million less than the level for 2011.
The Democrats objected to all the provisions and cuts, and only 10 Democrats voted for the bill, while the remaining Democrats voted against it. The bill now goes to the Senate, which is still controlled by a Democratic majority, so it will see more scrutiny I would imagine.
The current House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Hal Rogers (R-KY), issued the following statement: “This bill is proof that we can make commonsense spending reductions without damaging or impairing the programs that help keep our country safe and our citizens at work.”
The rest of the new energy bill includes legislation that will slightly increase spending on nuclear security programs to $10.6 billion and slightly decrease spending on scientific research projects to $4.8 billion. The new House approved energy bill included $4.9 billion that would be used for cleaning up pollution at nuclear weapons plants.