While proponents of the $14.5 billion energy bill say the legislation meets the challenges of U.S. energy security, opponents affirm the rich will get richer without the legislation meeting immediate needs.
The legislation won the approval from the House and Senate last week before it heads to President George W. Bush.
"The Energy Policy Act of 2005 sets forth several measures that address the numerous infrastructure problems, especially with pipelines and electricity transmission, that we raised during President Bush's first term," Vincent DeVito, president of International Energy Strategies and former Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, told United Press International Sunday. "The bill includes language that would create an electric reliability organization with the ability to develop and enforce mandatory reliability standards in North America."
Critics noted that the bill does not provide immediate relief to high oil prices.
"I just wish that the timetable was a bit faster. Because it doesn't make a lot of sense for Americans to buy oil from people who might wish to do us harm with our money in their pockets...," Lorie van Auken, who lost her husband during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and who is a member of the Family Steering Committee, told UPI Monday.
Voting no on the House side, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md, said: "This energy bill falls far short of President Bush's strategy and what is needed for America to overcome the challenges to our economy and national security from global peak oil."
While large oil and coal companies are expected to benefit, some chemical companies could face lawsuits. Critics and proponents alike agree that the bill will benefit the oil industry on its passage. The bill offers $14.5 billion in tax breaks and incentives over 10 years to stimulate domestic energy production.
Although it does not provide options to address some of the immediate concerns, the legislation does provide methods on meeting U.S. energy challenges, especially in terms of increasing domestic production to ultimately alleviate dependence on foreign sources of energy.
"As we continue to look closer to home to supply our energy needs, extensive cooperation from our friends in Canada and Mexico will be vital to achieve the development of the transportation infrastructure required to move energy supplies," DeVito added. "No where in the world is there more potential for energy interdependence and security between three great countries than right here on our own continent."