In 2001, President Bush released an energy plan that was widely criticized by environmentalists for failing to reduce U.S. dependence on oil or promote energy efficiency and clean renewable energy. For nearly five years, a coalition of environmental, consumer, and other public interest groups blocked final passage of legislation to enact the President’s plan.
In July 2005, House and Senate conferees agreed on an energy bill conference report that dropped some of the most controversial provisions from earlier bills, including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and taxpayer-funded cleanup of the toxic gasoline additive MTBE. However, the new version still weakened key environmental protections for oil and gas drilling, added billions in new subsidies for coal,
oil and nuclear power, allowed harmful underwater oil and gas testing in currently protected coastal areas, and stripped states and local governments of the authority to site liquefied natural gas facilities and transmission lines.
On July 29, 2005, the Senate approved the conference report by a vote of 74-26 (Senate roll call vote 213). NO is the pro-environment vote. The bill was signed into law by President Bush on August 8.