On September 15th, House Democrats proposed the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act (HR 6899). The energy bill, introduced by Reps. Rahall (D-WV), Green (D-TX), Miller (D-CA) and Dingell (D-MI), is intended to reduce U.S. oil dependency by exploring clean, alternative fuel technologies. A vote on the bill is expected this week. If passed, the bill would expand oil and gas drilling offshore by allowing states to permit drilling between 50 and 100 miles offshore and the federal government likewise, between 100 to 200 miles offshore.

Other highlights of the bill include a carbon audit of the federal tax code and carbon mitigation provisions which would increase aggregate credits for coal project investments from $1.3 billion to $2.25 billion. Of this expanded aggregate, $800 million may be certified for integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) projects and $1.45 billion for other advanced coal-based generation technology projects. The bill also gives highest priority to projects with the greatest separation and sequestration percentage of total carbon dioxide emissions. And it creates a Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve to, among other provisions, “increase research, development, and demonstration of carbon capture and sequestration technologies.”

The bill follows on the heels of the Carbon Capture and Storage Early Deployment Act (HR6258), which was recently incorporated into the Democrat's overall energy package, and is geared towards enhancing the storage and capture of carbon emissions.