Essential new energy bill reliant on Senate collaboration

Last week, the U.S. Senate began reviewing the first comprehensive energy bill since 2007.

This crucial bipartisan measure will address changes in the way the U.S. produces power and tackle necessary updates to oil and gas transportation systems.

Republicans and Democrats are actually working together to form a long overdue plan to increase environmental awareness. Since 2007, the U.S. has become the world’s leading manufacturer in oil and gas. 

The use of wind and solar power is also on the rise, making major changes in the way we utilize energy. Even USF has taken up the call for environmental consciousness. 

Just walk by the chemistry building and you’ll see umbrellas proudly displaying multiple solar panels.There are recycling bins every few feet and USF even switched its graduation gowns to a line that is made from recycled bottles.

President Barack Obama has made it his mission in office to ensure the U.S. joins other first-world countries in aiming for clean energy. He has implemented clean air regulations to replace coal-based power plants with alterative sources. 

Energy conservation and an overall environmentally conscious lifestyle have become mainstream for a majority of Americans. 

Recycling bins, reusable shopping bags and environmentally friendly methods of transportation are used regularly across the country.

However, a Gallup poll showed 48 percent of Americans believe the government is doing too little in terms of protecting the environment, and 51 percent believe the quality of the environment in the U.S. is getting worse.

It is obvious the environment and the U.S.’ role in its protection are important to citizens. However, Obama has faced many challenges passing worthwhile policies on climate change due to partisan differences that shut down the majority of legislation he has sought to pass. 

Politicians are more concerned with getting approval from their radical party members than creating effective change. 

Now it seems change is finally going to happen. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the Republican chairwoman of the Energy Committee, and Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, the ranking Democrat of the same committee, co-sponsored the current bill. 

That’s right. An influential Republican and a prominent Democrat are working together to push this meaningful legislation through. After months of hearings, the energy panel passed it to the floor with an 18-to-4 vote.

Now, it’s up to the Senate to ensure the bill is passed. Both Republicans and Democrats have the chance to add amendments to the bill, which will almost certainly lead to its demise. 

Unfortunately, the men and women running the government usually don’t act like responsible adults while in session. Many will try to tack on irrational amendments to either get what they want or have the bill struck down. 

Either way, they win, even if it’s detrimental to our country’s clean energy. While the Senate votes this week on the passing of the bill, it needs to remember its constituents desperately want positive change to happen. 

Instead of dividing into two radical, opposing views, work together and find a compromise that will benefit the country without tacking on unnecessary amendments.

Finding senators who are willing to work together is a rarity in this polarized age of politics. Do your jobs and collaborate to pass this meaningful energy law. 


Breanne Williams is a junior majoring in mass communications.