• Opens federal waters beyond 50 miles from shore along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to oil and gas drilling, ending drilling bans that have been in effect for 26 years. States would have to agree to drilling for areas between 50 and 100 miles from land.
• Rolls back $18 billion in tax breaks for the five largest oil companies and requires energy companies to pay billions of dollars in additional royalties from oil taken from the deep water areas of the Gulf of Mexico under questionable leases issued in the late 1990s.
• Requires the release of 70 million barrels of oil from the government’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to put more oil on the market and lower gasoline prices.
• Makes it a federal crime for oil companies holding federal leases to provide gifts to government employees, a response to a recent sex and drug scandal involving the federal office that oversees the offshore oil royalty program and energy company employees.
• Provides tax credits for wind and solar energy industries, the development of cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels, and purchase of plug-in gas-electric hybrid cars.
• Requires utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from solar, wind or other alternative energy sources.
• Gives tax breaks for new energy efficiency and conservation programs, including the use of improved building codes and low-interest loans for energy-efficient homes, and for companies that promote their employees use of bicycles for commuting.
SOURCE: Associated Press