In the End, Who Voted to Lower Your Energy Bill?

By December 12, 2006Energy

As you probably guessed from the epic battle in the Congress to tap our own resources that played out on this blog all year — and in detail over the past week — it is a long process, filled with ups and downs. It finally came together in the waning hours of the 109th Congress, but there were many pitfalls on the way to eventual victory.

One of the biggest battles fought along the way was one to defeat an amendment by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) that would have effectively killed the bill. This really was the seminal vote in that those who didn’t want us to tap our own resources could vote for it and scuttle the whole year’s effort. Manufacturers finally prevailed on the amendment by a slim two-vote margin, 207-205. It was largely — but not solely — a party line vote. Thanks to our own Tim Lugbill, here’s a list of the Democrats who voted against the Markey Amendment, thereby clearing the way to allow US manufacturers to be more competitive:

  • Abercrombie (HI-1)
  • Bean (IL-8)
  • Boren (OK-2)*
  • Boucher (VA-9)
  • Cramer (AL-5)*
  • Cuellar (TX-28)*
  • Davis (TN-4)*
  • Edwards (TX-17)*
  • Gonzalez (TX-20)
  • Green, Al (TX-9)
  • Green, Gene (TX-29)
  • Jackson-Lee (TX-18)
  • Jefferson (LA-2)
  • Matheson (UT-2)*
  • Melancon (LA-3)
  • Ortiz (TX-27)
  • Thompson (MS-2)
  • The * denotes winners of the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence.

    In any event, here’s a link to the full roll call vote, but in the spirit of bipartisanship, we wanted to single out those Democrats who voted with manufacturing. As the 110th convenes, let’s remember to thank these folks, and let’s hope they might be the nucleus of a pro-manufacturing legislative movement.

    As for the others, don’t forget to contact them and let them know you’re watching.

    Join the discussion One Comment

    • “Who voted to lower your energy bill?” This discussion begs a couple of questions…

      To what extent should manufacturers depend on politicians to reduce energy bills? I think we all understand the agenda here: relax the restrictions on fossil fuel exploration, and it will presumably lead to more supply and lower energy prices. But this only one half of the equation. Remember that expense equals price TIMES quantity. Many forward-thinking manufacturers are adopting technologies, procedures, and behaviors that effectively reduce the amount of energy they consume. Even companies that claimed that “they are already as efficient as they can be” are finding additional savings potential through facility-wide energy audits. See

      How can manufacturers take the initiative in controlling energy costs? Energy management best practices are documented in a series of 10 case studies available online for free (see There is no “off the shelf” energy management strategy—each company must create a unique strategy that reflects its goals, skills, and operational culture. But in general, successful energy management entails a sequence of activities: (1) improving the housekeeping of current assets, (2) investing in people skills and changing operating procedures to recognize energy-smart choices, and finally (3) investing capital in efficient equipment and plant design.

      I have had the opportunity to meet with many manufacturers, all of whom can be described as having motivated, “can-do” personalities. Most want to take charge of their energy costs, but just need to untangle the turf issues that frequently stall energy management efforts. But it can be done, and it IS being done. And accordingly, fewer manufacturers are waiting for politicians to “lower their energy bills” for them.