Mich. Sen. Debbie Stabenow's advanced vehicle technology bill advances

Posted on July 15, 2011

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Senate committee approved Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Act on Thursday, sending it to the full chamber for consideration.

The legislation aims to boost manufacturing for advanced batteries and other alternative vehicle technologies in the U.S.

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources decided nearly unanimously to advance the bill Thursday, with only tea party favorite Mike Lee, R-Utah, voting against.

“We need to build the new vehicles of the future here in America in order to create clean-energy jobs in Michigan and across the country,” said Stabenow, a Democrat, adding that she was pleased to see the bill move forward. If it passes, she said, the plan would help “provide part of the long-term solution in the battle against rising gas prices.”

The Department of Energy would be directed under the proposal to help companies develop better electric, hybrid and natural gas technologies for vehicles. It would also targetheavy-duty trucks.

Companies such as Ford, GM, Chrysler and Johnson Controls have endorsed the measure.

Last week, Stabenow also introduced legislation aimed squarely at the advanced battery industry.

Nick Loris, a policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation, told the Free Press last week that batteries and other alternative vehicle technologies “shouldn’t require the government to prop them up.”

“These technologies should succeed on their own,” Loris said.

If the bill passes the Senate, it faces an uncertain future in the House.

By Aaron Kessler, Detroit Free Press