What the legislation says about a national strategy.
Now that the Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by Congress and signed by President Bush this past summer, has had a chance to sink in, a review of the bill's perks and pork is in order. Supporters of the 1,724-page piece of legislation laud it as a triumph of job-creating bipartisanship that attempts to shore up our energy supply, while detractors call it a gargantuan giveaway to a well-heeled industry. Predicting the long-term effects of the legislation is difficult.
Will more federal authority be a boon or a barrier to the development of liquefied natural gas terminals and transmission lines? Will new reliability standards be sufficient-and will they be enforced?
One thing is certain: as even the president, the act's biggest supporter, has acknowledged, passage of the legislation won't have any immediate impact. "This bill is not going to solve our energy challenges overnight," Bush said just before signing the bill into law. "It's going to take years of focused efforts to alleviate those problems."