Friday, October 24, 2008

U.S. .Senator Russell Feingold: T. Boone Pickens' Energy Independence Pledge

Here is the e-mail letter I received from U.S. Senator Russell Feingold in response to writing him (and other members of Congress) to join with T. Boone Pickens and supporters in calling for an Energy Independence Plan to be enacted within the first 100 days of the next administration.

Write to your members of Congress by clicking on link now!

The letter goes as follows:

Dear XXX,

Thank you for contacting me regarding renewable energy. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue. In order to protect our environment, our economy, and our national security, we must encourage the increased use of renewable energy and increased energy efficiency.

In the Senate, I have strongly supported efforts to expand the use of renewable energy. On December 13, 2007, I voted for a comprehensive Senate energy bill (H.R. 6) which will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by raising energy efficiency standards for lighting, appliances, and government buildings; increasing the renewable fuel standard from 8.5 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons in 2022; and setting strong but reasonable Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. On December 19, 2007, the President signed the bill into law.

During consideration of H.R. 6, I supported efforts to establish a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requiring that 15 percent of the country's electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. Enactment of an RPS would promote energy diversity, stimulate significant job creation, and deliver substantial environmental benefits. Unfortunately, the Senate rejected a motion to include an RPS in the bill.

I have also consistently supported and voted for the extension of renewable energy tax credits. During debate on H.R. 6, I supported a proposal to repeal nearly $13 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies over ten years and use that money, among other things, to provide multiyear extensions of tax credits for wind and solar projects, as well as promote energy efficiency. I was disappointed the Senate narrowly rejected a motion to include this tax plan in the bill. I also voted to include clean energy tax incentives in H.R. 5140, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008; unfortunately, the final version of H.R. 5140, which was signed into law on February 13, 2008, did not include the critical clean energy tax incentives.

On October 1, 2008, the Senate passed H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which included the renewable energy tax incentives I had previously voted for. The bill passed the House on October 3, 2008, and was signed into law by the President later that day. I am pleased that we succeeded in extending tax incentives for homeowners and industry to spur more efficient homes and appliances, renewable electricity, alternative vehicles, and renewable fuels.

You might also be interested to know that on September 11, 2008, I introduced the Energy and Technology Advancement (ETA) Act, which would help move new energy technologies from the research and development phase to the marketplace. In addition, my bill would encourage the USDA to pursue a biorefinery pilot plant that will allow businesses to partner with the federal government to test biofuel technologies, increasing the chance of commercialization. S. 3472 has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee. I look forward to Senate consideration of this legislation.

Thanks again for contacting me. Please feel free to do so in the future about this, or any other issue of concern to you.

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