Senate Committee Attempts Flashback to Bush Energy Policy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Ben Schreiber, 202-222-0752 Nick Berning, 202-222-0748 WASHINGTON, D.C.The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today failed to heed President Obamas call for clean energy jobs and a green economy and instead voted for an energy bill that would increase reliance on failed dirty energy sources of the past, according to environmental advocates. Instead of promoting a transition to clean energy, the Democratic senators on this committee crafted a plan that could have come from the oil barons in the Bush administration, said Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder. This bill fails to live up to the vision for a clean energy future that President Obama campaigned on. It wont create clean energy, and it wont create clean energy jobs. Passage of legislation like this would be a clear sign that Congress does not take global warming seriously. The bill is an example of policymaking at its worst. It demonstrates corporate special interests continue to wield far too much influence in Washington, Blackwelder added. Should this disastrous proposal come to the Senate floor, those of us at Friends of the Earth will do everything we can to prevent its passage. The committees bill would expand use of dirty and old technologies, such as nuclear reactors, synthetic fuels and off-shore drilling, while hindering the expansion of clean technologies such as wind and solar power. Friends of the Earth singled out three provisions in the bill for criticism: The committee has proposed creation of a giant slush fund for nuclear and coal projects (the Clean Energy Deployment Agency). The new agency could give out unlimited loan guarantees for nuclear reactors, without any congressional oversight and with insufficient taxpayer protections, resulting in a likely multibillion dollar bailout for the nuclear industry. The House has already rejected a similar provision and added important taxpayer safeguards. The proposal weakens section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act, which stops the government from purchasing fuels with a higher carbon intensity than gasoline. This provision is currently in effect and the government is complying with it. Weakening the provision would encourage the use of dirty tar sands oil. The bill opens more of our shores to oil and gas drilling. We need to move away from our dependence on fossil fuels, not increase our addiction. In addition, one of the centerpieces of the proposal, a national Renewable Electricity Standard, is desperately needed, but the way the committee has written this standard has been criticized by analysts as being potentially counterproductive, because its clean energy targets are weak and it could undercut already existing stronger state-level measures. ### Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org) is the U.S. voice of the worlds largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.