Senate Committee Attempts Flashback to Bush Energy Policy

For Immediate Release

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Contact: 

Ben Schreiber, 202-222-0752, bschreiber@foe.org
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748, nberning@foe.org

Senate Committee Attempts Flashback to Bush Energy Policy

WASHINGTON - The
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today failed to heed President
Obama's call for clean energy jobs and a green economy and instead voted
for a 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
won't create clean energy, and it won't 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 committee's 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.

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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's 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.

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