The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, a regional environmental nonprofit with an Asheville branch, has sent out a response to the energy bill passed by the Senate on Dec. 13. A proposal for a renewable-portfolio standard — a boost to clean energy that local renewable-energy businesses had hoped for — failed to pass. The response appears below.
— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A Response to the recent Senate Vote
on HR 6-The Energy Independence and Security Act
We at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy are deeply disappointed that nine of ten southern senators failed to support an energy bill that would incentivise clean, renewable energy sources such as bio-energy, wind and solar power that are abundant in our region. Given the opportunity to support and encourage a clean energy economy powered by plentiful, renewable sources such as wind, solar and biofuels, the U.S. Senate in 2007 instead chose to once again resort to business as usual and demonstrate their support for a handful of oil companies and the largest utilities.
For example, the Senate refused to show any real leadership on shaping America’s energy future when it weakened the robust Energy and Independence Security Act by removing the important renewable portfolio standard that the House of Representatives had passed. A subsequent bill that would have removed subsidies from oil companies and channeled these funds as tax credits to clean energy businesses also failed in the Senate. It lost by one crucial vote as a majority of Senators, including nine of our southern Senators, chose instead to do the bidding of the Southern Company and a handful of America’s largest utility companies.
On a very positive note, the Senate’s final bill did include an historic provision raising automotive fuel efficiency for the first time in 32 years and supported a dramatic increase in renewable transportation fuel production.
However, the sad truth is that the watered down energy bill that the Senate passed yesterday is a pale shadow of the visionary and responsible piece of energy legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives just a week ago.
America deserves better leadership on this all encompassing issue of energy and energy independence. Especially at a time when our nation’s energy choices impacts, directly or indirectly, every citizen, every business, every community and every landscape, both in this country and around the world.