Washington, D.C.- U.S. Senator Jim Risch, Ranking Republican on the Senate Energy Subcommittee, voted against the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's energy bill saying it fails to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil or to further the development of new emission-free nuclear energy. The bill passed by a vote of 15 to 8.
"This Committee had a chance to put together a comprehensive bill that addressed our real energy needs. Instead we ended up with a bill that focuses on a narrow segment of the problem and does little to promote dependable, secure, or clean energy production," said Risch. "America's energy demands are growing and will only increase as the economy gets back on its feet. Nuclear and biomass are proven technologies that are ready now to address those needs and I am disappointed that we did so little to encourage the use of those technologies."
Risch was able to add a few provisions that will increase Idaho's role in the production of clean and dependable power. He inserted language that adds geothermal and biomass to the list of alternative energy workforce training to be provided by community colleges. He also added Idaho to a list of states where the Bureau of Land Management will locate pilot projects to improve federal permit coordination for renewable energy projects and transmission.
The American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009 now moves to the full Senate where consideration is not expected until fall. Risch says he will continue to work to amend the legislation to address those important issues neglected by the full committee.