Washington, DC—DemocraticSenators Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, Maria Cantwell, and Ken Salazar joined Greg Wetstone of the American Wind Energy Association, Karl Gawell of the Geothermal Energy Association and Kateri Callahan of the Alliance to Save Energy at a press conference today to discuss Democrats’ efforts to invest in clean renewable energy and extend important tax cuts for middle-class families struggling in the weakening Bush-McCain economy.
“This country has big challenges right now. Families in my home state of Montana and all across America face big challenges just putting food on the table and gasoline in the car. But today, the Senate can tackle some of those challenges and win,” Baucus said. “We can change America’s energy future with incentives for alternative fuels. We can stop big tax increases by protecting millions of families from the alternative minimum tax. We can help to create good-paying jobs and opportunity by renewing important tax cuts like the research and development tax credit and the college tuition deduction. It’s time for the Senate to act, to break America’s dependence on foreign oil, and to secure a better financial future for all our working families.”
Said Bingaman: “I have long maintained that targeted tax incentives are an essential element of a bold new energy policy for our country. These incentives’ will play a critical role in promoting clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and in turn reducing our reliance on conventional fuels, promoting a more secure energy supply and combating global warming. Equally important, these tax credits will create high-paying jobs and reduce energy costs for all Americans.”
"This marks a game-changing point in our nation’s history,” Cantwell said. “Today we will finally break the logjam on clean energy tax policy and begin accelerating America’s desperately needed transition to a clean energy future. By extending these tax cuts for middle class families and American businesses, we are investing in a cleaner energy future, investing in our economy, and creating jobs that will benefit all Americans. At a time when there are so many questions about the economy, this package equals an economic opportunity for job growth in America, and will provide real opportunities for Americans to save on their energy bills."
Said Salazar: “After months of fighting to pass this critical tax package, I am proud we have found a bipartisan way to move it through the Senate and toward the finish line. This bill will not only extend important tax relief and guarantee tax certainty for millions of American families and small businesses, but it will also create a set of new tax incentives that will help jumpstart the clean energy economy. Importantly, this bill will help open a new chapter for rural America, where the production of clean and renewable energy will create thousands of new jobs and opportunities.”
“On behalf of America’s Wind Energy industry and the millions of Americans who favor clean, domestic wind power, I applaud this critically important effort to move forward on renewable energy tax incentives before Congress leaves town at the end of the month,” Wetstone said. “We are grateful to Senate leaders from both parties who put aside their differences to come together around this bipartisan package. Clean energy tax incentives are a vital part of the solution to our nation’s economic, energy security, and environmental problems. With more than 100,000 jobs and billions of dollars in clean energy investment at risk, we urge all members of the Senate to vote yes on the Baucus Grassley Amendment to H.R. 6049 and on final passage of this important legislation. We hope the Senate’s approval of this measure today will add to the momentum for swift action in the House of Representatives.”
Said Gawell: "Renewable energy is one bright spot in the American economy. These young industries have seen dramatic growth in the past few years, but the incentives supporting new projects are about to expire. The tax extenders bill is vital to sustain their continued growth. Geothermal projects under development today would more than double current production, providing over 30 billion kilowatt hours of clean, domestic energy-enough electricity to power the homes of San Francisco, Denver, and Philadelphia combined. These new geothermal power projects will result in over ten billion dollars in new investment and create over 30,000 construction, manufacturing, and power plant jobs. Passing this legislation will stimulate the economy and sustain hope in the future. We urge Congress to pass, and the President to sign, this vital legislation."
“With Wall Street in free fall and energy prices soaring yet again, today the Senate has the opportunity to not only stimulate the economy, create jobs and help American businesses and consumers deal with rising energy costs, but also to put America on the path to a more sustainable and secure energy future,” Callahan said. “The Alliance to Save Energy applauds Senators Baucus and Grassley for crafting a meaningful, bi-partisan energy efficiency and clean energy tax package that appears headed for swift passage in the Senate, and we urge the House and the President to follow suit quickly so that the critical relief promised by the legislation is provided to consumers and businesses reeling from high energy prices and a faltering economy by reducing their energy bills, spurring investment in new technologies, creating new jobs, and improving our economy’s productivity.”