Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), today announced that a coalition they are leading is preparing to unveil a revised version of the New Energy Reform Act of 2008, better known as New Era. The new version will be released in the coming days with plans to introduce legislation when Congress reconvenes after the elections.
"Unfortunately, with the fiscal crisis unfolding, time to debate a comprehensive energy policy is not available. Instead, we will share our plan with our colleagues and ask that the New Era bill be among the first orders of business when Congress reconvenes," Senator Conrad and Chambliss said in a joint statement.
The bipartisan proposal includes a historic investment in research and development in an effort to transition new vehicles to non-petroleum based fuels by 2020. The new version of the proposal expands responsible measures to increase offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf and remains committed to expanding renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal. Additionally the plan includes consumer tax credits to purchase advanced fuel vehicles and increases nuclear power generation. Finally, the new version of the plan is completely paid for with no net tax increase and no net spending increase.
"Our group is strong and committed. We have accomplished something positive on Capitol Hill. We have formed a bipartisan group of Senators that continues to put progress ahead of politics. The New Era proposal has dramatically advanced the energy debate in Congress. The reason our group formed and the reason we remain together is because we all want to see a serious, comprehensive energy policy that can be enacted into law," Conrad and Chambliss said. "We are extremely proud of this Gang of 20 and remain committed to working together to lessen our nation's dependence on foreign oil and strengthen America's economy."
The coalition of 20 senators 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats has worked for the past three months to develop New Energy Reform Act of 2008. The Senators who developed the proposal include: Senators John Warner, R-Va., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Susan Collins, R-Maine; Mary Landrieu, D-La., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., John Sununu, R-N.H., Evan Bayh, D-Ind., Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C, Tom Carper, D-Del., Norm Coleman, R-Minn., Ben Nelson, D-Neb., John Thune, R-S.D., Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Ken Salazar, D-Colo., Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.