U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) have introduced a bill to expand America's use of cleaner, domestic energy resources. The Next Generation Energy Security Act, S. 3535, utilizes natural gas vehicles, expands nuclear power generation, and includes measures to encourage spent-fuel recycling, vehicle electrification and use of renewable energy sources.
"Reducing our country's dependence on foreign oil is important for the health of our economy and the safety of our citizens. This bill combines innovative approaches with commonsense policies to encourage the development and use of cleaner energy sources available here at home. A tight federal budget, a troubled economy and the situation in the Gulf of Mexico are all-too-obvious reminders that we need to focus on ensuring a predictable energy future. This plan will help move us forward in using cleaner, domestic energy, but without making energy more expensive," Burr said today.
"Our nation needs an alternative energy plan that moves us away from importing foreign oil and toward our domestic energy resources," said Chambliss. "By incorporating ideas from several areas, our plan would put many Americans back to work while ensuring steady supplies of clean, reliable and predictable energy sources. We have the resources here to reduce emissions without making energy more costly. It's up to us to utilize them."
While nuclear power only provides some 20 percent of our nation's electricity, it supplies 70 percent of our carbon-free, emission-free electricity. Additionally, oil accounts for 95 percent of U.S. transportation fuels. Addressing America's dependence on petroleum means addressing our transportation sector.
The Next Generation Energy Security Act was introduced and referred to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The bill specifies the use of a variety of energy sources, including:
* Extends the income tax credit for the purchase of vehicles that run on alternative fuels
* Extends the alternative fuel tax credit for compressed natural gas and liquid natural gas
* Creates a Natural Gas Vehicle Bond Program -- allows state and local governments to issue tax-exempt bonds in order to finance natural gas vehicle and infrastructure projects
* Requires federal agencies to purchase alternative fuel vehicles unless the agency can show that alternative fuel is unavailable
* Authorizes funding to develop the next-generation nuclear workforce
* Makes the regulatory process more transparent
* Maintains safety requirements
* Increases loan-guarantee funding
* Provides a 15-year accelerated depreciation period for new nuclear plants, provides a 10 percent investment tax credit and a nuclear-job-creation tax credit
* Creates policy to recycle nuclear fuel to harness energy and reduce volume and radioactivity of existing spent nuclear fuel
* Expands the current tax credit for purchasing electric vehicles
* Extends the current tax credit for charging infrastructure
* Directs the DOE, EPA and DOT to conduct a study analyzing the barriers to electric-vehicle market penetration
* Establishes a program to support deployment and integration of electric vehicles in the marketplace
* Extends solar, fuel-cell, microturbine, combined heat-and-power and small-wind investment tax credits through 2019
* Extends production tax credit for wind, refined-coal and marine renewable energy facilities through 2019