Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus

Floor Speech

By:  Wayne Allard
Date: Nov. 20, 2008
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ALLARD. Mr. President, I rise today to talk about a subject that is near and dear to my heart, the Senate Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus.

Would the distinguished gentlemen from North Dakota and Idaho engage in a colloquy with me on this topic?

Mr. DORGAN. I would be pleased to engage in such a colloquy.

Mr. CRAPO. I would also like to join my colleagues in a colloquy on this matter.

Mr. ALLARD. I thank my colleagues. The need for a strong renewable energy policy has never been more timely. This is something I have worked on for many years. As a member of the House of Representatives I was a member of the House Renewable Energy Caucus, and when I was elected to the Senate, discovered that no such similar caucus existed here. So I, along with Senators Jeff Bingaman, Tim Johnson, Jim Jeffords, and Bob Kerry, founded the Senate Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus.

The caucus is still going strong today with leadership from Senator Byron Dorgan, Senator Joe Lieberman, and myself. It is a nonpartisan group that strives to increase awareness of the various forms of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in the United States.

I have been honored to serve as the Republican cochair since the inception of the Senate caucus, during this time we have seen the caucus membership grow and today more than a third of the Senate is a member. The caucus has hosted numerous events and briefings and helped hundreds of renewable energy groups display their ideas and technologies. It has also been a forum for sharing thousands of news articles relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

As many of you know, I am retiring from the Senate at the end of this term and will no longer serve as cochair of the caucus. I am proud of the work that the caucus has done, and I am confident it will continue to do great work in the future.

I know it will do great work in the future because it will have strong leadership. I greatly appreciate the work of the other cochairs, Senators Dorgan and Lieberman. They have a remarkable dedication to renewable energy. With the addition of the new Republican cochair, I have no doubt that the caucus will be as strong as ever.

The man replacing me on the caucus is an ardent advocate for renewable energy, Senator Mike Crapo. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Crapo has helped craft successful legislation to provide tax credits for production and investment in renewable energy such as wind, solar, and geothermal, and as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, he supported expanded usage of renewable biofuels.

Senator Crapo also represents a State that is passionate about renewable energy and energy efficiency. The State of Idaho has received awards for its dedication to renewable energy and cutting edge research is taking place every day at the fine colleges and universities in Idaho.

Mr ALLARD. Senator Dorgan, you have helped me cochair the caucus for several years, and your efforts have been invaluable. Do you share my estimation that Senator Crapo will make a strong co-chair?

Mr. DORGAN. Yes.

Mr. ALLARD. Senator Crapo you have been a strong advocate for renewable energy for years, and I am sure are looking forward to cochairing the caucus. Do you have any comments?

Mr. CRAPO. Yes. I have long admired the work of Senator Allard in forming and developing the caucus over the years. I am honored to be chosen as the next cochair of the caucus and am eager to build on the work he has accomplished thus far.

As you mentioned, my home State of Idaho is one of the Nation's leaders in renewable energy. Idaho has significant and developed hydropower, wind, and geothermal energy resources, which has led us to have one of the five lowest per capita and total emissions profiles of any State. The research being done on these technologies, as well as energy efficiency, biofuels, and alternative energy resources such as nuclear power at the Idaho National Laboratory, University of Idaho, Boise State and Idaho State Universities, is remarkable and nationally recognized.

Energy issues have arrived at center stage in the public eye and energy supply, prices, and environmental effects are at the forefront of concern. All of us here, regardless of political affiliation, can agree that developing a sound domestic energy plan that provides an adequate supply of clean and affordable energy is a benefit to our Nation. I look forward, along with Senators Dorgan and Lieberman, to educating members and promoting renewable energy and efficiency measures in the upcoming Congress to achieve that goal.

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