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Sen. Salazar Pushes Energy Solutions for National and Economic Security

Location: Washington, DC


05/20/2005- DENVER, CO - United States Senator Ken Salazar today outlined a package of proposals to increase America's energy independence, bring jobs to Colorado and protect Colorado's land and water. "Making America energy independent is not only an economic security issue but a national security issue. These proposals will help consumers and producers while protecting our natural heritage and reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources," Salazar said. "While there is no easy solution, with a balanced, common sense approach of conservation, responsible resource development and alternative fuels, we can move America towards a future of energy independence." Senator Salazar is a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He is working on the development and passage of a comprehensive Senate Energy bill that will strengthen Americas Energy independence and security. Senator Salazar's National Energy Solution Package includes four bills that would: Ø Increase Opportunities for Renewable Energy: · Reauthorize an Energy Department grant program for renewable energy production; · Extend for five additional years the 1.5 cents/kilowatt-hour production tax credit for wind and other renewable energy producers and expand it to include geothermal and hydropower production; · Expand the 10 percent tax credit for solar and geothermal energy use to residential consumers; and · Extend the tax deduction for clean fuel and certain electric vehicles slated to end this year through the end of 2006. Ø Promote More-Environmentally-Friendly Use of Coal: · Establish loan guarantees of up to 80 percent of the cost of construction of a coal gasification plant. Coal energy represents over 80 percent of Colorado's electrical needs and Senator Salazar's bill will help produce the equivalent of 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas according to industry experts, enough to light 40,000 homes. Ø Increase Ethanol and Biodiesel Production and Use: · S.650, the bi-partisan Fuels Security Act of 2005, which would double the current renewable fuel consumption in America from three percent to approximately 6 percent by 2012, or from 4 billion gallons per year in 2006 to 8 billion gallons per year by 2012; and · S. 610, a bill to expand the Biofuel Production Facility Tax Credit to allow small facilities to double their production capacity for ethanol and biodiesel plants from 30 million gallons of fuel annually to 60 million gallons, which will encourage further development in this budding industry. Ø Foster Responsible Oil Shale Development: · Create an Oil Shale Research and Development leasing program in the BLM and implement 10-year R&D leases; · Require the Secretary of the Interior to work with the state and local stakeholders in Colorado and other states on oil shale development; · Require an Environmental Impact Statement program to assess the impacts on Colorado's land and water; and · Instruct the USGS to assess and map oil shale deposits on the Western Slope. It is estimated that in the Green River Oil Shale Formation of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah there are over one trillion barrels of potential oil. The United States consumes 20 million barrels of oil per day. Colorado has proposals for ethanol plants in Evans, Sterling and Windsor and an existing biodiesel plant in Alamosa. On average, a new ethanol plant creates 41 new jobs, increases local corn prices by 5 to 10 cents per bushel and expands the local economic base of the community by more than 100 million dollars each year. "By taking these steps now, we can put our nation on a path to a cleaner and more independent energy future. That's a win for everyone," Salazar said.

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