June 24, 2009

Energy Needs Spur New Legislation, Caucus

Crapo co-sponsors Western Caucus' broad-based effort

Washington, DC. - Because Idahoans can't face another summer of rising energy prices, Congress must act quickly on comprehensive energy legislation, according to Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. Crapo is joining with members of the new Senate Western Caucus to introduce the Clean, Affordable, Reliable Energy Act, known as the CARE Act, this week.

The CARE Act promotes development of new alternative and renewable energy, while expanding domestic oil and gas operations. It seeks to streamline the leasing and permit process for new energy development across many sources, from oil to nuclear power generation. The measure also shares more than a third of revenues derived from energy production with neighboring states, and opens drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

"This is common sense legislation that has the support of many Idahoans," noted Crapo. "Over the past year, I have heard from hundreds of Idahoans who want Congress to act immediately to produce more energy and create incentives for conservation, while preserving the tax benefits that will encourage more energy production. This legislation will do that. We need hearings on this bill as soon as possible."

Crapo noted the coalition of Western Senators working together will create a strong push for immediate consideration of the CARE Act legislation. Other provisions of the CARE Act include:

• Language denying federal agencies the ability to stop nuclear power applications for reasons of waste disposal
• The establishment of a new nuclear work group to coordinate new nuclear power efforts
• Approval for a new five-year oil and gas leasing program
• Expansion of federal tax incentives for new energy to include nuclear and clean coal efforts.
• Making permanent tax credits for biomass and synthetic fuels produced from coal
• Extending the alternative fuel vehicle tax credit through 2020
• Extending tax credits for hydrogen and alternative fuel vehicle refueling properties through 2020

Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) is the lead sponsor of the CARE Act. Other co-sponsors include Idaho Senator Jim Risch and Senators Robert Bennett and Orrin Hatch (both R-Utah) and Jon Kyl (R-Arizona).