Statements of Senators Domenici and Bingaman Opposing (anti-renewable energy) Amendments

Public Statements of Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) and Senate Energy Committee Ranking Member Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) Opposing Amendments Offered to the Coast Guard Conference Bill that would Thwart Offshore Renewable Energy Development in the United States.

Below please find a statement from Senate Energy & Natural Resources Chairman Pete V. Domenici regarding the inclusion of any provision in the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act Conference Report that would block renewable energy projects from going forward:

"The Energy Policy Act of 2005 reflects a strong bipartisan commitment in this Congress to expand America's use of renewable energy. Our bill included incentives for the production of energy from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydropower sources. I consider those provisions vital to our energy security, our economy and our environment. The bill also gives authority to the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Coast Guard and other relevant federal agencies, to site renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf. We require the Secretary to consult with any affected state and local governments.

"I urge conferees to resist any attempt to include provisions in the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act that run contrary to the intent of the energy bill. I certainly urge them not to act contrary to our nation's growing preference for clean, America-made renewable energy. In particular, I think would it be a very bad idea to give states veto authority over the siting of renewable energy projects on federal land in a bid to stop a particular project. In the energy bill, we gave states a strong voice and a key role in siting renewable projects on the OCS. That is sufficient. It would be folly for us in Congress to talk about breaking our addiction to foreign oil and, at the same time, pass laws that stymie our own production of clean and renewable energies here at home. We can't have it both ways."

From Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM):

"I oppose attempts to include anti-renewable energy provisions in the Coast Guard conference report. Congress would be wrong to go along with any such proposal, for several reasons.

"First, a fair process to review renewable energy projects in Federal waters already exists. A regulatory review of the Cape Wind project is underway. To invent a new regulatory process designed simply to deliver a negative result would chill future investment in renewable energy. We need more energy sources like wind to moderate the high prices that Americans are paying for electricity, natural gas and home heating oil.

"Furthermore, if a special-interest provision to veto a single project by earmark in a conference report succeeded, it would make a mockery not only of all the statements in Congress about the need to strengthen America's domestic energy security, but also our statements advocating lobbying reform in Washington. I hope we can move forward with a clean bill to reauthorize important Coast Guard programs and not hold them up for such an unjustifiable provision."