Recent Press Releases

Partisan Obstruction Holds Thune Bill Hostage

Legislation Would Boost Alternative Fuels

September 20, 2006

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune (R-SD) today spoke on the Senate Floor urging his Democrat colleagues to work together to pass his bipartisan legislation to expand alternative fuel infrastructure, which is currently being blocked by an anonymous Democrat hold.

Senators Thune and Ken Salazar (D-CO) introduced the Alternative Fuel Grant Program to provide grants (up to $30,000) to gas stations owners across the country for the installation of alternative fuel pumps, giving consumers greater opportunities to opt for cleaner, more environment-friendly fuels such as E-85 ethanol, compressed natural gas or bio-diesel, in an effort to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil. The legislation, also cosponsored by Senators Jim Talent (R-MO), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Kent Conrad (D-ND), has been offered as a substitute to H.R. 5534, which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives July 24th by a vote of 355 to 9.

The Thune/Salazar substitute to H.R. 5534 has been blocked for over a month by an anonymous Democrat hold, despite the fact that it has wide bipartisan support in the Senate; was cleared by the relevant Senate committees; overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives; and enjoys the support of the nation's leading automakers, agriculture groups, and alternative energy organizations (support letters attached).

"As all of my colleagues know, the American public has been calling on Congress to address our nation's over-dependence on foreign sources of oil. The Alternative Fuel Grant Program Senator Salazar and I have proposed would greatly increase the availability of alternative fuels, such as E-85, compressed natural gas, and bio-diesel, allowing more American consumers to fill up using cleaner, more cost-effective fuels that are better for the environment and made here in America. However, for some unknown reason some of my Democrat colleagues have placed secret holds on this non-controversial bill.

"In light of the clear message from the American public that they want Congress to do more to increase the availability of alternative fuels, I hope my Democrat colleagues will drop any objections so this measure can be passed by the Senate and sent to the President for his signature."