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Senate Passes Comprehensive Energy Package

Includes Several Thune Provisions to Boost Renewable Energy

June 22, 2007

Washington, D.C. —  The U.S. Senate late last night passed H.R. 6, the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007, which included several provisions championed by Senator John Thune to invigorate the development of renewable energy sources, such as wind and ethanol.

"Last night's vote in the Senate is an important step forward for our country on the path to energy independence," Thune said. "America's vulnerable energy supply, which comes largely from unstable regions like the Middle East and Venezuela, poses not only a dangerous threat to our national security, but is driving gas prices to record prices across the country.

"I was pleased to secure several measures in the final package that will help renewable energy sources like wind and ethanol continue to take root and become viable energy alternatives for American consumers. I will continue to work to promote renewable energy as a means of weaning ourselves off of foreign oil and becoming more energy independent."

Senator Thune successfully worked to include the following provisions in the CLEAN Energy Act of 2007:

Increasing Alternative Fuel Infrastructure. Senator Thune's Alternative Energy Refueling Systems Act provides for increased energy security for Americans by providing incentives for gas station owners across the country to install alternative fuel tanks.

  • Provides gas station owners with a reimbursement for 30 percent of the costs (not to exceed $30,000) of adding an alternative fuel tank, such as E-85 ethanol, biodiesel, compressed natural gas and hydrogen.

  • Allows gas station owners to receive reimbursement for up to three tanks per facility.

  • Grant funding would come from the penalties that are primarily paid by foreign automakers who violate Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards -- last year's fines generated more than $20 million.

Boosting Transmission Infrastructure. On Tuesday, the Senate passed Senator Thune's amendment, which promotes the development of energy transmission infrastructure for clean, renewable energy. Thune's amendment promotes the creation of energy corridors that would facilitate the transference of wind energy generated in South Dakota to high-demand area.

Dusty Johnson, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, said, "Senator Thune's wind energy provision provides important incentives for the development of wind energy in South Dakota. The legislation also promotes the development of the transmission infrastructure necessary to carry the wind energy produced in South Dakota to large out-of-state markets."

Increased Renewable Fuels Standard. The CLEAN Energy Act boosts the Renewable Fuels Standard from 7.5 billion gallons in 2012 to 36 billion gallons in 2022. Senator Thune has supported this provision since it was first enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Increasing the Renewable Fuels Standard will greatly benefit ethanol production for generations to come - including the development of cellulosic ethanol.

During Thursday's debate on the Energy bill, Senator Thune led the charge in fighting efforts to weaken the increased Renewable Fuels Standard. The Senate defeated this attempt by a vote of 63-31.