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Johnson: Committee Passes Energy Security Legislation
Contact:Julianne Fisher - 202-224-1638 Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Washington, DC—U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) announced today that the Senate Energy Committee has passed the American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009, which would help expand energy development in South Dakota and increase production of low-cost electricity. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support.
“Clean energy is good for our state and good for rural America. It will help create jobs and transition our economy away from foreign sources of energy,” said Johnson. “I am proud to join with members of the Senate Energy Committee to craft legislation that includes ideas from both sides of the aisle while ensuring states like South Dakota play a vital role in 21st century energy development.”
The legislation contains important South Dakota priorities including:
Expands the Market for Renewable Energy
The bill creates the first nationwide renewable electricity standard (RES) requiring electric utilities to purchase or produce up to 15 percent of electricity output by 2021 from renewable electricity sources, such as wind, biomass or solar. South Dakota possesses optimal wind resources and a nationwide RES will drive electric utilities, wind energy companies along with clean energy suppliers and distributors to create jobs in the state by constructing new wind energy projects.
Removes Hurdles to Constructing High-Voltage Electric Transmission Lines
The bill establishes a planning process to identify how to construct an electric grid “backbone” across state lines and within regions of the country. To ensure that these plans just don’t sit on a shelf gathering dust, the bill reforms the process for citing interstate electric transmission lines to reduce the likelihood that high-voltage lines crossing several states are stymied by delays.
Increases Domestic Energy Security
The legislation authorizes oil and gas exploration in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, with access to the Destin Dome, an area rich in supplies of clean-burning natural gas. This area is estimated to include 21.5 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable natural gas.
Ensures a Future for Low-Cost Electricity Production
Also included in the bill is a ground-breaking commitment to launching a set of carbon capture and storage projects by establishing a set of qualifying criteria for the safe storage of carbon dioxide from industrial facilities and coal and natural gas power plants. A functioning and efficient carbon capture network is crucial to ensuring a future for fossil fuel power plants while taking needed action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions causing global climate change.
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