Tester to Senate: Act now to address gas prices

Senator criticizes filibuster, supports plan to invest in ‘homegrown energy’

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Senate needs to move forward on plans to lower record gas prices, Senator Jon Tester told his colleagues today on Capitol Hill.

Tester spoke on the floor of the Senate in response to yesterday's failure of legislation that would have taken immediate steps to lower gas prices.  Senate Republicans blocked the measure, which needed 60 votes to move forward.

"Although my Democratic colleagues have produced common sense legislation to deal with this energy crisis, the folks on the other side of the aisle continue to block any reasonable attempt to take effective action," Tester said, noting that his office phones are "ringing off the hook" with calls from Montanans asking for relief.

Tester today highlighted his support for giving more incentives to companies that invest in and develop homegrown energy.  Drilling for new oil, he added, is part "part of the mix of solutions" needed to steer the U.S. away from depending on foreign oil.

Tester urged the Senate to support a plan by Montana Senator Max Baucus to extend tax credits for companies that develop wind, geothermal energy and solar power.  Those credits are due to expire at the end of the year.

Tester also touted the potential of camelina, a plant that doesn't compete with food crops and whose oil can be converted into biodiesel.  Tester inserted a provision in the recently signed Farm Bill to provide federal crop insurance for farmers who want to grow camelina.

"Montana is already leading the way toward a more sustainable energy future," Tester said.  "We need to use the power of the federal government to reach the full potential of these homegrown, renewable energy projects."