Tester says Energy Bill ‘a step in the right direction’

Legislation invests in renewable energy, promotes efficiency

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) –Senator Jon Tester, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today highlighted provisions in the 2007 Energy Bill that will create jobs, secure our country through energy independence, and seriously invest in renewable energy.

The legislation, which Tester had a key role in writing, overwhelmingly passed the Senate last night 86-8.


“I’m pleased to see the Senate hunkered down and worked together to get this done,” Tester said.  “This bill is going to make America cleaner, more efficient and help wean us from our addiction to foreign oil while bringing development and jobs to rural Montana.  Our state can—and will—be a major player in America’s energy future and this bill is a good first step.”


The 2007 Energy Bill emphasizes biofuels and alternative energy development, it limits climate change and promotes energy efficiency.  Tester said Montana will see:


  • Biofuels—The 2007 Energy Bill mandates that 36 billion gallons of fuel a year will come from biofuels by 2022.
  • Carbon Capture Research Initiative—The 2007 Energy Bill authorizes the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership and will help steer resources toward the Bozeman-based organization that researches the capture and storage of carbon.
  • Geothermal Energy—The 2007 Energy Bill authorizes the creation of a geothermal energy program in the Department of Energy which will continue to study and invest in power generation from geothermal resources (like hot springs) at the federal level.  Senator Tester co-sponsored this legislation and in October hosted a delegation of experts and investors from Iceland to discuss Montana’s geothermal energy potential.
  • Automobile Efficiency—The 2007 Energy Bill requires automakers to boost the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, while allowing different standards for light trucks and exempting heavy work vehicles.
  • Energy Efficiency—The 2007 Energy Bill includes aggressive measures to improve energy efficiency of buildings and appliances and phase out incandescent light bulbs. 


The Energy Bill, which had twice been blocked by Republican leaders, was stripped of a renewable electricity standard and funding for the Secure Rural Schools program by the GOP.


A renewable electricity standard requires a percentage of energy to come from renewable resources.  Secure Rural Schools provides critical funding to rural counties—including 34 in Montana—that have lost revenue due to declining timber sales on federal lands.


“While I think this is a step in the right direction, with three-dollar gas and record home heating costs America needs to take great strides into our energy future,” Tester said.  “I’m disappointed that Washington Republicans used Secure Rural Schools as a pawn in their political games.  I’ll continue to fight with Max to make sure timber producing counties get the money they deserve.”

The compromise legislation now heads to the House where a vote is expected next week.