Tester outlines new recommendations for America’s energy future

25×25 Action Plan will boost national security, jobs and farm income

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – One of only two working farmers in the U.S. Senate today helped energize a plan that will bring millions of new jobs to America while cutting pollution and reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

On Capitol Hill, Montana Senator Jon Tester joined Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado to unveil the 25×25 Action Plan.  The plan is a list of nearly three dozen recommendations to reach a simple goal—to provide 25% of America's energy supply with renewable resources by the year 2025.

"With resources like biofuel, solar power and the wind that blows across Montana, this is within our reach," Tester said. "Any good plan that cleans up our air, secures our energy supply, helps make us energy independent and puts a few bucks in the back pockets of farmers and ranchers deserves our attention."

More than 400 agricultural, energy, environmental, business and labor groups support the 25×25 goal.  The innovative plan was first brought to Tester's attention by Cascade County Commissioner Peggy Beltrone, who serves on the 25×25 Steering Committee.

"25×25 is a vision that unleashes the power of agriculture and its rural places to strengthen national and economic security," Beltrone said. "As a working farmer, Jon brings a strong, knowledgeable voice to this goal. He understands what it's going to take for us to get there, and he is determined to do it."

In addition to securing America's energy future, a 25×25 future will also:

  • generate $700 billion in new economic activity every year
  • increase farm income by $180 billion
  • create four to five million new jobs
  • reduce oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels per day
  • reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1 billion tons

The 25×25 Action Plan introduced today contains 35 specific recommendations.  They include: expanding research and development of cellulosic biofuels (fuels made from agricultural "waste"), building new infrastructure like transmission lines for delivering renewable energy, and requiring the federal government to use renewable energy.

Tester, a member of the Senate Energy Committee, is one of 25 cosponsors of the Senate's bipartisan 25×25 Resolution, which formally makes the 25×25 vision a national goal.

Last week, Tester traveled hundreds of miles across Montana for his IDEAs (Innovative Development of Energy and Agriculture) tour to explore the state's potential for energy development.  The tour was a fact-finding mission to help Tester craft an energy policy that will rely heavily on Montana's agriculture, natural and renewable resources.