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Alternative energy package advances

A panel chaired by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus on Tuesday approved an energy-tax package designed to boost alternative energy production and conservation - partially at the expense of big oil-and-gas producers. "This is a significant victory in our efforts to become more energy independent," said Baucus, D-Mont., who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. "We have more to do to address climate change, lower gas prices at the pump and wean America off of foreign sources of energy." The Finance Committee approved the $28.5 billion, 10-year tax package, which is expected to become part of a larger energy bill before the U.S. Senate this week. The package includes tax credits to encourage production of wind power, solar power, gas-electric hybrid cars, biodiesel fuel and "cellulosic" ethanol, which is produced from agricultural waste products.

A panel chaired by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus on Tuesday approved an energy-tax package designed to boost alternative energy production and conservation - partially at the expense of big oil-and-gas producers.

"This is a significant victory in our efforts to become more energy independent," said Baucus, D-Mont., who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. "We have more to do to address climate change, lower gas prices at the pump and wean America off of foreign sources of energy."

The Finance Committee approved the $28.5 billion, 10-year tax package, which is expected to become part of a larger energy bill before the U.S. Senate this week.

The package includes tax credits to encourage production of wind power, solar power, gas-electric hybrid cars, biodiesel fuel and "cellulosic" ethanol, which is produced from agricultural waste products.

It also has incentives for energy-efficient homes and buildings, as well as coal-related energy production that "captures" at least 65 percent of its carbon-dioxide emissions.

Both Baucus and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking Republican on the panel, said the tax breaks need to be offset by tax increases elsewhere - and that the increases will be... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A panel chaired by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus on Tuesday approved an energy-tax package designed to boost alternative energy production and conservation - partially at the expense of big oil-and-gas producers.

"This is a significant victory in our efforts to become more energy independent," said Baucus, D-Mont., who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. "We have more to do to address climate change, lower gas prices at the pump and wean America off of foreign sources of energy."

The Finance Committee approved the $28.5 billion, 10-year tax package, which is expected to become part of a larger energy bill before the U.S. Senate this week.

The package includes tax credits to encourage production of wind power, solar power, gas-electric hybrid cars, biodiesel fuel and "cellulosic" ethanol, which is produced from agricultural waste products.

It also has incentives for energy-efficient homes and buildings, as well as coal-related energy production that "captures" at least 65 percent of its carbon-dioxide emissions.

Both Baucus and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking Republican on the panel, said the tax breaks need to be offset by tax increases elsewhere - and that the increases will be paid by large oil-and-gas producers.

The package repeals a tax deduction for larger oil-and-gas companies and extends an excise tax on oil used to clean up oil spills.

"We have entered a new era in energy markets," Grassley said in a statement. "This new era requires a dramatic shift away from tax incentives for oil-and-gas production that are enjoyed by multinational corporations."

The package also includes $3.6 billion in payments to rural school districts in "timber-dependent" communities, to compensate them for declining timber payments from national forest timber sales.

In his statement presenting the package to the Finance Committee Tuesday morning, Baucus said the tax incentives are designed to address soaring energy costs for consumers and global warming.

Details of the energy package include:

n A five-year extension of the current tax credit for wind-power production, helping make wind energy affordable for consumers.

n Tax incentives for new transmission lines and projects that will encourage production of wind power and other "renewable" energy.

n Another $3.6 billion in "renewable energy bonds," a federal program that grants bonding authority to local governments and other entities to finance small energy projects, such as windmills.

n A tax credit ranging from $2,500 to $8,000 for high-mileage "hybrid" gas-electric cars.

n A credit of up to $1.11 per gallon for production of cellulosic ethanol, which is produced by sawgrass, agricultural waste and other biomass. Most ethanol currently is produced by corn.

Grassley said oil-and-gas companies may complain about the loss and/or lack of their tax credits in the bill, and say those increases will be passed on to consumers. Such a claim "is not well-founded," he said, and should be rejected.

"The major (oil and gas companies) are projected to collect up to a trillion dollars in profits over the next 10 years," Baucus added. "We do not foresee that our offset will substantially change these companies' incentive to produce energy."



Source: http://www.helenair.com/art...

JUN 20 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/9567-alternative-energy-package-advances
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