Thank you for contacting me regarding S. 1863, the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2011 (the NAT GAS Act). I welcome your thoughts and comments.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the NAT GAS Act on November 15, 2011. This legislation would have created a new multi-billion dollar subsidy for the production and use of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. In addition, it would have granted tax credits to producers, users, and refuelers of CNG vehicles. In order to pay for the bill, in later years, the bill would have imposed a new domestic energy tax on consumers.
I am in favor of developing all of our domestic energy sources, including natural gas, but not at the expense of the American taxpayer. On March 13, 2012, the NAT GAS Act was brought up for consideration before the Senate as an amendment to the Senate Highway Bill. I and other Senators expressed concerns about this amendment. It was subsequently rejected by the Senate, and not included in the final legislation.
I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me on any issue that is important to you.
Thank you, Linda. I will participate as a panelist at KAAPA Ethanol's annual event April 8th in Kearney, NE followed by a Car Clinic remote broadcast Saturday, April 9th from KGFW, our Kearney affiliate. Chuck Woodside, Chairman, RFA Board, is KAAPA event organizer and also my guest that Saturday. I invite you and your associates to logon www.WatchBobbyLive.com April 9th 10a - 12n ET to hear Chuck and I promote alternative fuels and take calls from listeners across the nation. Our network reaches grassroots car owners, consumers... voters.
President Obama recorded a video to speak directly to you about his economic recovery plan.
Invite your friends and family to watch the video and learn why our unprecedented challenges require immediate action.
You can even use our email contact importer to make it easy. Don't worry -- we don't hold on to any of the addresses you use.
After you watch the video, watch Gov. Tim Kaine answer questions from ordinary citizens about the plan and share your story about the economic crisis.
We're counting on you to collect the real stories of the challenges Americans are facing during this recession. We need to hear from you how the economic crisis is affecting your life and why the economic recovery plan is important to you and your community.
Once we receive your stories we will make them available to the public to show how critical it is to support the economic recovery plan.
Yesterday began with some devastating news with regard to our economic crisis. But I'm pleased to say it ended on a more positive note.
In the morning, we received yet another round of alarming employment figures – the worst in more than 30 years. Another 600,000 jobs were lost in January. We've now lost more than 3.6 million jobs since this recession began.
But by the evening, Democrats and Republicans came together in the Senate and responded appropriately to the urgency this moment demands.
In the midst of our greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the American people were hoping that Congress would begin to confront the great challenges we face. That was, after all, what last November's election was all about.
Legislation of such magnitude deserves the scrutiny that it's received over the last month, and it will receive more in the days to come. But we can't afford to make perfect the enemy of the absolutely necessary. The scale and scope of this plan is right. And the time for action is now.
Because if we don't move swiftly to put this plan in motion, our economic crisis could become a national catastrophe. Millions of Americans will lose their jobs, their homes, and their health care. Millions more will have to put their dreams on hold.
Let's be clear: We can't expect relief from the tired old theories that, in eight short years, doubled the national debt, threw our economy into a tailspin, and led us into this mess in the first place. We can't rely on a losing formula that offers only tax cuts as the answer to all our problems while ignoring our fundamental economic challenges – the crushing cost of health care or the inadequate state of so many schools; our addiction to foreign oil or our crumbling roads, bridges, and levees.
The American people know that our challenges are great. They don't expect Democratic solutions or Republican solutions – they expect American solutions.
From the beginning, this recovery plan has had at its core a simple idea: Let's put Americans to work doing the work America needs done. It will save or create more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, all across the country – 16,000 in Maine, nearly 80,000 in Indiana – almost all of them in the private sector, and all of them jobs that help us recover today, and prosper tomorrow.
Jobs that upgrade classrooms and laboratories in 10,000 schools nationwide – at least 485 in Florida alone – and train an army of teachers in math and science.
Jobs that modernize our health care system, not only saving us billions of dollars, but countless lives.
Jobs that construct a smart electric grid, connect every corner of the country to the information superhighway, double our capacity to generate renewable energy, and grow the economy of tomorrow.
Jobs that rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges and levees and dams, so that the tragedies of New Orleans and Minneapolis never happen again.
It includes immediate tax relief for our struggling middle class in places like Ohio, where 4.5 million workers will receive a tax cut of up to $1,000. It protects health insurance and provides unemployment insurance for those who've lost their jobs. And it helps our states and communities avoid painful tax hikes or layoffs for our teachers, nurses, and first responders.
That's what is at stake with this plan: putting Americans back to work, creating transformative economic change, and making a down payment on the American Dream that serves our children and our children's children for generations to come.
Americans across this country are struggling, and they are watching to see if we're equal to the task before us. Let's show them that we are. And let's do whatever it takes to keep the promise of America alive in our time.
I am concerned about the high percentage of our oil that comes from foreign countries. Even in December, as the economy was contracting, we imported nearly 70 percent of the oil we used and paid over $19 billion for it.
I am very interested in the aspects of The American Renewal and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) that include the promotion of alternative energy - wind and solar; the building out of a 21st century electrical transmission grid; and incenting trucking companies to upgrade from trucks running on foreign diesel to those running on domestic natural gas.
A Department of Energy study showed that developing our capacity to produce wind energy would not only replace 20 percent of the electricity we now produce using coal-burning plants, but would add 138,000 jobs in the first year and more than 3.4 million over a ten-year span.
Also, if we switch just 350,000 of the 6.5 million heavy trucks running on the nation's Interstate Highways to domestic natural gas from imported diesel, we could cut our oil imports by over five percent. In December alone that would have kept nearly $1 billion from being shipped off shore.
I hope you will join me in supporting these components of the Pickens Plan as H.R. 1 moves toward final passage in the Senate.
P.S. Savings bonds could be help in economic crisis.
While Washington tries to "fix" the banking and Wall Street mess created by subprime "gotcha" adjustable rate mortgages defaulting en masse, many of us are looking for a safer place to put at least some of our retirement, college funds, etc.
And we also want our country to become more energy-independent and our crumbling infrastructure repaired. But with things as they are, how can we accomplish these three objectives? A new form of U.S. Treasury savings bonds could be the answer.
Without U.S. saving bonds, we wouldn't have been able to supply our troops and allies like we did in World War II. If the U.S. Treasury issued energy independence and infrastructure savings bonds that paid an interest rate about 3 percent greater than the annualized FED rate adjusted for inflation, only be redeemable on their anniversary date(s), and what they pay is not taxed when they are redeemed at maturity, all three of these objectives can be achieved without any increase in taxes, especially if these funds were only employed as 1-to-2 matching funds.
Such bonds could increase employment enough to even reduce our taxes. Pass this idea on to your friends and then the politicians.
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Hi Linda, Here is a way to help and give tools to all of us for getting more RE projects started. I have been pushing for the sell of US Treasury "Energy Independence Savings Bonds". Savings bonds are normally purchased in $25 increments. This gives a way for just about any American to tighten their belts just a bit by skipping a meal at McDonalds or Pizza Hut and buying a RE savings bond to support a project. I need help pushing this project, I've faxed and emailed many in Congress/Senate already. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is a copy of a fax sent to Nancy Pelosi yesterday:
Honorable Speaker of the House Congresswoman Pelosi,
I am an Electronic Technician Chief in the US Navy with 27 years service stationed overseas. I’m outlying an idea to assist and work with current plans for achieving energy independence. I urge you, as speaker of the house and the driving force to form the select committee on energy independence and global warming, consider for discussion and introduction into the house US Treasury Savings Bonds for Energy Independance.
In WWII America sold war bonds supporting the war effort. When young, my mother told me her primary school raised enough money through bonds to build a tank to support troops. I am impressed with the patriotism and purpose of our greatest generation that accomplished so much.
Selling energy bonds for RE (Renewable Energy) development would lower foreign oil imports and assist with the complex problem of funding. Bonds sold as “Energy S” could support new solar trough plants, “Energy W” to support wind farms, Energy “H” to support hydroelectric plants, Energy “T” to support RE transportation such as electric bullet train routes powered by RE, Energy "C" COOPS for small communities only needing a small quantity of turbines, and Energy “I” for needed infrastructure high voltage power lines to the RE site. Bonds will have the project name and include an artist’s perspective of the project and an American flag. President Obama had great success with the internet during his campaign. In a similar manner, using the internet, energy bonds could have a website listing current projects and an “electronic checkout” could purchase a bond $25 or higher. Simpler methods of payment such as “PAYPAL” and credit cards would be available and after an electronic purchase is complete a color print out of the bond is available with a follow up of the bond in the mail. The website would limit quantity of projects for each category until funding is complete. After a project becomes funded, a new project will be available. A tab on the site will show history and status of previous projects. Purchasers may take great pride in “collecting” and displaying bonds of various RE projects and participating at different levels of financial support. Solar trough plants in the multi-hundred MW size capacity with molten salt energy storage in California, Arizona, and West Texas can provide a major portion of electric needs. North Dakota has potential to support 1/3 of our nations electric needs in it’s class 4 wind zone areas. There are plenty of suitable proposed wind turbine farms now around the nation to significantly increase our RE if funded. Mid sized hydro-electric has not been used in America to it’s full potential. Following the example of our neighbor, Canada, it would provide a significant increase in percentage of electric production. Developing all three we could provide the majority of our electric and heating needs through renewable energy in a "New New Deal" fashion allowing natural gas for transportation as T. Boone Pickens is working for. Bullet train routes have proven a viable alternative to commercial domestic air service and when powered by electricity provided by RE suppliers America would be in the forefront of world technology. Example, I heard of discussion for a commuter train from Denver to Colorado Springs. Such a route built as a renewable energy project with charter requirement legally requiring to only purchase electricity from available renewable energy sources would be a model example. There are many train routes, city bus systems, and government vehicles that can be converted to run from alternative energy sources and fuels. Jobs created would bolster the economy, lower trade deficit, and strengthen national security. I would take great pride in print outs of bonds with graphics of each project I supported and many other Americans would also. The energy bonds could have tax breaks. BLM lands may be a viable place to start for some projects.
I contacted the US treasury department and was told that the marketing department for savings bonds closed several years ago. I was told there would be problems because savings bonds are at the federal level while the projects will be at the state and local level. I disagree and believe that these can easily be figured out in the way of grants to the state and local level using money from the bonds for those specific projects. I was told to check out auctions on the www.treasurydirect.gov website and found them to not apply to citizens wanting to buy savings bonds to support a cause such as energy independance. I was told by the treasury department to look into CREB (Clean Renewable Energy Bonds). I found CREB to be large scale funding that a citizen would not be able to participate in as a US Treasury Energy Independance Bond would provide. If given the tools to participate directly, the power of the citizens of the United States to help achieve energy independance could not be denied. Americans mean well and the Energy Independance Savings bond program will give citizens the power at their level to make it happen. If marketed through a web page, commercials, and to federal employees the word would get out and participation would spread like wildfire.
Mr. Paul Gipe, a resident of Bakersfield CA, an author of several books about wind energy, and recipient of multiple awards as a pioneer in the industry since the 1970's has put a letter I wrote to Senator Dorgan on this subject as well as an older letter I wrote on wind COOP in JAN07. These websites are: