|Terry's Energy Provisions Included in Energy Bill|
WASHINGTON - Late Wednesday evening, Congressman Lee Terry (NE-02) and the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a comprehensive national energy plan. By a vote of 39-16, Terry and the committee approved the energy bill which will be considered by the House next week.
As a member of the House panel, Terry helped to author and amend the massive energy legislation that aims to limit our dependence on foreign sources of oil, ensure the use of clean and affordable sources of renewable energy, and diversify the nation's energy portfolio. The House energy bill includes five provisions that were included in separate pieces of legislation introduced by Terry earlier this year.
"The time for debate is over," Terry said. "Four years of partisan stall tactics are enough. Passing this bipartisan, comprehensive energy bill is one of the most important things we can do to help the American economy - especially the rural economy of the Midwest. This bill will help us lower energy costs over the long term, while allowing us to grow our economy and reduce our reliance on foreign oil. For the sake of our economy and national security, we must do all three."
During the House panel's markup of the bill, Terry successfully offered two amendments - one to accelerate the transition to a hydrogen economy, and a second to expand the renewable energy program for public power generators.
Terry's amendment to nearly double the authorized funding for the bill's hydrogen research and development program from $2.15 billion to $4.05 billion over five years was accepted by voice vote. Under this hydrogen program, funds would go to advance automotive, stationary and portable fuel cells, as well as refueling infrastructure and hydrogen production. Omaha is home to several stationary fuel cells including those at Henry Doorly Zoo, the First National Bank building in downtown Omaha, and Offutt Air Force Base.
Terry's amendment to expand renewable energy makes livestock methane an eligible source under the renewable energy incentives program for public power generators, such as OPPD and NPPD. Terry said that across the nation, several electric cooperatives and public power providers are working with livestock producers to convert methane output from farm manure digesters to electricity - and that this not only provides clean generation, but also helps address the challenges of livestock odor and manure runoff.
These Terry amendments are in addition to other provisions authored by Mr. Terry that were already in the original draft of the energy bill which expand the nation's natural gas supply via more liquefied natural gas; establish a new fuel cell incentive program to provide on-site power production to homes and businesses; and encourage the use of more energy efficient building materials.
During the committee action, Terry fought an attempt to strip the energy bill's five-billion-gallon renewable fuel standard (RFS), a new program that would boost the use of ethanol and biodiesel made from Nebraska corn, sorghum, and soybeans. During the debate, Terry called "home grown fuel" essential to America's energy security. The attempt to strip the RFS from the bill failed.
"This energy bill is perhaps the most important legislation we will deal with in the 109th Congress," Terry said. "The lack of a comprehensive energy plan is hurting our families and our economy. Congress has waited too long to pass a comprehensive energy plan. Americans do not want to hear any more excuses. It is time for members of both sides of Capitol Hill to roll up their sleeves and finish the job."