Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Craig hails long-awaited passage a crucial step forward

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Senator Larry Craig praised today’s approval of the Energy Bill by a strong, bipartisan majority of the Senate.

“This has been a long, hard, but rewarding trek” Craig said. “Today’s bill constructs a clear path toward greater energy independence through expanded production, new technologies, and conservation. We are one step closer to getting American consumers the much-needed relief from high energy prices.”

A key provision, long advocated by Craig, to reform the nation’s hydroelectric licensing laws, gained the support of Senators Gordon Smith, R-Ore., Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., during Committee consideration. The language will: (1) require more federal resource agency accountability in the hydropower licensing process, and (2) streamline the complex and lengthy relicensing process for hydropower facilities, a major source of electricity generation in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest.

In addition, the bill authorizes a Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) – a nuclear power reactor to be built at the Idaho National Laboratory, to serve as a national test bed for advanced reactor technologies and provide co-generation of hydrogen by nuclear energy.

The bill, which cleared the Senate by a vote of 85-12, also contains unprecedented conservation and efficiency measures, reduces peak electric demand by 2020 by 50,000 MW, and reduces U.S. oil consumption by 1 million barrels of oil per day by 2015. Furthermore, the legislation modernizes and expands the nation’s electricity grid, and encourages the deployment of clean coal technologies and hydrogen technologies aimed at moving America away from its dependence on foreign oil.

The bill will now be reviewed by a conference committee convened to iron out differences between the Senate and House bills. Craig, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, pledged continued advocacy for the bill during conference.

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