Gov Richardson to Congress: Energy Bill Does Not Go far Enough

DES MOINES, IOWA -- New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, campaigning today in Iowa, issued the following statement regarding energy legislation passed last night by the US Senate. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.

"The Senate's energy bill makes progress, but not nearly enough. I especially congratulate Senator Feinstein and conservationists who finally got SUV's included in the fuel economy standard. But overall it's another band-aid approach, not the comprehensive medical treatment our nation's energy policy needs.

The fuel economy standards will not spur serious technological innovation and change. They are still far below those of Japan, China, and Europe. To be world leaders, the United States has to be serious about fuel economy.

The Senate's failure to adopt even a 15% renewable electricity requirement is another failure. The future lies in sustainable, renewable energy and both the Congress and the President are failing to prepare for the future.

Finally, although the bill's proponents are correct that these changes will reduce some of our nation's global warming pollution, we need a clear commitment to more aggressive emissions reductions throughout the economy.

The nation needs a president who's willing to be bold, to act now. High gasoline prices, and our dependence on oil, imported or not, will hardly be dented by a bill like this. The country is wasting energy and its economic wealth buying foreign oil and expensive energy. We need more competition and choice for consumers -- not more of the same.

A comprehensive, integrated approach to climate and energy policy will include at least these elements BY 2020:

  1. Sharp incentives for making the plug-in car 50% of the auto market, giving consumers the option to fuel up at a fraction of the cost of gasoline;
  2. A 50 mpg fuel economy standard for conventionally fueled vehicles, helping stimulate technologies that save fuel and save consumers gas money;
  3. A 30% renewable energy requirement, which will help fuel our plug-in cars and will cause the retirement of dirty old coal plants;
  4. A 20% improvement in energy efficiency across the board;
  5. A climate change cap and trade program that auctions rights for industries and utilities to emit carbon at lower and lower levels -- at least 20% less by 2020, and 80% less by 2040.

This set of goals represents an integrated, comprehensive, and aggressive approach that will strengthen our economy, our national security, and our commitment to protecting the climate. Yesterday's action is only a baby step in that direction. We need strides, not baby steps.

I urge the House to seize this opportunity and to pass legislation that implements the kind of real change and progress that are needed and the American people support."