Senators Cornyn and Hutchison Block Oil-Saving Clean Energy Tax Incentives

AUSTIN - Environment Texas rebuked Texas Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison for their votes today blocking consideration by the Senate of a package of tax incentives for clean energy.

“At a time when Texans are struggling with high gas prices, Senators Cornyn and Hutchison blocked a crucial package of clean energy tax incentives that would have reduced our oil dependence, reduced energy costs, curbed global warming pollution and helped maintain Texas' wind energy boom," said Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger. 

S. 3335, the Jobs, Energy, Families, and Disaster Relief Act of 2008 contains new incentives for plug in electric hybrid vehicles that are capable of achieving 100 miles per gallon.  If all vehicles were plug in electric hybrids, we could reduce our oil consumption by 55%, nearly eliminating oil imports.  At today’s gasoline prices, the average American driver would save $1500 a year in fuel costs by switching to a plug in hybrid.

The bill also extends incentives for investment and production of clean renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy.  By diversifying our energy mix and reducing our dependence on coal, natural gas and oil, these technologies will help reduce consumer energy costs and are critical to jump starting the clean energy economy we will need to solve global warming.  As one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., the clean energy industry is a shining light in an otherwise lackluster economy. Unfortunately the renewable energy production tax credit and the solar investment tax credit are set to expire at the end of this year and investors are beginning to pull out of projects. According to a recent study by Navigant Consulting, failure to promptly extend renewable energy tax incentives places at risk 116,000 jobs in the wind and solar industries and more than $19 billion in clean energy investment.

Finally, the bill extends incentives for money-saving energy efficiency measures, including tax credits for weatherizing homes and purchasing more efficient appliances. 

"There has never been a more important time jump start a clean energy economy," said Metzger. "Our current dependence on oil is a major economic, environmental and national security threat.  To solve this problem we need to dramatically reduce oil consumption by shifting to more efficient vehicles, and giving consumers alternatives to driving.  We are extremely disappointed that Senators Cornyn and Hutchison rejected even this basic first step towards reducing our dependence on oil."