A new piece of energy legislation called the Breaking Our Long-Term Dependence (BOLD) Energy Act was recently introduced by Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota. The bill has several stipulations involving alternative fuels and would delegate $40 billion to new energy initiatives over the next five years. The BOLD Energy Act’s goals are to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign oil, expand production and use of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles, encourage responsible development of domestic fossil fuel resources, reward consumers and businesses for conservation and energy efficiency, and promote the development of renewable energy resources for electricity production.
Senator Conrad’s legislation includes a requirement that the country’s ethanol use increase from 4.7 billion gallons in 2007 to 30 billion gallons by 2025. It is hoped that this will strengthen the ethanol market and boost the economy of farming states. In addition, the BOLD Energy Act would establish a new biodiesel standard of 250 million gallons in 2008, increasing to 2 billion gallons in 2015. Senator Conrad believes that this would create more demand for the fuel and result in the building of additional biodiesel manufacturing plants.
“It’s time to look to the Midwest rather than the Mid East for our energy,” Senator Conrad said.
The bill also encourages the manufacture and purchase of fuel efficient and flexible-fuel vehicles. It would provide consumers with rebates of up to $2,500 for the purchase of such a vehicle. Automakers would become eligible to receive a 35 percent tax credit or retiree health care grants for installing the advanced technologies.
Finally, the BOLD Energy Act would establish a $500-million grant program to fund the development of coal-to-liquid fuel technology. This money would support the construction of ten coal-to-liquid fuel plants. By using domestic coal to make fuel in these facilities, Senator Conrad claims that the nation’s dependence on foreign oil would be reduced by 219 million barrels a year.
“Our dependence on foreign oil threatens our national security and our economy,” said Senator Conrad. “It is time to do more than talk about this threat. It is time for a bold plan to end our nation’s addiction to foreign sources of energy.”