Reid backs alternative energy bill to decrease foreign oil dependence |

Reid backs alternative energy bill to decrease foreign oil dependence

Adam Jensen

U.S. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada called oil company profits “outlandish” on Monday and pushed for renewable energy legislation as a way to expand Nevada’s economy and decrease the nation’s reliance on foreign oil.

Reid described the Renewable Energy Tax Bill as a “good, not perfect” bi-partisan bill with the potential to create 3,300 new jobs in many rural parts of the state.

“We’re surrounded by energy. Every day energy is being wasted,” Reid said during a conference call on Monday. “I see Nevada as being a leader. Anything that we do to add incentives to renewables is a gold mine for Nevada.”

The bill would provide tax credits for the use of alternative energy, geothermal exploration, small wind energy projects, solar electricity investment, efficient homes and the development of advanced batteries.

Another portion of the bill would provide $90 million dollars in zero-interest bonds to Nevada schools to purchase renewable energy products.

Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, which provide tax credits for renewable energy products and are scheduled to end in late 2008, would also be extended until 2019 and similar bonds for water conservation would be created if the bill passes.

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“Anything we do to lessen our dependence on foreign oil strengthens our national security,” Reid said.

After advocating the legislation on Monday, the senator called on oil companies to build more refineries to reduce costs to customers, noting the 21 million barrels of oil the U.S. consumes each day is enough to fill a 10-foot-deep, 11-mile-long trench.

Reid said the Renewable Energy Tax Bill is working its way through committees this week and could be voted on by early next week.