Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
– U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) will vote in support of the Energy bill which is expected to pass the Senate today. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives. The legislation has been a top priority for President Bush since taking office in 2001 and he is expected to sign it into law.
The energy bill is a comprehensive national energy policy that seeks to balance domestic energy production with conservation and efficiency efforts. It will also make us less dependent on foreign sources of oil.
“This is the biggest legislative breakthrough we have had since I have been in the Senate,” said Graham. “The passage of the energy bill will make us less dependent on Middle East oil, expand and diversify our energy resources, and provide billions for hydrogen research.”
Graham noted the legislation contains more than $3.5 billion in funding over the next 5 years for hydrogen research. The hydrogen provision in the bill was largely based upon language authored by Graham and North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) which was introduced in the Senate earlier this year.
“Our state is a national leader in hydrogen research,” said Graham. “USC is developing fuel cells, Clemson is working on hydrogen vehicles, and Savannah River Site (SRS) is a leading research facility on hydrogen technologies. What Detroit was to the automotive industry, South Carolina can be to hydrogen.”
South Carolina is on the cutting edge of hydrogen research and hydrogen holds the potential to be the new fuel for the 21st Century,” said Graham. “We’ve got research initiatives going on across the state and we’re on the ground floor in cutting-edge hydrogen research. The legislation will benefit our state by helping push further in hydrogen research.”
Graham also praised the nuclear energy provisions in the bill.
“This is the biggest move forward for nuclear power in decades by providing tax incentives and research funding to build 21st Century reactors,” said Graham. “Nuclear energy is a clean source of power and one we need to utilize more in the coming years.”
“Unfortunately, changes in energy policy will not mean people at the pump will see an immediate decrease in their gas prices,” said Graham. “Like President Bush has said, ‘I wish I could just wave a wand and lower the price at the pump.’ It’s taken a while for us to get into this situation and it will take a while to begin working our way out. This bill is a big step in the right direction. It meets the major objectives of producing and conserving more energy, diversifying our energy supply, and employing the latest technology to deliver energy. ”