Senate committee wades into energy future

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By Roger Snodgrass

While President-elect Obama outlined his economic plans in a major speech on Thursday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held its first hearing of the year on a major component of that plan.

In the text of his speech, Obama laid out a vision of a “clean energy economy,” calling for “doubling the production of alternative energy in the next three years.” He said that American taxpayers would save billions of dollars on energy bills through programs that would modernize 75 percent of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of 2 million American homes and that millions of new jobs would be created “building solar panels and wind turbines, constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings and developing the technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain.”

“Obviously energy policy is very interconnected with the state of our economy,” Sen. Jeff Bingaman said meanwhile in the Capitol.

As New Mexico’s new senior senator and chairman of the committee, he introduced the hearing as a broad overview of energy issues with some blueprints for meeting future energy needs in an environmentally responsible way.