WASHINGTON, July 23 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today he was disappointed that Republican obstructionism forced Senate leaders to abandon plans to pass a comprehensive energy bill this summer to deal with the global warming.
"I am disappointed that because of Republican obstructionism and the need to get 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, the Senate has not been able to go as far as it should in transforming our energy system," Sanders said.
The Senate now plans to pursue a more limited measure focused on responding to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and increase energy efficiency. "While the proposed bill offered by Majority Leader Reid contains important provisions, it goes nowhere near far enough," Sanders said.
Sanders said he is more optimistic about a solar energy bill he proposed, which has 16 cosponsors. He said, "The United States now has the potential to create millions of jobs by moving away from foreign oil and fossil fuels into energy efficiency and such renewable energy sources as wind, solar geothermal and biomass. I'm going to do everything I can to fight for my legislation which would move us toward 10 million solar rooftops in 10 years."
The Senate energy committee on Wednesday voted 13 to 10 for Sanders' bill that would authorize $250 million for competitive grants in 2012 and additional funding through 2021. Along with existing incentives, the program could meet and exceed the goal of installing 10 million solar systems over a 10-year period, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.