Monday, Sept. 8, 2008 | 2:24 p.m.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats, Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Ken Salazar of Colorado, slammed Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, during a conference call with reporters today regarding renewable energy and the Southwest.
“I’ve heard a lot about McCain being a maverick, but when it comes to this issue, he’s toeing the party line,” Reid said, referring to McCain’s stance on off-shore drilling. “All the Republicans and Sen. McCain talk about is drilling. I don’t oppose drilling, but we need a comprehensive approach” to solving U.S. Dependence on foreign oil.
The senators also once again drew comparisons between McCain and President Bush.
Reid said McCain has eight times avoided votes to extend tax credits for renewable energy developers.
“He’s part of the Bush conglomerate to do nothing about energy but talk about drilling,” Reid said.
Salazar said Republicans’ “obstructionist tactics” have prevented the tax credits – which developers say are key to continued growth of the industry – from getting passed out of the Senate. He said failure to pass those tax credits would result in a $19 billion loss in capital investment in renewable energy and the loss of more than 116,000 jobs in 2009 alone.
Reid also said the West – expected to be a major hot spot for renewable energy development – will need to have a close relationship with the federal government to get that clean energy to market over a new web of power lines. Reid said McCain wants to “let big energy companies decide if and when the clean energy will get to market.”