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Sen. Bingaman: We Need To Be More Energy Efficient

Wednesday, 13 Dec 2006 | 11:20 AM ET

The power shift on Capitol Hill, sparked by the mid-term elections, means the government will likely move in new directions when the new U.S. Congress is sworn in this January. How will that affect the nation's energy issues? On “Morning Call,” New Mexico Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman revealed what’s to come when he takes over as Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.Bingaman intends to address the following issues:

- Energy efficiency– he wants to find ways to be more energy efficient in both vehicles and in residences.
- Greenhouse gas emissions and how to control them
- Renewable energy
- How we can use coal and not have emission problems.

Here are some other talking points:

Claman: Nancy Pelosi said she wants to repeal tax breaks for big oil – what do you think?
Bingaman: Some of the tax provisions do need to be repealed… but some were put in to maximize domestic production. No judgment until we look at them closely.

Fueling a New Agenda
Discussing the big energy issues facing the new congress, with Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D) New Mexico, U.S. Senate and CNBC's Liz Claman

Claman: How about alternative energies?
Bingaman: (My) focus is on bio-fuels and what can be done to promote their use. We need to see the extent to which the use of ethanol can be expanded as well as bio-diesel.

Claman: Won't tighter fuel efficiency standards harm America's already beleaguered auto industry?
Bingaman:– We can’t avoid the issue because it will adversely effect America’s auto industry – there are ways to structure this so that our auto industry can compete.

Claman: How about tax breaks for ethanol and MPG standards?
Bingaman: We need to move toward more fuel efficient vehicles – we are much behind the rest of the world in that area. We need to get to the point that we’re using fuel more efficiently – it’s the single step we can take in the short term to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.