Mid-South News
12:04 am
Thu July 31, 2008

Tennessee Senators Block Renewable Energy Bill While Saying They're Not Against the Bill

Washington, DC – Both Tennessee Senators Wednesday voted to block a bill that would extend federal tax credits for renewable energy production. But in fact, they say are not really against the proposal itself.

Memphis is home to the nation's largest solar panel producer. The company plans to double its output next year. Knoxville is building itself into a city powered by solar energy. Now both projects are slowing down, because federal tax benefits for renewable energy are set to expire by the year's end. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker says his nay vote is not against the renewable industry.

I'm going to vote against everything that's coming up right now that moves us off energy. I support extenders, Corker said.

Energy here means oil. As of now, Democrats say they will allow votes on Republicans' drilling proposals, but Democrats get to make the rules. Republicans don't want to play on the Democrats' terms.

Lamar Alexander is the third ranking Republican in the Senate. He says his party is digging in its heels.

We don't why the Democratic leader wants to move to anything else, when the $4 gasoline is the most important issue facing the country, Alexander said.

Despite the public standoff, leaders from both parties are negotiating privately. The outcome could make or break Tennessee's renewable energy future.