U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware

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  • Senator Coons gets high marks from League of Conservation Voters

    The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has once again recognized Senator Coons’ strong environmental voting record, awarding him a 92 percent rating for 2013 in their latest National Environmental Scorecard. The scorecard provides objective, factual information about the most important environmental legislation considered by Congress and the corresponding voting records of all members. Senator Coons’ lifetime rating is now 95 percent.

    The 2013 LCV scorecard includes 13 Senate votes that demonstrate Chris’ commitment to addressing important environmental issues affecting Delaware and the nation. Chris scored above the Senate average by 35 percent and Delaware was noted as one of 26 states with an average score above 90, thanks to high scores from all three members of the Delaware congressional delegation.

    At home in Delaware and in the Senate, Chris has been a strong voice for environmental conservation, clean and renewable energy development, and measures to curb and combat the effects of climate change. Over the last year, Chris voted for disaster relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy and investments to make our communities more resilient against future storms, as well as to preserve investments in advanced next generation biofuels by the Department of Defense, the nation’s single largest energy user. He also opposed efforts to block EPA regulation of greenhouse gases for the purpose of combating climate change.

    Chris advocated heavily for the inclusion of strong conservation provisions in the farm bill approved by Congress last week. He has led a letter to the Appropriations Committee for the past three years urging robust funding for farm bill conservation programs.

    For over 40 years, the National Environmental Scorecard issued by LCV has been the nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health, and energy issues. The Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes to be scored.

    Read Senator Coons’ scorecard here: http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/chris-coons

    Download the full report here: http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_SCORE_FINAL_2.3.14.pdf

  • Meeting with the Delaware Farm Bureau

    Photo of Senators Coons and Carper talking to the Delaware Farm Bureau

    Senator Chris Coons met with members of the Delaware Farm Bureau on Tuesday to discuss the past, present, and future of Delaware’s agricultural sector. Senator Tom Carper and Representative John Carney were also in attendance.

    During the meeting, Chris highlighted some of his current work to advance Delaware’s agriculture, including his support for reauthorization of the farm bill. Chris is very supportive of conservation programs in the farm bill, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and is working to protect funding for them. He is also a cosponsor of Senator Debbie Stabenow’s Grow it Here, Make it Here Biobased Manufacturing Act, which would help expand the advanced biofuels and bio-based manufacturing industries, using agricultural goods to make value-added products and create jobs.

    Additionally, Chris discussed his recent visit to Cuba and Colombia in February with several other members of Congress where he promoted Delaware products, including poultry, soybeans, and soft red winter wheat.

    The Farm Bureau meeting occurred on the same day as an announcement by the White House to sharpen efforts to protect the U.S. poultry industry and ensure fair trade policies with India. Chris was a leader in the Senate on this issue, leading a bipartisan group of 19 senators on a letter to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk urging him to resolve India’s longstanding, non-scientifically based restrictions on American poultry.

    Click here to learn more about Chris’ work for supporting and expanding Delaware agriculture.

    Poultry Industry
  • Budget Analysis: Clean energy and innovation

    Legislative AnalysisAs a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Coons has been leading the fight for solutions to promote clean, affordable energy technologies. His analysis of President Obama’s budget proposal included a close review of clean energy programs.

    The budget request for clean energy and environmental programs is on track with last year’s request, although it includes notable increases for certain energy and advanced manufacturing programs.  The blueprint also highlights the need for Congress to extend clean energy tax incentives, something Chris strongly supports.

    Clean energy programs are divided among several agencies, including:

    Department of Energy Programs

    • Energy efficiency and renewable energy programs receive a request for $2.3 billion, an increase of $527 million from FY12.  Notable increases include biomass R&D, wind (including offshore wind), vehicles, advanced manufacturing, and buildings programs.   
    • The request triples funding for groundbreaking research in the transportation sector, which helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  The focus will be on sustainable biofuels, vehicle electrification, and manufacturing advancements.     
    • The budget requests $6 billion for the HOME STAR program, an initiative at the Department of Energy designed to create jobs in existing industries by providing short-term incentives for energy efficiency improvements in residential buildings.

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Energy Programs

    • The budget proposes $6.1 billion in loans to rural electric cooperatives and utilities for clean-energy generation, transmission, and distribution sites in rural communities.
    • The budget also proposes $19 million for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and over $200 million for the development of advanced biofuels.

    Department of the Interior Energy Programs

    • The budget proposal includes $86 million for permitting new renewable energy projects on federal lands and waters, with the goal of permitting 11,000 megawatts on DOI-managed areas by the end of 2013.

    Energy Tax Extenders 

    • The budget request supports the extension of the 1603 Treasury grant program and the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind power.
    • The administration also proposes spending $5 million to extend the 48c manufacturing tax credit which expired in December 2010.
    • The budget includes tax credits mirrored Senator Coons’ Job Creation Through Innovation Act
    • The budget seeks to eliminate $4 million in fossil fuel subsidies, mostly from oil and gas companies.
    Clean Energy
    FY13 Budget
    President Obama
  • SOTU Analysis: Creating clean energy jobs

    State of the UnionIn last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama discussed how developing clean, affordable, alternative energy right here in America would create jobs and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. He said “nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy.”

    In a strategy memo that accompanied the speech, President Obama laid out his plan in a bit more detail.  This included reiterating his goal of ensuring that "by 2035, 80 percent of the nation’s electricity will come from clean sources.” He also made clear that he would help spur clean energy innovation by utilizing the purchasing power of the federal government and by building 10 gigawatts of renewable power on public lands.    

    Clean sources of energy can be anything from wind, solar and hydropower to nuclear and clean coal. Senator Coons has zeroed in on advanced biofuels as a clean source of energy that can benefit Delaware families and businesses, and is taking action to advance this promising opportunity.

    Another key element of the President’s address was his focus on tax credits as a crucial incentive to help spur new energy development and create jobs. Chris has been hard at work on this idea since he first joined the Senate. In fact, one of the tax credits President Obama cited in his address is actually from the first piece of legislation Chris authored, the Job Creation Through Innovation Act.

    Another point of agreement is on energy efficiency. Chris has made this a priority, because as President Obama said last night, “the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy.” The President urged Congress to send him legislation to help manufacturers eliminate energy waste and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. This would serve as a follow up to a program the Administration launched in December, where the government would worked with private sector partners, including two from Delaware, to renovate federal and private sector buildings.  Chris is a strong supporter of these programs, which can help create new jobs for Delawareans.

    Click here to read more about Chris’ work on clean energy innovation.

  • Senator Coons offers support to President’s plan for boosting biofuels industry

    Senator Coons today praised President Obama’s announcement of a partnership between the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy to invest up to $510 million over the next three years to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power military and commercial transportation.

    “If we’re going to shake our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, we’ve got to support emerging alternative energy sources like biofuels,” Senator Coons said. “We hear a lot about the enormous potential biofuels have not only for diversifying our energy consumption but for creating jobs across the country, so it’s important that our actions match our rhetoric and that our government leads the way. But it’s just as important that the private sector keep pace, which is why this creative plan is important.”

    The plan, which you can download as a PDF here, calls for the Department of Energy to invest in the technology necessary for producing biofuels, while the Department of Agriculture takes steps to ensure that biofuel production doesn't harm the food supply. The Navy will use the new biofuels in its fleet.

    You can read more about the announcement here in Politico.

    Department of Energy
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