WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski last night joined her Senate colleagues in passing far-reaching energy legislation. The legislation aims to increase energy efficiency and conservation, while expanding the development of alternative and renewable energy. The bill requires average vehicle fuel economy standards of 35 mpg by 2020 and raises the renewable fuel standard to require the production of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022, of which only 15 billion gallons can come from corn-based ethanol. It also provides grants for renewable electricity projects and assists construction of the Alaska Gas Pipeline by giving the pipeline coordinator’s office the authority to hire staff and assess applicant fees more quickly. “As we look to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy we need a balance of energy conservation, efficiency and production from traditional and renewable sources,” said Senator Murkowski. “While this bill is not a complete solution to the energy challenges facing our nation, it does make major advances in aid for renewable energy and promotes greater energy efficiency in vehicles, buildings and appliances. I am hopeful that now that the Senate has agreed to significant conservation through an increase in CAFE and has agreed to provide for investments in renewable energy that we will address the third critical aspect of energy policy by increasing domestic production.” The bill includes a Renewable Energy Construction Grant program authored by Senator Murkowski that will provide federal grants up to 50 percent of the cost of building various renewable electricity projects. In addition, Murkowski co-authored another provision authorizing $50 million a year in federal aid to ocean energy development. Senator Murkowski sponsored an additional provision to support the use of more energy efficient appliances in cold weather states, which encourages the manufacturing of appliances that can run off both conventional and renewable energy, and gives tax credits to buyers under the national “Energy Star” program. The legislation also requires further research into carbon capture and storage, including a study to find underground geologic sites for the storage of carbon dioxide. ###