Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ford Plan: First Step Towards Energy Independence

WASHINGTON – Congressman Harold Ford’s legislation for reduced independence on foreign oil and increased conservation through the production of hybrid and advanced diesel vehicles passed the House in its final version today and is poised to become law.

Ford’s legislation, in the form of an amendment to this year’s energy bill, originally passed the House on April 21. The final version, which reconciled differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, overwhelmingly passed the House today and is expected to pass the Senate soon, leaving it to await the President’s signature to become law.

"Hybrid and advanced diesel technology is critical to achieve national energy independence, for the sake of our economy, national security and environment," Ford said. "By providing incentives for our country’s car and truck manufacturers to develop the next generation of fuel efficient vehicles, this initiative will create hi-tech jobs vital to maintaining the nation’s competitiveness in the global economy.

"This is welcome news for Tennessee and our thriving auto and truck manufacturing sectors. It is particularly helpful for towns like Smyrna, home to 6,700 men and women making Nissan’s next-generation hybrid vehicles; Spring Hill, home of 5,700 workers at the Saturn plant; and Madison, home of 1,300 workers manufacturing at least 60 large trucks a year at the Peterbilt Plant."

Ford worked with fellow Tennesseans Senator Lamar Alexander and Congressman Bart Gordon, each of whom sit on their respective energy committees, to ensure that the conferees appointed to negotiate the final version of the energy bill extended the production incentives to all car and truck manufacturers so long as they produce the vehicles domestically. This ensures that foreign-model vehicles produced in the U.S. qualify for these grants and incentives, benefiting communities like Smyrna.

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