Background: There are two Funds being talked about in the transcript below, the Renewable Energy Trust Fund and the Stabilization Fund. Senators O’Leary, Creem, and Fargo are raised an amendment to try to prevent $35 million from being removed from the Renewable Energy Trust Fund. It proposes for the $35 million to come out of the Stabilization Fund instead. As you can see below, there was minimal debate and Sen. Creem was cut off more than once.
SENATE SESSION-THURSDAY, FEB. 13, 2003
The Senate voted to amendment 3 offered by Sen. O’Leary-Creem-Fargo
Preserving the Renewable Energy Trust Fund
Sen. O’Leary said this amendment says the $35 million transfer proposed in the bill would come from the Stabilization Fund instead of this renewable energy fund. Let’s not betray the trust of the people who sent us here by reaching into ratepayer pockets. This fund is based on a promise, that ratepayers will pay extra to create renewable energy sources. The programs are getting up and running, creating jobs. By grabbing this money we are going back on a commitment we made some years ago.
Sen. Fargo said we have the opportunity with this fund to make it self-sustaining while building and diversifying our economy. But the companies supported with this fund are fragile. We should not short-sightedly take away the support they need. I visited a company last year that has developed bio-reactors that break down greenhouse gasses and turn algae into fuel. We are a state that thrives on innovation and we need to support it.
Sen. Murray said we cannot afford to take anything out of the rainy day fund [i.e. the Stabilization Fund] for ’03. Money has sat in this fund unused and collecting interest. No program will be cancelled or damaged by this diversion. Every account must be looked at and everyone must pitch in.
Sen. Lees said I can’t believe we’re defending grant programs for businesses in our district. Renewable energy – in Sen. O’Leary’s district they’re opposing renewable energy. Most people in here have never had to tighten the belt. Maybe in the good times this is an okay program. But these are hard times, and we can’t be going to people losing their services, we preserved a renewable energy program.
Sen. Creem said with a war coming, renewable energy is not a special interest – it’s in everyone’s interest. Energy prices are skyrocketing. What….
President Travaglini slammed his gavel and said if people wish to remain in the chamber, please listen respectfully, or else depart the chamber.
Sen. Creem said I could start all over – President Travaglini said, “no, no” and mockingly raised his gavel. Sen. Creem continued, I wonder if the minority leader would be willing to tell us what his plan is for us to deal with these skyrocketing prices.
BY VOICE VOTE, AMENDMENT REJECTED.
RENEWABLE ENERGY: Amendment 40 – Sen. Fargo – Preserving the Renewable Energy Trust Fund and the Retention of Manufacturing jobs in the Commonwealth – was REJECTED.
REITS: Amendment 42 – Sen. Fargo – Preserving the Renewable Energy Trust Fund – was rejected.