SHAHEEN: TIME IS NOW TO BRING ENERGY EFFICIENCY BILL TO FLOOR FOR A VOTE

July 31, 2012

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor to urge Congress to bring forward her bipartisan energy efficiency legislation for a vote. Introduced with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 1000) would help businesses create jobs and consumers reduce energy costs by creating a national energy efficiency strategy. According to a recent study by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, by 2020 the legislation could save consumers $4 billion per year and help businesses add 80,000 American jobs.

Shaheen recently started a campaign encouraging constituents to show their support for the bill through an online petition. In only a matter of days, the petition has already collected over 4,600 signatures. Shaheen also garnered up support through Thunderclap, a new technology platform that allowed a simultaneous social media message to be posted from more than 120 Facebook and Twitter users who called for the bill to be brought forward.

Below are Shaheen’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

I’d like talk about an amendment I recently filed to the Cyber Security Act of 2012 with my colleague Senator Rob Portman, which provides a great opportunity to create jobs in America.

It’s one that I will continue to file to legislation considered by the Senate until we’re able to get some action on our bipartisan proposal.

The amendment is the text of S.1000, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, a bipartisan bill with broad stakeholder support that will create a national energy efficiency strategy for the United States.

It’s the same language Senator Portman and I filed to the Bring Jobs Home Act and the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, and one that we will continue to file until our bill is given the opportunity for a floor vote.

Our legislation is based on two important premises that many, if not everyone, in this Chamber already know.

First, the American public desperately wants Congress to work together in a bipartisan way to address our nation’s energy crisis and help grow the economy.

Second, energy efficiency is the fastest, cheapest way to meet our energy challenges while also creating jobs.

The evidence that the American public wants to see the Senate act on energy efficiency legislation is overwhelming.  Last week, I started an online campaign requesting signatures to a petition that calls on Senate Leadership to bring our bill to the floor.  The petition urges an immediate bipartisan agreement that will allow for a vote on the Shaheen-Portman proposal.

In only a matter of days, I’ve already collected over 4,600 signatures from supporters across the country and this number continues to steadily grow.  Anyone interested in signing the petition and learning more about the many benefits of energy efficiency can easily do so my visiting my website at www.shaheen.senate.gov.  

While drafting the bill, Senator Portman and I met with a number of stakeholders to better understand the obstacles that the private sector faces deploying energy efficiency technologies.  This included discussions with companies from energy-intensive industries, trade groups representing the real estate community, environmental advocates and financing organizations.

The feedback we received about ways to remove these barriers and drive the adoption of energy efficient technologies became the basis for our legislation.

As a result, we have a bill that provides a variety of low-cost tools that will speed our nation’s transition to a more energy efficient economy.

The bill addresses three major areas of U.S. energy use:

o    Residential and commercial buildings, which consume 40 percent of all energy used in the country;

o    The industrial sector, which consumes more energy than any other sector of the U.S. economy; and

o    The federal government, which is the nation’s single largest energy consumer.

Highlights include:

o    Establishing advanced building codes for voluntary residential and commercial buildings to cut energy use;

o    Helping manufacturers finance and implement energy efficient production technologies and practices; and

o    Requiring the federal government to adopt better building standards and smart metering technology.

It’s bipartisan, and in addition to the thousands of signatures on this petition, it also has support from well over 200 businesses, environmental groups, think tanks and trade associations.

Examples include Johnson Controls, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufactures, Alliance to Save Energy, Environmental Defense Fund and United Technologies Corporation.

This broad coalition of supporters recognizes that the Shaheen-Portman bill is an easy first step that will make our economy more competitive and our nation more secure by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, while meeting pent-up demand for energy savings technologies from individuals and businesses alike.

The economic benefits are real, too. A recent study by policy experts at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy found that my legislation will achieve savings for consumers and businesses alike.  Specifically, the study found that by 2020 the bill could save consumers $4 billion per year and help businesses add 80,000 jobs to the economy.

Mr. President, with the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill, the Senate has an opportunity to provide the American people with exactly what they want:  an effective, bipartisan approach to addressing our nation’s energy needs that also creates jobs and grows the economy.  I urge my colleagues to support my efforts and bring S.1000 to the floor for a vote.

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