SENATORS SHAHEEN, PORTMAN URGE LEADERS REID, MCCONNELL TO TAKE UP BIPARTISAN ENERGY SAVINGS AND INDUSTRIAL COMPETITIVENESS ACT

S. 1000 would Reduce Energy Costs, Spur Job Creation

April 19, 2012

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) today sent a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to take up their bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC) as quickly as possible. The Shaheen-Portman bill would establish a national energy efficiency strategy to increase the use of existing energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of our economy. 

“The American public wants Congress to work in a bipartisan manner on policies that will spur economic growth and create jobs,” the senators wrote. “While there remains disagreement on how best to fix our supply side energy problem, there is consensus that efficiency is the cheapest and fastest way to start reducing demand for the energy we currently use.  We believe the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act represents our best chance to improve our demand-side energy policy.” 

Some highlights of the legislation include: 

  • Boosts private sector investment in building efficiency upgrades. 
  • Assists manufacturers in reducing energy use and becoming more competitive by establishing a state-based revolving financing program to help facilitate efficiency upgrades. 
  • Works with states to strengthen voluntary national model building codes, to make new homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient.
  • Requires the federal government – the single largest energy user in the country – to adopt energy saving techniques for computers, better building standards, and smart metering technology. 

Introduced last May, the legislation has garnered national support from more than 125 businesses, trade associations, and efficiency advocates.  In September, S. 1000 passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 18 to 3.  Representatives Charles Bass (R-New Hampshire) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) recently introduced similar legislation, the Smart Energy Act, in the House of Representatives.

Text of the full letter is below.

The Honorable Harry Reid                                  
United States Capitol Building, S-221                
Washington, DC 20510 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Capitol Building, S-230
Washington, DC 20510                                       

Dear Leaders Reid and McConnell:

As debate continues over the evolution of our nation’s energy policy, we request your attention to one area of innovation with a high return on investment that has demonstrated strong bipartisan support.  Given our continued high levels of unemployment, rising energy prices and stiff competition from global competitors, we believe our common-sense energy efficiency legislation, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, is needed as soon as possible in order to move our country forward.     

Energy efficiency technologies designed and manufactured by American companies are readily available on the commercial market and their benefits are easily demonstrable in projects underway in every state.  Increases in energy efficiency will help reduce energy expenses for consumers and businesses.  This will create a multiplier effect in the economy when families, businesses and government use energy savings to make other critical investments, resulting in more job creation. 

The American public wants Congress to work in a bipartisan manner on policies that will spur economic growth and create jobs.  While there remains disagreement on how best to fix our supply side energy problem, there is consensus that efficiency is the cheapest and fastest way to start reducing demand for the energy we currently use.  We believe the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act represents our best chance to improve our demand- side energy policy.  This legislation has already received broad bipartisan support, passing out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a strong vote of 18 to 3. 

We urge you to bring the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act to the floor as quickly as possible.  We are committed to working with you and the members of our respective caucuses to reach agreement on an amendment process that will allow for timely passage of our legislation once the Senate begins debate.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.  We look forward to working with you both to pass the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, meaningful legislation that will drive economic development by prioritizing investments in energy efficiency. 

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senator Rob Portman 

CC:

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski

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