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Bipartisan legislation could save the economy billions

(Washington, D.C.) —The bipartisan energy efficiency strategy proposed by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) would create private sector jobs, make our economy more competitive, and start addressing our energy needs, said witnesses today in a hearing before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The hearing focused on the Shaheen-Portman bill, The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 (S.1000), and on other legislation to conserve American energy use. 

The legislation, introduced in early May, contains a broad package of low-cost tools that would reduce barriers for businesses, homeowners and consumers looking to adopt off-the-shelf energy efficiency technologies that will save them money. With a host of mature technologies already in widespread use — such as better insulation, computer-controlled thermostats, and more efficient electric motors — energy efficiency is the cheapest and fastest approach available to improving our nation’s energy infrastructure and our economy’s energy independence.

“We have heard from business after business that there is a pent-up demand for energy efficiency,” Shaheen said. “Companies and homeowners want to invest in more efficient buildings and equipment. These investments pay for themselves, but the up-front costs remain a barrier for many. This is a big part of what our bill does -- lowering barriers to private investment through smart leveraging of federal dollars.  By increasing private sector investment, we can grow jobs while reducing our energy consumption.”

“I’m really pleased to see momentum gathering for a bipartisan effort to advance energy efficiency,” Portman said. “When we make it easier for American companies to utilize energy efficient tools, they can reduce costs, enabling them to use the savings to expand operations, hire new workers, and become more competitive globally.”

“I commend Senators Portman and Shaheen for their work on S.1000, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011. It is bipartisan and sensible—and, among other things, it provides opportunities for America’s energy-intensive industries, such as glass manufacturing, to work cooperatively with government to increase energy efficiency,” testified Jay Scripter, Vice President of Sustainability at Owens-Illinois, Inc., a Perrysburg, OH-based company and the world’s largest glass container manufacturer.

“The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act will continue to keep Velcro competitive and create opportunities for additional employment,” testified Philip Damiano, Chief Operating Officer for Velcro USA, a Manchester, NH based manufacturer of fastening systems used in a multitude of markets.

U.S. commercial and residential buildings combined consume 40 percent of all energy used, while the U.S. industrial sector consumes more energy than any other sector of our economy. The federal government is the largest single energy consumer in the country.  The Shaheen-Portman bill targets efficiencies in all three areas at relatively low cost. The legislation embraces a bipartisan approach that includes many widely supported measures to enable private investment. 

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 has already been endorsed by a coalition of more than 100 businesses, trade associations, and advocacy groups who said in a letter that the legislation will “help make us more competitive globally and reduce our dependence on imported sources of energy at a critical time.” 

To see video of Senator Shaheen questioning Philip Damiano, Chief Operating Officer for Velcro USA, click here:

To read Senator Shaheen’s remarks, click here: