U.S. House Committee Poised to Begin Debate on Historic Energy Bill

Environment Colorado

U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey today introduced the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), comprehensive energy legislation that the committee will consider next week.

“Colorado has shown that clean energy works. We’re cutting pollution and growing green jobs.

We need to seize this opportunity to move the nation toward a national New Energy Economy that replaces dirty, polluting energy sources with clean, homegrown power.  Repowering American will put Americans back to work in clean green jobs, cut global warming pollution and boost our energy security,” said Keith Hay, energy advocate for Environment Colorado.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act sets up a framework for transitioning to clean energy and curbing global warming.  It would reduce U.S. global warming emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83 percent by 2050.  In addition, the bill commits the U.S. to achieve additional emission reductions through agreements to prevent deforestation.  The bill would establish strong minimum targets for commercial and residential building codes of 30 percent energy savings starting in 2010 and 50 percent savings for residential buildings starting in 2014 and for commercial buildings in 2015; these improved building standards would save consumers $25 billion a year by 2030.  And the bill would provide money to state and local governments to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

“To deliver on the promise that clean energy holds to transform our economy, put millions of Americans back to work, and solve global warming, this bill is a first step.  We commend Chairmen Waxman and Markey for their leadership and their steadfast commitment to advance the bill,” said Hay.

However, the renewable electricity standard in the draft version of the bill was weakened so significantly that it will not require the nation to use more renewables compared with what we’re set to achieve through the state standards already in place and through investments from the economic recovery bill passed earlier this year.  In addition, the bill allows polluters to purchase offsets rather than reduce their own pollution, which will result in less-certain emission reductions and delay the transition to cleaner technology.  The bill also largely fails to require polluters to pay for their pollution.

“Unfortunately, Big Oil, Dirty Coal, other polluters have been able to weaken the bill in ways that will delay the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy and miss the opportunity to make a real transition in the nation’s energy policy.  Given the huge opportunity before us, the science on global warming, and the dire state of our economy, these are delays that neither the environment nor the economy can afford,” said Hay.

“Now is the time for bold and meaningful action on clean energy and global warming.  We urge Representative DeGette, who is a member of the Energy Committee, to do everything in her power to strengthen and pass the America Clean Energy and Security Act.”