Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that President Barack Obama has signed his bipartisan legislation with U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015. This is the first energy bill to be signed into law this Congress.
“I’m pleased the President has signed my bill into law because it is good for the economy and good for the environment,” said Portman. “This is an important part of our energy plan for America that can help bring jobs back, help make our manufacturers more competitive, and actually help to protect the environment. I’ll continue to work for passage of my larger bill and a national energy strategy that boosts American workers while protecting the environment at the same time.”
The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 includes three simple but effective provisions that include no mandates and that have been scored by the Congressional Budget Office to be budget neutral. Title I establishes a voluntary, market-driven approach to aligning the interests of commercial building owners and their tenants to reduce energy consumption. Title II exempts certain electric resistance water heaters used for demand response from pending Department of Energy regulation. Title III requires that federally-leased buildings without Energy Star labels benchmark and disclose their energy usage data, where practical.
Text of the legislation can be found here.
Portman is continuing to work for passage of his Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, which he discussed at a hearing in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources today. Video can be found here.
For The Sake Of America’s Families, Pass The Energy Efficiency BillBy Roberta Combs
The Christian Coalition believes energy efficiency is a family value issue. What could be more important for the family than helping families save money in these hard economic times? That’s why we support Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and the bipartisan bill he has co-authored with Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) – it is good for America’s families.
By spurring the use of energy-efficiency technologies, the Shaheen-Portman bill will save families money on their home energy bills. It will also help household budgets indirectly, as businesses and industries that save on energy costs can be expected to pass some of those savings on to their customers. Especially in tough times like these, that can make a real difference.
The bill will also create jobs—35,000 of them, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with some groups estimating even higher job numbers. America can use all the new jobs it can get.
Perhaps, most importantly, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act will cut government waste. The Federal Government is America’s largest consumer of energy. It spends more than $7 billion on building-energy costs alone, every single year. Much of that taxpayer money is wasted because of inefficient and outdated equipment.
One analysis of the bill found it could save at least 15 percent of the government’s taxpayer-supported building related-energy tab—more than a billion dollars every year—by making government buildings more energy efficient.
The Christian Coalition’s interest in energy goes beyond just financial concerns. Through an initiative we call America’s Path to Progress, the Christian Coalition is calling for greater energy independence, and energy efficiency is part of that equation. We know that America’s economic strength, national security, and clean air all depend on our energy policies. For the sake of American families, we need to power our nation more efficiently.
We are conservatives, so we are interested in building up our country’s national security and the health of its economy. We as Christians recognize the Bible’s mandate to care for God’s creation and protect our children’s future.
We applaud elected officials who take the lead on these issues, like Sen. Portman and Sen. Shaheen. We join our voices with those of the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and more than 200 other groups-- ranging from businesses and trade associations to environmental groups and labor unions—in support of the Shaheen-Portman bill.
Politics might slow this bill’s progress. That’s just how it goes in a democracy, especially in today’s Washington. There are competing interests, opinions, and priorities trying to influence legislation.
At the end of the day, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act and other common-sense energy policies are good for America. Saving energy and money, embracing responsible stewardship of our resources, and supporting families by building a stronger, cleaner, more efficient, and more secure nation is not a matter of conservative or liberal. It is a good idea for all Americans, and it deserves support from all of us.
Roberta Combs is President and CEO of the Christian Coalition of America.
Spurs Use of Energy Efficiency Technologies to Foster Job Creation
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) delivered remarks on the Senate floor highlighting his bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, an energy efficiency bill he introduced with U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The legislation is designed to spur the use of energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of our economy, while also fostering job creation. It uses a variety of low-cost tools to reduce barriers for private sector energy users and drive adoption of off-the-shelf efficiency technologies that will save businesses and consumers money, make America more energy independent, and reduce emissions.
The bill garnered over 260 endorsements from business coalitions, environmental groups, and labor. Read a summary of the major provisions here.
Below are excerpts of Portman’s remarks. Video of the entire remarks can be found here.
“I think it’s important, in part, because it creates jobs. It is a bill that is supported, by the way, by over 260 businesses, business associations and advocacy groups, from the National Association of Manufacturers and thee Chamber of Commerce, to the Sierra Club and the Alliance to Save Energy. The Christian Coalition is supporting it…I think the legislation got through the Senate Energy Committee with a vote of 19 to 3 partly because of this support and because members realize this will help them and their constituents. Simply put, I think this legislation…makes good environmental sense. I think it makes good energy sense. And I think it makes good economic sense, too.”
“The proposals contained in our bill are really common-sense reforms we’ve needed for a long time. The bill contains no mandates…In fact, many of our proposals come as a direct result of conversations we have had with folks in the private sector about how the federal government can help them to become more energy efficient and save money that they can then reinvest in their businesses and communities.”
“In fact, it will save taxpayers money. All of us as taxpayers will save money because of another provision of the legislation, and that’s because we go after the largest energy user in the world to try to make them more efficient—that’s the United States government. We want to be sure the United States government starts to practice what it preaches, because as it talks to the rest of us about the need for more energy efficiency we find that at the federal government there are lots of opportunities to make them less wasteful, more efficient. It directs the Department of Energy to issue recommendations that employ energy efficiency on everything from computer hardware to operation and maintenance processes, energy efficiency software, and power management tools. Senator Wyden had some good examples earlier of some of the waste in the federal government that this bill will go after. So this is smart because it is the right thing to do in order to save energy but also it helps taxpayers because it’s going to reduce the cost at the federal government. It also takes a really interesting commonsense step of allowing the General Services Administration to actually update the building designs they have to meet energy efficiency standards that have been developed since these designs were finalized, some of them many years ago, and they can’t update them. So we certainly want to be sure that the new federal buildings that are being constructed are using the most up-to-date efficiency standards. This legislation permits that to happen. The government has been looking for places to tighten its belt; this is one. Energy efficiency, I think, is a great place to start.”
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