Smith's Energy Bills Aproved
The House Science Committee today approved two energy bills sponsored by Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21). The "Solar Utilization Now Act of 2006 (SUN Act)" and the "Plug-In Hybrid Electrical Vehicle Act of 2006" provide federal grants to promote development and use of cleaner burning, reliable energy.
"Americans are concerned about high gas prices, our dependence on foreign oil and global warming," said Congressman Smith. "These bills have the potential to alleviate all three problems."
Said Smith, "Through federal grants the SUN Act' and the Plug-In Hybrid Electrical Vehicle Act' will encourage development and use of cleaner burning fuels. If we harness the power of renewable energy we can put America on a path toward energy independence."
The "SUN Act" (H.R. 5594) is essential because part of the answer to our energy needs comes up every morning. Solar power is clean, plentiful and generates zero emissions and zero waste. The bill encourages state governments and private industry to team up to apply for federal grants.
Under Smith's bill, states are required to contribute at least 10 percent of the funding. The federal government matches the grant at a maximum of 40 percent. The rest would come from utilities or private industry. The program's funding starts with $50 million in the first year (2007) and ramps up to $300 million in 2011.
The "Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle Act" (H.R. 5538) establishes a partnership between private and public entities to focus on electric drive technology. The legislation offers $250 million in annual funding (2007-2016) for research and development of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Additionally, the legislation calls for $50 million in annual funding (2007-2016) to carry out a pilot program for deployment of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
"The legislation is good for our energy security, national security and environmental security," concluded Smith.
The bills were included in a comprehensive package of energy-related legislation known as the "Energy Research, Development, Demonstration and Commercial Application Act of 2006" (H.R. 5656). The package contains other innovative energy provisions, such as programs to promote the use of bio-fuel and programs to promote construction of energy efficient buildings.
The legislation is expected to be voted on by the full House in July.