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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - June 07, 2007)

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By Mr. BIDEN:

S. 1562. A bill to direct the Secretary of Energy to provide grants to States for the distribution of compact fluorescent lights; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Fluorescent Light Implementation Program to Save Americans Value and Energy, or FLIP-to-SAVE. This bill does something very simple to save Americans money and make us more energy efficient. It distributes compact fluorescent light-bulbs. We can save green two ways by changing our light-bulbs.

Compact fluorescent light-bulbs, or CFLs, are highly efficient light-bulbs that use less than a quarter of the energy of traditional incandescent bulbs. The FLIP-to-SAVE program will spend $50 million to increase public awareness of how CFLs save money and the environment and to distribute them to households across the Nation. It is modeled after a successful program in my home State of Delaware, which distributed 140,000 CFLs through public libraries. The FLIP-to-SAVE program will give States grants, to allow each State to develop a program that suits it best, though I expect many will be modeled after Delaware's system.

Through this program, we can expect to replace 16 million inefficient incandescent bulbs with CFLs, reducing total residential energy bills by over $60 million each year. That means the program ought to pay for itself in terms of savings to families in just one year. And that's without considering the environmental benefits.

By reducing our energy consumption in the equivalent of 127,000 homes, about the size of Buffalo, NY, we can help alleviate our energy dependence and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, one equivalent CFL replacing a 60 watt incandescent will prevent 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide through reductions in coal-powered electricity. That is 1.1 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Energy efficiency is a key to our efforts to address climate change. There are many simple steps we can take to use less energy, and this is one. The FLIP-to-SAVE program will not just reduce carbon emissions, but also reduce electric bills for American families by more than its price tag. I ask that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

S. 1562

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By Mr. BIDEN (for himself and Mr. LUGAR):

S. 1565. A bill to provide for the transfer of naval vessels to certain foreign recipients; to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, today, Senator LUGAR and I are introducing the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2007, a bill to permit the transfer of certain U.S. Navy vessels to particular foreign countries. All of the proposed ship transfer authorizations have been requested by the U.S. Navy, with the approval of the Office of Management and Budget.

Pursuant to section 824(b) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994, as amended, 10 U.S.C. 7307(a), a naval vessel that is in excess of 3,000 tons or that is less than 20 years of age may not be disposed of to another nation unless the disposition of that vessel is approved by law enacted after August 5, 1974. The bill we are introducing today would provide that required approval for eight transfers: two guided missile frigates and two minehunter coastal ships for Turkey; two minehunter coastal ships for Lithuania; and two minehunter coastal ships for Taiwan.

The bill also contains provisions that are traditionally included in ship transfer bills, relating to transfer costs and repair and refurbishment of the ships, and exempting the value of a vessel transferred on a grant basis from the aggregate value of excess defense articles in a given fiscal year.

The authority provided by this bill would expire 2 years after the date of enactment of the bill.

Similar legislation was passed by the Senate last year, but was objected to in the House of Representatives because of concern regarding the proposal to transfer minehunter coastal ships. That issue was also raised by Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, but members of that committee were persuaded by the Executive branch that the transfers would not degrade U.S. Navy capabilities. We invite interested colleagues to let us know if there is any residual concern among Members of the Senate, so that we can arrange for the Executive branch to brief members and determine if there is any objection to expeditious passage of this bill.

Finally, the Department of Defense has provided the following information on this bill:

This bill would authorize the President to grant transfer five excess naval vessels to Turkey and Lithuania and to sell three excess naval vessels to Taiwan and Turkey.

These proposed transfers would improve the United States' political and military relationships with close allies. They would support strategic engagement goals and regional security cooperation objectives. Active use of former naval vessels by coalition forces in support of regional priorities is more advantageous than retaining vessels in the Navy's inactive fleet and disposing of them by scrapping or another method.

The United States would incur no costs in transferring these naval vessels. The recipients would be responsible for all costs associated with the transfers, including maintenance, repairs, training, and fleet turnover costs.

This bill does not alter the effect of the Toxic Substances Control Act, or any other law, with regard to their applicability to the transfer of ships by the United States to foreign countries for military or humanitarian use. The laws and regulations that apply today would apply in the same manner if this bill were enacted.

The Department of Defense estimates that the sale of these vessels may net the United States $52.7 million in fiscal year 2008.

I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the RECORD.

There being no ojection, the text of the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

S. 1565

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