Energy Bill Passed by Congress Includes Sherman-Sponsored
U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act
The Energy bill passed today by the House of Representatives includes the text of legislation by Congressman Brad Sherman to fund joint research by Americans and Israelis into alternative energy sources. The bill creates a grant program that would provide assistance to cooperative efforts by Israeli and U.S. government agencies, business, and academic institutions to develop technologies that would utilize alternative energy sources and increase energy efficiency. Congressman Sherman first introduced this legislation in 2004.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised the legislation before a joint session of Congress in May of 2006. "Both [Israel and the United States] share a desire for energy security and prevention of global warming," Olmert said. "Therefore, through the United States - Israel Energy Cooperation Act and other joint frameworks, in collaboration with our U.S. counterparts, Israel will increase its efforts to find advanced scientific and technological solutions designed to develop new energy sources and encourage conservation." This was the first time an Israeli Prime Minister has urged the passage of any legislation during a joint address to Congress. The government of Israel has also indicated that it is prepared to invest its own resources into this effort, and Israeli officials plan to discuss how to implement this legislation with the Administration and Congress.
"Israel is an ideal research partner because Israel's strategic position has required it to be at the cutting edge of research to reduce reliance on fossil fuels," said Sherman.
The United States-Israel Energy Cooperation Act (USIECA), which Sherman re-introduced in 2005 with Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ), was included in the larger energy bill as an amendment offered in the Energy Committee by USEICA cosponsors Eliot Engel (D-NY), Shadegg and Anthony Weiner (D-NY) last June.
Sherman worked closely with the American Jewish Congress to develop the legislation. That organization, along with AIPAC and other pro-Israel and Jewish groups, was instrumental in securing its passage.
"The United States-Israel Energy Cooperation Act, sponsored by Rep. Brad Sherman will foster private sector and academic research on alternative energy and help increase research on alternative energy, strategies and projects, and help increase research on energy-efficient technologies by building on existing U.S. and Israeli cooperative efforts," stated Jack Haplern, Chairman of the American Jewish Congress Energy Task Force. "U.S.-Israeli joint research has already made significant scientific breakthroughs in medicine, bioengineering, and agriculture. Now, these two countries turn their scientific talents to the critical issue of energy improvement."
The Energy package passed by the House today has cleared the Senate. It will be sent to President Bush, who has indicated that he will sign the legislation into law.