Today, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11) backed a comprehensive energy plan that will increase domestic energy production, expand production of clean, renewable energy, and dramatically improve efficiency in buildings.
The Comprehensive American Energy Security & Consumer Protection Act will improve our national security, put our nation on the path toward independence from foreign sources of oil and, by expanding the use and production of renewable sources of energy, will help create hundreds of thousands of stable, family-wage jobs.
The bill, H.R. 6899, passed the House today by a vote of 236 to 189.
"As a former wind energy engineer, I came to Washington because I wanted to work on our nation's energy problem," Rep. McNerney said. "We need a real solution to lowering high prices at the pump and to addressing our long term energy needs. Some drilling is necessary, but we need a new, forward-thinking energy policy that encourages clean technology like plug-in hybrid cars, more energy efficient homes, buildings, and appliances and renewable energy sources such as cellulosic biofuels and biodiesel, solar, wind and geothermal."
"The choice we face is clear: a status quo policy that gives Big Oil more land, more taxpayer subsidies, and record profits, while American families and businesses suffer; or the bill we passed today which will help move our nation in an important new direction, help relieve prices at the pump in the short term and create new clean sources of energy and hundreds of thousands of jobs in the future," Rep. McNerney continued.
This energy package will lower the high price of gas consumers are paying at the pump today while producing oil for our future needs , as well as creating more clean energy - the real long-term solution to high oil and gas prices.
The legislation will help bring immediate relief to the problem of high gas prices by releasing nearly 10 percent of the taxpayer-funded Strategic Petroleum Reserve which currently contains over 700 million barrels of oil.
It will permit offshore drilling in waters between 50 and 100 miles offshore, in an environmentally sensitive manner, if the state allows leasing off its coastline by enacting a state law. It also calls for initiating new leases in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska which has more oil and is closer to the existing pipeline than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And it requires oil companies to start using the 68 million acres of land that is already leased to them for the express purpose of exploring and drilling for oil.
Most importantly, the Comprehensive American Energy Security & Consumer Protection Act lays out a path toward a clean energy future by investing in wind solar, biomass, geothermal, hydropower and other renewable sources. It extends critical production and investment tax credits which will help save tens of thousands of existing renewable energy sector jobs and lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands more.
In fact, according to UC Berkeley professor Dan Kammen, who testified last week in front of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, three to five times as many jobs are created through investments in renewable energy than in fossil fuel energy.
Extending these job-creating tax credits is fully paid for by reversing $18 billion in subsidies that the big five oil companies are currently receiving, despite continuing to set record corporate profits. Even President Bush, in a 2005 address, acknowledged that these subsidies are no longer necessary.
This comprehensive legislation also improves efficiency standards for buildings, which use 48 percent of our nation's energy, by calling for an update of energy codes for new buildings, so that new residential and commercial buildings will have to realize a 30 percent improvement in minimum building standards by 2010, and 50 percent by 2020. Improving energy efficiency for commercial and residential buildings will yield substantial energy and cost savings.
The bill also requires utilities to generate 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, wave and solar by 2020. A 15 percent RES will reduce global warming emissions and lower energy prices, saving billions cumulatively by 2020.