U.S. Rep. Kind (D-WI) joined a majority in Congress Tuesday evening in passing a comprehensive energy plan for America - H.R. 6899, the Comprehensive American Energy Security & Consumer Protection Act. U.S. Rep. Kind hailed the plan as a way for Democrats and Republicans to come together to forge a path to energy independence.
"Our strategy must be comprehensive and must be bipartisan," Rep. Kind said. "Our national slogan simply cannot be drill, drill, drill,' instead it must be invent, invent, invent.' A drill-only policy will only increase our dangerous addiction to foreign oil. That's why I was proud to advance this legislation, which begins to make the investments in renewable and clean technologies now that will prevent a situation like this from happening again."
Among its numerous provisions, H.R. 6889:
* Makes historic investment in renewable energy: The bill expands and extends tax incentives for renewable energy (such solar, wind, and biofuels), as well as for plug-in hybrid cars, energy efficient homes, buildings, and appliances. Investments in renewable energy create three to five times as many jobs as investments in fossil-fuel energy.
* Opens up additional offshore areas for responsible drilling: Permits leasing between 50 and 100 miles offshore if a State opts-in' to allow leasing off its coastline by enacting a state law.
* Promotes Natural Gas Infrastructure: Includes incentives and financing mechanisms for installing natural gas pumps in service stations and homes and requires service stations owned by Big Oil to install at least one "alternative fuel pump"such as natural gas or E-85. Natural gas costs 40 percent less than gasoline, and is 33 percent cleaner and is produced in North America.
* Releases oil from the SPR: Temporarily releases nearly 10 percent of the oil from the government's stockpile (known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)), and replaces it later with heavier, cheaper crude oil. Past releases have brought down prices by up to 33 percent.
* Requires that 15 percent of America's energy comes from renewable sources by 2020: A 15 percent Renewable Electricity Standard will reduce global warming emissions and lower energy prices, saving consumers $13-18 billion cumulatively by 2020.
* Ends taxpayer subsidies to the five largest oil companies: Repeals a giveaway in the 2004 international tax bill (H.R. 4520).
* Requires oil companies to develop leases they already own or lose the opportunity: Strengthens requirements that oil companies produce oil on federal lands leased for drilling during the initial term of their lease.
* Promotes energy efficiency in homes and buildings, transportation: Updates energy codes for new buildings to realize a 30 percent improvement in minimum building standards by 2010, and 50 percent by 2020. Creates incentives for lenders to provide lower interest loans to people who build, buy or remodel their homes to improve their energy efficiency. Reduces transit fares for commuter rail and buses and expands service.
"This legislation embodies what I heard from families and businesses in August on my western Wisconsin Energy Tour,' where I saw a number of renewable technologies being developed right in our backyards," Rep. Kind said. "I heard over and over about the need a comprehensive energy strategy. This bill is that strategy. It has it all: tremendous investments in renewable energy, increased domestic supply, and greater conservation."
The bill will build on the success of last year, when the Democratic Congress passed new fuel efficiency standards for cars in more than 30 years.