Representative Luján Votes For Energy Independence, Clean Energy Job Creation
Today, Rep. Ben Ray Luján joined his colleagues to vote for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454), which will create clean energy jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and save billions of dollars long term. The Act included language that Rep. Luján worked on to provide funding for clean energy job training and include Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges as Innovation Hubs for clean energy research. The American Clean Energy and Security Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 219 to 212.
"Our country's dependence on foreign oil threatens our economy and security. We need to take bold steps to become energy independent by growing a new energy economy. Comprehensive energy reform will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, making us more secure as a nation. The American Clean Energy and Security Act will help us begin to achieve these goals," said Rep. Ben Ray Luján.
"For too long we have accepted the status quo on energy. Now, with the American Clean Energy and Security Act, we can put America on a path to energy independence, make America the global leader in energy technology, cut costly and harmful pollution, create new jobs, and save billions in the long run. The American Clean Energy and Security Act will make sure that the next generation can build on this new foundation of opportunity. The legislation is an important step as we transition to a clean energy economy," said Rep. Ben Ray Luján.
In May, prior to the beginning of the Energy and Commerce Committee's markup of the bill, Rep. Luján sent a letter to Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Rep. Edward Markey, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. The letter outlined his priorities for job training and education, a 25 percent Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), investment in smart grid advancement and transmission infrastructure, and comprehensive climate change legislation to reduce green house gas emissions.
This week, Rep. Luján wrote another letter to the Chairmen Waxman and Markey, highlighting three areas in the bill that he believed should be strengthened. His letter called for a higher RES, increased energy efficiency incentives for utilities, and broader net metering requirements to make net metering available to homeowners and other markets.
Rep. Ben Ray Luján's Provisions in the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES)
Funding for Clean Energy Job Training
"Rep. Luján has been a strong leader on supporting clean energy job training and education that will ensure equity and opportunity in the new economy. We thank him for his willingness to advocate on behalf of these issues, and for his efforts toward incorporating job training language into the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009," said Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO, Green For All.
"A strong and robust clean energy economy can power our country and lift communities out of poverty and into the middle class. I'm excited that funding was included in the American Clean Energy and Security Act for clean energy job training that can spur economic growth in New Mexico and in communities across the country," said Rep. Ben Ray Luján.
With the support of green jobs advocacy organization Green for All, and the backing of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Rep. Luján worked with Chairman Waxman to ensure that ACES included strong support for green jobs training and education programs. After committee markup, Rep. Luján organized a meeting with Chairmen Waxman and Markey to meet with CHC Members and discuss clean energy job training and education. As a result of these efforts, Chairman Waxman included a provision in his Manager's Amendment that allocates allowance value to the Green Jobs Act (Title X of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007). In 2012 and 2013, 0.75% of allowance value - an estimated $860 million - is allocated to the Green Jobs Act. The Green Jobs Act trains workers, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, for jobs in the clean energy economy. The Green Jobs Act also creates green pathways out of poverty. Workers who are at the margins of the current economy will be provided with the training and support necessary to gain middle-class careers in the green economy.
Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges as Clean Energy Innovation Hubs
"I thank Representative Luján for his important work on this bill, particularly with the Clean Energy Innovation Hubs. We have an opportunity to reshape our energy system in a way that develops the economy and brings opportunity to underserved populations. The work of Representative Luján will ensure that this opportunity extends to Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges and the scientists, engineers, and big thinkers affiliated with them," said Chairman Edward Markey.
"Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges need to be included in a clean energy economy. The research that we conduct at these institutions can educate the next generation of scientists and researchers, and ensure that no community is left behind as we transition to a clean energy economy. New Mexico is home to many Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges that can become important research hubs and make our state a leader in producing scientists, engineers and other professionals for a clean energy economy," said Rep. Ben Ray Luján.
Rep. Luján worked with Chairman Markey to incorporate language in the Innovation Hubs section of the bill that supports Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges. The Energy Innovation Hubs are made up of consortia of university and private research communities, industry, national laboratories and other energy innovation participants to develop and transfer clean energy technology into the marketplace. Rep. Luján's language specifies that in establishing three of the eight Energy Innovation Hubs under this section, the Secretary of Energy is required to give special consideration to consortium applicants that include at least one Hispanic Serving Institution or Tribal College.
Hispanic Serving Institutions in New Mexico
Central New Mexico Community College
Eastern New Mexico University, Main
Eastern New Mexico University, Roswell
New Mexico Highlands University
New Mexico Junior College
New Mexico State University, Alamogordo Branch
New Mexico State University, Carlsbad
New Mexico State University, Grants
New Mexico State University, Main
Northern New Mexico College
Santa Fe Community College
University of New Mexico, Main
University of New Mexico, Taos
University of New Mexico, Valencia County Branch
Western New Mexico University, Main
Tribal Colleges in New Mexico and Navajo Nation
Navajo Technical College
Institute of American Indian Arts
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute