Highlighting her record of saving consumers money and promoting renewable energy, Martha Coakley today released Re-Powering America: A Comprehensive Energy Reform Plan, her proposal for comprehensive energy reform.
Coakley will bring uniquely relevant experience in the area of energy reform to the U.S. Senate if elected. As Attorney General, Coakley serves as the Ratepayer Advocate, working to protect consumers and keep energy prices down. She helped establish the most aggressive energy efficiency goals in the nation, which will generate expected savings for consumers of over $4 billion. While saving consumers over $100 million a year, Coakley also pushed utilities to enter into long-term renewable energy contracts and to develop renewable power.
"Today, more than ever, America needs a comprehensive approach to lowering our energy costs, meeting our energy needs, and protecting our environment," said Coakley. "We need diverse, affordable and sustainable energy supplies that maximize the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. We also need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for energy production and transportation."
Coakley's plan lays out key reforms, including:
* Implementing a national cap-and-trade program: Pointing to the success of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Coakley calls for a national cap-and-trade program, which offers a practical way to significantly curtail greenhouse gas emissions and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.
* Increasing energy efficiency: Noting that investments in cost-effective energy efficiency represent the quickest and least expensive way to mitigate our country's growing energy demand, Coakley urges investments including smart meters and incentives for direct demand reduction/response programs and technology. Coakley also calls for stronger energy efficiency requirements for building codes, appliances, and industrial and commercial heating and cooling equipment.
* Expanding use of renewables: Stressing America's need to wean itself off of foreign fossil fuels, Coakley supports the establishment of a National Renewable Portfolio Standard that would mandate electricity providers to purchase a percentage of electricity from renewable sources. She also supports the construction of offshore wind facilities including Cape Wind.
* Improving our Electricity Transmission Grid: Reminding that our electric transmission system is the backbone of our energy infrastructure, Coakley urges a transparent, interregional approach to investment in projects that improve transmission reliability.
* Encouraging cleaner transportation: Citing America's driving needs as a cause of our oil addiction, Coakley pushes for more advanced energy efficiency technology for vehicles, new energy sources that cleanly and cost-effectively replace petroleum, and the extension of tax incentives for the purchase of hybrid and plug-in vehicles. Coakley also supports investments in improved public transportation and requirements for the federal government to reduce its own carbon footprint through the procurement of energy efficient hybrid and plug-in vehicles.
* Increasing low-income assistance: Cautioning that the federal Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is an essential lifeline for many, especially seniors, Coakley proposes indexing available funding for LIHEAP to energy costs. Coakley also calls for extending existing federal weatherization and energy efficient mortgage programs.
In Re-Powering America, Martha Coakley offers that the energy challenges we face come with significant opportunities to protect our planet, create thousands of domestic jobs, and reaffirm America's global leadership in clean energy technology.
Coakley, 56, was raised in North Adams. She is a graduate of Williams College in Williamstown, MA, where she was a member of the first class admitted to the college that included female students. She received her law degree from Boston University School of Law in 1979. Coakley resides in Medford with her husband, Thomas F. O'Connor, a retired police Deputy Superintendent.