Today, Congressman Joe Donnelly kicked off his all-American energy jobs tour at Jordan Ford in Mishawaka. Over the next two days, Donnelly will be touring five Hoosier businesses and talking about three pieces of legislation focused on developing an all-American energy plan that will bolster our economy.
"We need to be all-in in our approach to the future of America's energy, but we must do so in a way that doesn't hurt Hoosier businesses," said Donnelly. "I voted against the cap and trade bill last year because as one of the most manufacturing-intensive states in the country, Indiana would have been the most vulnerable to price increases, putting Hoosiers at a competitive disadvantage. However, I know that with the right opportunities, the talented Hoosier workforce can take part in making our energy future more secure, and we're already seeing our entrepreneurs lead the way. Our local businesses can help us lessen our dependence on foreign oil, something we need to do not only for national security reasons, but also to invest American dollars in American industries. The businesses I'm visiting today and tomorrow are shining examples of what north central Indiana can do."
At Jordan Ford, Donnelly discussed a bill he introduced last week, The Municipal Fleet Modernization Act, H.R. 5438, which would require that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) update its High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) exception list annually so local governments have a larger selection of eligible hybrid vehicles to choose from.
Local governments can use Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program funds through the U.S. Department of Transportation to purchase public-owned fleet vehicles, provided the vehicles meet certain EPA guidelines. Currently the Federal Highway Administration directs local governments interested in purchasing hybrid vehicles with CMAQ funds to an EPA list of vehicles meeting low emissions and energy efficiency requirements under HOV exception regulations. EPA published the list in 2007 and none of the cars listed are from American automakers, although some newer-model American hybrid cars would qualify. Because local governments are directed to the EPA list, they are hesitant to purchase vehicles not included by EPA, and this has resulted in local governments purchasing foreign cars even though American cars would currently qualify.
"Here in Indiana, we know the importance of the American auto industry to our local economy," said Donnelly. "This common-sense update will encourage local governments and municipalities to purchase vehicles made by American car companies, such as the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which is expected to be included on the updated list."
Donnelly is also a cosponsor of legislation promoting an all-in American energy plan, The American Conservation and Clean Energy Independence Act, H.R. 2227. This legislation promotes responsibly expanding domestic oil exploration and production, and would make investments in alternative energy, energy efficiency, lowering emissions at power plants, and clean water. The bill would extend tax incentives for clean energy production and energy conservation until 2019 to provide long-term incentives for new investment in clean energy. The American Conservation and Clean Energy Independence Act would add jobs to the American economy without raising taxes or adding to our deficit. Donnelly will be visiting Indiana Flex Fuels in LaPorte later today and Green Alternatives, Inc. in Kokomo tomorrow to further discuss this all-American energy plan.
Donnelly also supports The Renewable Fuels Reinvestment Act, H.R. 4940. This legislation would extend through 2015 four of the most important tax incentives for all ethanol producers and blenders, regardless of feedstock. Donnelly will be traveling to The Andersons Clymers ethanol plant in Logansport and Bill Vories' Farm in Argos, who supplies The Andersons Clymers ethanol plant, to discuss this legislation and learn more about their work with ethanol.