Saving San Francisco Bay
Just this year, I introduced the San Francisco Bay Improvement Act to increase federal funding for protection and restoration of San Francisco Bay. Cleaning up the Bay is a critical undertaking. We have to curb the harmful effects of pollution while conserving our water resources, restoring the natural landscape, protecting our fish and wildlife and rebuilding our local communities. This is a long term investment in our own future and enacting this legislation is the smart and right thing to do. The bill authorizes approximately $100 million annually over 10 years to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fund efforts to restore and improve the environmental health of San Francisco Bay.
The bill is cosponsored by my fellow members in the Bay Area Congressional delegation: Rep. Anna Eshoo, Rep. John Garamendi, Rep. Mike Honda, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Jerry McNerney, Rep. George Miller, Rep. Pete Stark, Rep. Mike Thompson and Rep. Lynn Woolsey. In addition, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer have co-introduced similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.
Fighting Global Warming
I am committed to taking action on the most critical challenge of our time: protecting the planet from the impacts of global climate change. Using my position on the Select Committee on Energy Independence & Global Warming, I am confronting the challenges global warming poses to the environment and public health, including threats the Bay Area is facing and will continue to face in the years ahead. I have voted for legislation to rein in polluting sources of energy and cut U.S. carbon pollution 80% by 2050. The consequences of global warming are real and imminent. The 12th Congressional District of California, where I have lived my entire life, will lose entire neighborhoods, business districts and even the San Francisco International Airport to rising sea levels unless we act today. Congress should have answered this call a decade ago. The world scientific community has been warning us for years about the dangers of unchecked carbon emissions and the evidence is indisputable. The time to act is now.
American Clean Energy & Security Act
Last year, I voted for historic clean energy legislation, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would generate roughly $150 billion per year in clean energy investments in the United States over the next decade and create a net gain of 1.7 million new jobs. Combined with the clean energy funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the American Clean Energy Act would increase solar power in the United States 20-fold; wind power by 500 percent; biomass by more than 350 percent; and geothermal energy by 50 percent. The energy efficiency measures in the bill alone would save American households $3,900 by 2030 and cut oil consumption by 2 million barrels per day. Whole new industries will be created from our investment in clean energy, many of them right here in the Bay Area. I expect exciting new green companies to spring up in San Francisco and along the Peninsula. Thousands of new jobs are already being created in our region by innovators and entrepreneurs working to design new technologies and develop more sustainable energy solutions. Clean energy is profitable energy.
Home Star Jobs & PACE Financing
I voted to pass the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act, which gives immediate incentives to homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient. The bill would create 168,000 jobs in construction, manufacturing and retail, some of the sectors hit hardest by the recession, and it would cut energy costs by up to $500 per year for 3 million American families. The Home Star program would provide rebates to homeowners of up to $3,000 for making energy-efficient improvements to their houses, and customers would be eligible for direct rebates at the point of sale. Furthermore, the program would provide rebates of up to $1,500 for simpler upgrades such as installing better insulation, duct sealing, water heaters, windows, doors and roofing. Similar to Home Star, I am also working to save homeowners more money and create additional jobs by promoting the innovative Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, program, which helps homeowners and small businesses break the cost barrier for investing in clean energy upgrades.
Better Cars & Better Fuels
The United States consumes roughly 20 million barrels of oil per day. 60% of the oil we use is imported from foreign nations, and we spend more than $1 billion per day to import it. That adds up to hundreds of billions of dollars a year that we're sending overseas -- and roughly $150 billion annually goes to nations the State Department has listed as dangerous or unstable. We cannot afford to continue to let our oil addiction go unchecked. And we must recognize that almost 70 percent of the oil we use daily goes to transportation -- fueling our cars, trucks and buses. That's why I support making our vehicles more fuel efficient and developing alternative fuels that do not harm our environment. I strongly support the new fuel economy standards that President Obama has set for our cars and trucks, which will save the United States nearly 2 billion barrels of oil and save consumers money at the pump.
I also voted for $2.4 billion in recovery funding for advanced battery manufacturing, which will increase the United States' share of manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles from less than 2% today to 40% by 2015. This funding has already spurred construction of nine advanced battery manufacturing plants in the United States, helping bring jobs back home to create the electric plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles of the future.
Finally, we must invest now in advanced biofuels to substitute oil in our supply chain and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included more than $600 million in funding for advanced biofuels production. This investment is yielding results right in the 12th District, where one company has already received funding to build an advanced biorefinery facility that will create jobs here at home.
Combining all of the above solutions will yield huge reductions in America's oil dependence. Better fuel economy, alternative fuels, moving to electric vehicles and improvements in public transit and the way we move and ship goods can lead to a total oil savings of more than 8 million barrels a day by 2030. That's over 40 percent of America's oil consumption and 90 percent of our foreign oil imports. Energy Independence is within our reach -- all we need is the leadership and political will to make it happen.