Tackling our nation's energy crisis will require a broad and comprehensive strategy that includes pursuing all forms of energy including wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels and coalsI will continue to strongly support the development of renewable energy sources that reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create new, innovative green jobs for Hoosiers. Since coming to Congress, I have had an opportunity to vote on a wide range of progressive energy bills that seek to create jobs, increase domestic energy production and protect our environment.
CREATING "GREEN JOBS"
During the 111th Congress, I had an opportunity to support both the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRAThese landmark pieces of legislation provided a boost to our nation's green jobs industry by establishing almost $40 billion in tax incentives for the production of energy from solar, wind, biofuel, biomass, landfill gas and small irrigation sources. Furthermore, the ARRA invested in a number of multi-million dollar green energy projects in Indianapolis, such as new hybrid technology developed by Allison Transmission, EnerDel automotic lithium-ion batteries, the Carbon E7, a new ultra-efficient police vehicle built by Carbon Motors, and millions of dollars worth of federal funding to encourage the development of clean energy start-ups and new clean energy technologies. With the support of Congres, these technologies will make it possible to dramatically reduce petroleum consumption and carbon emissions.
IMPROVING OUR ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION
In the 111th Congress, I supported a one-year extension of the Alternative Motor Vehicles Act to encourage businesses to purchase new heavy hybrid trucks. During the previous Congressional term, I supported legislation that required states to update their energy codes for new buildings so that they are 30 percent more energy efficient by 2010, and 50 percent by 2020. These updates require electric utilities to use renewable energy to generate 15% of their electricity or purchase renewable energy credits from others to meet this standard by 2020. Furthermore, this legislation included incentives for lenders to provide lower interest loans for homeowners wishing to build, buy or remodel their homes with green technology. I supported landmark legislation to provide for energy efficient retrofits on public housing units and the development of a nationwide "smart" power grid to increase energy efficiency and lower electricity bills for millions of Americans. To encourage the construction and sale of energy efficient manufactured housing, I passed legislation providing for tax credits.
In a time of rising energy costs, far too Americans experience difficulties covering the cost of their heating and cooling bills. In a period of considerable gridlock in Washington, I continue to fight to ensure that Hoosiers are not cut off from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). With energy prices still at historic highs, now is the wrong time to reduce or eliminate funding for LIHEAP.
INCREASED DOMESTIC OIL PRODUCTION
As the cost of crude oil rose to record levels, American oil company's held the drilling rights to millions of acres that went unexplored and underutilized. In order to increase our nation's domestic oil production and lower prices, I joined my Democratic colleagues in calling on oil and gas companies to responsibly drill on over 68 million acres of unused land for which they currently hold leases. I believe that it is critical for this land to be used before Congress grants permission for these companies to expand their offshore or wilderness drilling efforts.
SUPPORTING REGULATIONS THAT PROTECT OUR ECONOMY AND OUR ENVIRONMENT
The recent oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico made it demonstrably clear that well-thought out and strictly enforced regulation is needed to protect the economy and the environment. In spite of thsi recent tragedy, the Republican Party to continues to insist upon regulating the energy industry. I am very much in favor of harmonizing conflicting and overlapping regulations that cause confusion and curtail economic growth. Nevertheless, I remain fully supportive of regulations that are necessary to protect the American people from environmental distasters, price gouging and service disruption.