Addressing the Alliance to Save Energy's annual policy summit Tuesday, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, described energy efficiency as a "bridge" that should draw steadfast bipartisan support in Congress and pledged to work aggressively to support energy efficiency programs as an important investment in America's future.
"An America that uses less energy is an America that takes less from the earth," Senator Coons said. "It's an America that is less reliant on other nations for the fuel that we spend so much for, day in and day out. It's an America whose people don't need to mortgage their future in order to cool their homes. It's an America that uses less energy and will spend less time waiting in long gas lines, sweating through mid-summer brownouts, or having to make the choice between feeding their families or keeping them warm in difficult winters and tough economic times."
Senator Coons drew attention to three specific energy efficiency bills he has cosponsored:
* S. 398, Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act
* S. 963, Reducing Federal Energy Dollars Act
* S. 1000, Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act
He also called for continued funding of the Department of Energy's energy efficiency research and development programs, the renewal of energy efficiency tax credits for consumers, and the embrace of the Department's innovation hubs -- one of which is rethinking the energy efficiency of whole building systems rather than individual components. Senator Coons also voiced his strong support for policies proposed for innovative public-private financing, such as through the Clean Energy Development Administration, for clearer market signals, such as a nationwide clean energy standard, and for aggressive new fuel economy standards laid out by President Obama this summer.
Citing the Alliance to Save Energy's bipartisan founders, Senator Charles Percy (R-Ill.) and Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-Minn.), Senator Coons today stressed that energy efficiency should be an issue with strong bipartisan support.
"These days, it seems that petty partisanship has seeped into every corner, into every crack, into every fold of the thoughts and deliberations of those of us in the Senate," Senator Coons said, "and I think petty partisanship has had an unfortunate and corrosive effect on our ability to make progress on what has long struck me -- and I know, from its founding, struck those two great senators -- as a common-sense, collaborative effort to strengthen our nation and our economy."
"Energy efficiency has enormous potential to change our future -- our competitiveness, our environmental footprint, our technology, and the country that our children and grandchildren will inherit from us," Senator Coons said.