Continuing its work to protect affordable energy and promote an "all-of-the-above" energy strategy, the House of Representatives will vote this week on a series of commonsense energy bills, including several measures authored by Energy and Commerce Committee members to advance energy efficiency as well as ensure coal remains a viable source of American energy.
"High heating and electricity bills this winter have served as a painful reminder of the need for a true "all-of-the above' energy strategy. The House will vote this week on a number of committee initiatives that advance affordable energy solutions," said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). "A recent study reveals that energy costs have increased by 27 percent for middle and lower income families, while after-tax incomes have declined by 22 percent. Affordable and reliable energy is the backbone for a competitive economy and a lifeline for working American families. We need to be doing all we can to alleviate these burdensome costs and promote economic growth. These bipartisan solutions are a positive step and deserve widespread support."
To ensure the U.S. maintains a diverse and affordable electricity portfolio, the House will vote on H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act. Authored by Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), this bipartisan, bicameral solution offers a reasonable alternative to EPA's greenhouse gas regulations for power plants. The legislation would allow coal -- currently the largest source of U.S. electricity -- to remain a viable part of America's energy mix by ensuring EPA adopts standards for new coal plants that are actually achievable. As currently written, EPA's standards for new coal-fired generation would require the use of technologies that are not commercially available, constituting a de facto ban on new coal-fired plants. The legislation also provides that Congress would set the effective date for EPA's greenhouse gas regulations for existing power plants. To date, 413 coal-fired units are slated to retire or convert through 2025, threatening energy reliability and affordability. American Electric Power officials stated that 89% of its coal-fired capacity slated for retirement in 2015 was running in January as frigid temperatures swept much of the eastern half of the U.S, raising serious questions about our energy future under new environmental regulations.
The House will also consider H.R. 2126, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, a package comprised of four bipartisan bills authored by Energy and Commerce Committee members to encourage energy and cost savings. Using a market-driven approach, this legislation will help harness new technologies and support private sector innovation for more efficient ways of utilizing energy in households, businesses and the federal government. By establishing voluntary programs and guidelines and improving information sharing, this legislation offers simple and affordable ways to address our energy demands and bring down costs for consumers and taxpayers.