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House Science Committee Passes Biggert Bill To Promote Alternative Energy Sources

Location: Washington, DC

House Science Committee Passes Biggert Bill To Promote Alternative Energy Sources

- The House Science Committee today unanimously approved a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Il-13th) that will promote biofuels, solar, wind, nuclear, clean coal and other technologies to end the U.S. dependence on foreign sources of energy.

By a voice vote, the Committee passed H.R. 5656, the Energy Research, Development, Demonstration, and Commercial Application Act of 2006, clearing the way for the bill to be considered by the full House of Representatives in the coming weeks.

"If we want to end our addiction to oil and gas, we simply must invest today in clean, efficient alternative energy sources," said Biggert, Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science. "We cannot drill or dig our way out of this one. We need a solid commitment - from Congress and the federal government - to break the cycle of addiction through advanced technologies, diverse supplies, and improved efficiency."

Among the key sections of H.R. 5656 are provisions that:

• Provide incentives for the design and construction of energy efficient buildings;
• Authorize plug-in hybrid electric vehicle R & D and demonstration programs;
• Authorize education and outreach relating to energy technologies that improve energy supply and improve the efficiency of energy utilization;
• Authorize solar photovoltaic R & D and demonstration programs;
• Establish a cooperative extension program for energy technologies, patterned after the successful agricultural extension programs that aided farmers in incorporating advanced technologies in food production.

"High natural gas prices and the recent spike in gasoline prices serve as a stark reminder that the path to energy independence is a long and arduous one, and nobody should expect our nation's energy problems to disappear overnight," Biggert said.

Also included in the bill passed today are components of the Advanced Energy Initiative, which President Bush outlined in his 2006 State of the Union address. They include sections to advance the development of:

• Biofuels from cellulosic feedstocks, or feedstocks other than corn,
• Technologies for hydrogen storage onboard vehicles,
• New materials to allow the widespread use of solar power, and
• Technologies that minimize the cost and environmental impact and maximize the efficiency of harnessing the power of the wind.

Included in the bill are two provisions that were approved by the full House during consideration of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 or EPACT, signed into law last year. The advanced solar demonstration program and a new grant program to encourage the design of energy efficient buildings were not included in the final package negotiated by a House-Senate conference.

H.R. 5656 is endorsed, in whole or in part, by: Alliance to Save Energy • American Chemical Society • American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy • American Honda Motor Company • American Institute of Architects • American Public Power Association • Association of American Universities • Dow Corning • DuPont • Johnson Controls, Inc. • National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

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