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Pascrell Votes to Move America Towards an Energy Independent Future

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC



Moving America towards an energy independent future, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today joined a majority in the House of Representatives to approve The Energy Independence and Security Act by a vote of 235-181. The landmark legislation would lower energy costs, grow our economy and create new jobs, begin the reduction of global warming and strengthen national security.

"Today Congress joined the will of America's people by acting to become a world leader on clean alternative energy," said Rep. Pascrell.

The cornerstone of the legislation increases the fuel economy standard to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 for new cars and trucks. This is the first increase approved by Congress since 1975 - marking a significant advancement in a national effort to address our energy security and laying the groundwork for climate legislation next year. Here in the state of New Jersey the provision would create 4,300 jobs and save families $676 million at the pump in 2020.

"With the price at the pump reaching over $3.00 a gallon here in New Jersey, Congress has taken swift and comprehensive action to build an energy independent future for America," stated Pascrell. "Increasing fuel economy standards is the single biggest step we can take to end our dangerous reliance on foreign oil. The less oil our cars and SUVs consume, the more independent we will grow. This landmark change is backed by years of science and policy research to provide a feasible, common-sense approach to easing America's oil addiction."

In addition, the legislation would draw more electricity from clean renewable sources requiring utility companies to generate 15 percent of electricity from sources such as wind power, biomass, tidal, geothermal and solar by 2020. A 15 percent renewable electricity standard will reduce global warming emissions and lower energy prices and fossil fuel and natural gas consumption.

In order to accommodate the American workforce adapt to this new model for energy consumption, the legislation creates an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program. The program would train a quality workforce for "green" collar jobs, such as solar panel manufacturer and green building construction. Major investments in renewable energy could create 3 million green jobs over 10 years.

As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Pascrell worked closely on creating a $21 billion tax incentives package for carbon capture, biofuel and ethanol production, and tax credit bonds for renewable energy and conservation efforts like plug-in cars. The cost of the incentives is fully offset by revenue-raising provisions affecting the oil and gas industry.

Pascrell was active in working with the committee to include a measure that would allow electric utilities to depreciate electronic metering devices or "smart meters" over a seven year period. A smart meter is an automated electronic metering device that Pascrell hopes will soon replace outdated home and business electricity meters. Smart meters would allow consumers remote readings on an hourly basis, rather than once a month, giving them real-time access to their energy usage information.

"Smart meters have the potential to forever change the way Americans consume energy. The science and technology to enable intelligent energy consumption has arrived. Today the House demonstrated a will to empower consumers with the tools to make the most environmentally and fiscally responsible decisions regarding their energy usage." stated Pascrell.

"This bipartisan legislation has earned strong support of leaders in the business, labor, faith and environmental communities across the nation. We hope the President will reconsider his threat to veto this legislation, because all Americans have a stake in our fight for energy independence and lower energy costs," urged Rep. Pascrell.

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