Rep. Kind Study on Biofuels Included in House-Passed Energy Bill
Energy Independence and Security Act' is Landmark Commitment to
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Fuels, Combats Global Warming
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) today joined a majority in the House in passing a comprehensive renewable energy bill, the Energy Independence and Security Act, designed to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, lower energy costs, create new jobs, and begin to address global climate change. The bill overall will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35 percent of what is needed by 2030 to significantly combat global warming.
"With gasoline at more than $3.00 a gallon, family budgets are being squeezed across Wisconsin and the entire country," Rep. Kind said. "The time is long overdue for the United States to get in the lead on renewable energy, and this bill will help us get there. From new fuel efficiency standards to investments in new renewable energy technologies, this bill forges a new direction for energy security - and people will see it not only in their wallet, but in the air they breathe as well."
The Energy Independence and Security Act requires for the first time that 15 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources, and establishes landmark new energy efficiency standards for a wide range of products, appliances, lighting and buildings. It also increases the fuel efficiency of vehicles to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, the first increase in a generation. This provision will save American families up to $1,000 per year at the pump, and reduce greenhouse gases equal to taking off the road 28 million of today's average cars and trucks. In Wisconsin, this provision is expected to create 3,000 jobs through the development of new technologies and save families $393 million at the pump in 2020.
To encourage its rapid development, the Energy Independence and Security Act includes tax incentives for solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal technologies and supports cutting-edge energy research. The entire bill is paid for by repealing $13 billion in tax breaks that were needlessly given to big oil companies and through some additional bipartisan tax measures.
Finally, the bill includes an increase to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), requiring the United States to use 36 billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels in 2022, a 500 percent expansion of this mandate over the current standard. Included in the bill is language by Rep. Kind establishing a comprehensive study of biofuel use and the consequences for the environment, prices at the pump and at the grocery store, and the shape of rural America.
"As we pursue renewable energy technologies to lower energy costs and better our environment, we must do so responsibly, without creating other serious problems," Rep. Kind said. "While the ethanol boom has provided real economic benefit to rural areas, communities are already seeing some of the unintended impacts of the industry's rapid expansion - increased water consumption, fertilizer use, and runoff into lakes, rivers, and streams. I look forward to the results of this study to help us pursue renewable energy technologies in the most sustainable way possible."