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Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008


Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, for his very generous remarks, and for his tremendous leadership. Once again, he is providing an opportunity for this Congress to come down on the side of America's families instead of a special interest. Once again, he has come down at a place that talks about energy independence and security for our country.

One year ago, actually a little longer, in January of 2007, Mr. Rangel brought to the floor legislation similar to this. What it did was to repeal the subsidies for Big Oil and to use the funds for research into renewable energy resources and incentives, tax incentives for that purpose. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly. It again passed as part of our bipartisan energy bill, but it did not survive the Senate because the President threatened to veto the bill if these subsidies to Big Oil were repealed. Imagine that. And so the energy bill, as much of a triumph as it was by having new CAFE standards for the first time in 32 years in the bill, did not have this very important other part, which would be the tax incentive for renewable energy resources.

Again, I thank Chairman Rangel for his persistence and for bringing this legislation to the floor now to give us this very special opportunity.

When Mr. Rangel first brought the bill to the floor last January, since then the price of gasoline at the pump has gone up 75 cents; 75 cents since we first took up this legislation. Imagine what that means to a household income. It is 17 cents, the price at the pump has increased 17 cents just in the past 2 weeks. Just yesterday, oil prices reached another new record at more than $101 per barrel. This is at a time when oil companies are making record profits.

Listen to this, my colleagues. Last year, ExxonMobil earned $40.6 billion in profit; $40.6 billion in profit. The largest corporate profit in American history. And yet, the administration refuses to repeal billions of dollars in subsidies to Big Oil.

This bill repeals those subsidies and invests in clean renewable energy that will put us on a path toward energy security and energy independence in a fiscally responsible way, by repealing subsidies to Big Oil, only to Big Oil, already making record profits.

With the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act that we are considering today, we have the opportunity to invest in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency and grow our economy, creating new jobs, lower energy costs, strengthen national security and reduce global warming.

This legislation, and it is very important because there are so many people across the country who are being innovators, who are being disrupters, who are making change, and this change centering around energy is very, very important, and this legislation is vital to them. This legislation strengthens and extends the production tax credit which will spur deployment of wind, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, tidal, and landfill gas. It extends the solar and fuel cell investment tax credit and offers tax incentives for residential solar, wind, and geothermal technologies. It creates a new production tax credit for cellulosic ethanol and extends the biodiesel production tax credit.

It expands the tax credit for gas stations that install alternative fuel pumps, such as the E85 pumps.

It includes tax incentives to promote greater efficiency for homes and businesses and creates a new tax credit for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

It creates a new category of tax credit bonds to fund local initiatives to promote the deployment of green technologies. I know this has been said before. I reiterate this because this is very, very important and represents real change for our country.

This bill helps create broadly based prosperity with an $18 billion investment in the future. It will spur the production of clean renewable energy resources and provide business with the certainty necessary to make long-term plans to build viable and sustaining markets for these technologies. This is all about answers in the marketplace.

It will ensure that we keep the jobs that were created with the renewable tax credits and create hundreds of thousands more, the next generation of good-paying, green collar jobs that will be right here in America.

Because this legislation is vital for a greener and more prosperous future, it is supported by a broad coalition from business, environmental, and labor communities, from corporations such as Home Depot and Dow Chemical Company, to the Sierra Club, to the United Steelworkers and the National Farmers Union. I have a long list which I will submit for the Record, corporate, labor, Florida Power & Light Company. The list goes on and on. MMA Renewable Ventures, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, National Association of Realtors, National Electrical Manufacturers, Dupont, Earth Justice, all on the same page. The list goes on and on and on.

This Congress has already taken action to send our Nation in a new direction of energy independence, as I mentioned, by increasing fuel efficiency standards for the first time in 32 years. That was bipartisan legislation signed into law by the President. What is missing are these tax incentives that the distinguished chairman, Mr. Rangel, is bringing to the floor today.

Energy independence is an economic issue in terms of budgets for America's families and creating new green jobs. It is an urgent national security issue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It is an environmental and health issue to reduce global warming and protect the health of our children, and it is a moral issue to care for our planet. We work closely with the evangelical community on these issues because they believe, as do I, that this planet is God's creation and we have a moral responsibility to preserve it.

I urge my colleagues to support the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 and, in doing so, take the next step for a green economy, green jobs, and a green future.

February 26, 2008.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVE: As a coalition of businesses, environmental groups, investors, labor, nongovernmental organizations, public health organizations, and utilities we urge you to vote yes on the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 (H.R. 5351). The bill would extend federal tax incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that have expired or will expire at the end of this year. These incentives must be extended immediately to avoid significant harm to the developing clean energy industries in the United States. The technologies produced by these industries play a vital role in reducing global warming pollution, creating new high-wage jobs in our country, and saving consumers and businesses money on their energy bills.

H.R. 5351 would extend tax incentives for renewable energy production, energy efficiency in commercial buildings, investment in solar electric systems, use of efficient home heating and cooling equipment, production of efficient home appliances, efficiency retrofits to existing homes, and consumer purchases of energy efficient products.

The incentives in H.R. 5351 would remain effective for multiple years, which is essential for the development of the clean energy technology industries. Congress has historically extended the clean energy incentives in two-year increments, which creates a boom-bust cycle for the technologies covered by the incentives. This cycle undermines the efficient development of the clean energy technology industries into mature industries.

Most of the incentives in H.R. 5351 have either expired or will expire at the end of this year. It is critical for the sustained development of the clean energy technology industries that these incentives be continued. A disruption of the incentives would lead to layoffs and a decrease in much needed private capital flowing to these industries. According to a recent study by Navigant Consulting, allowing the renewable energy incentives to expire would lead to about 116,000 jobs being lost in the wind and solar industries from now until the end of 2009.

Although H.R. 5351 was introduced without an extension of the efficient new home tax credit and certain critical changes to the energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives, we look forward to working with you to incorporate the efficient new home credit and these enhancements into the bill later in the legislative process.

America is on the cusp of a new, clean energy economy. The clean energy tax incentives in H.R. 5351 would help our country make the transition to this economy--an economy powered by low-carbon technologies that help solve global warming, reduce energy prices for consumers and create new high-wage jobs. We urge you to vote yes on H.R. 5351.

Abengoa Solar; Akeena Solar; Alliance to Save Energy; Ameresco; American Institute of Architects; American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE); American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE); American Rivers; American Wind Energy Association; Applied Materials, Inc.; Apricus Inc.; American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE); Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM); Audubon; Ausra, Inc.; Ballard Power Systems; Best Buy Co., Inc.; BrightSource Energy; Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International.
Business Council for Sustainable Energy; California Energy Commission; California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA); CCIM Institute; Climate Solutions; Conenergy; Constellation Energy; The Dow Chemical Company; DuPont; Earthjustice; Energy

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Conversion Devices; Energy Innovations, Inc.; Environment America; Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI); Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC); EPV Solar; Exelon Corporation; Florida Power & Light Company; Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL); Friends of the Earth; Fuel Cell Energy.
Great River Energy; Greenpeace; GridPoint; The Home Depot, Inc.; Hydrogenics; Institute of Real Estate Management; Insulating Concrete Form Association; International Council of Shopping Centers; Johnson Matthey; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Macy's Inc.; Millennium Cell, Inc.; Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Inc.; North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA); MMA Renewable Ventures, LLC; National Association of Home Builders; National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP); National Association of REALTORS; National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).
National Small Business Association; National Tribal Environmental Council; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; New Voice of Business; Northeast Public Power Association; Oerlikon; Owens Corning; PG&E Corporation; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA); Plug Power, Inc.; PPG Industries; PPM Energy, Inc.; Public Citizen; Q-Cells AG; REgrid Power; The Real Estate Roundtable; ReliOn; Retail Industry Leaders Association.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD); Safeway, Inc.; SANYO Energy (U.S.A.) Corporation; SCHOTT Solar, Inc.; Schuco USA LP; Sharp Solar; Sierra Club; SkyFuel Inc.; Solar Energy Industries Association; Solar Integrated; Solar Millennium LLC; Solar Power, Inc.; Solar World; SOLEC-Solar Energy Corporation; Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; Spire Solar, Inc.; SunEdison; SunPower Corporation; Suntech America, Inc.; Target Corporation.
Trane; Trinasolar; Union of Concerned Scientists; United Solar Ovonic; USA Biomass; US Fuel Cell Council; The United Steelworkers (USW); United Technologies Corporation; The Vote Solar Initiative; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC); Western Renewables Group; Whirlpool Corporation; Whole Foods Market, Inc.; Xcel Energy Company; Yahoo! Inc.


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