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Larsen: Energy Bill Builds Clean Energy Economy, Creates Jobs In Northwest Washington


Location: Washington, DC

Larsen: Energy Bill Builds Clean Energy Economy, Creates Jobs in Northwest Washington

U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) released the following statement today announcing his support for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2998) which is scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives later today:

"For me, this issue boils down to three words: Washington state jobs.

"The American Clean Energy and Security Act is really a clean energy economic engine that will harvest American innovation to create millions of new jobs in the private sector, including family-wage manufacturing jobs that can't be shipped overseas, jobs building wind turbines and installing appliances to make homes more energy efficient, and jobs turning ag and forest products into clean, renewable energy.

"Second, this clean energy jobs bill will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce pollution and strengthen our national security.

"This bill will create jobs, make our local economy stronger and protect Washington state for the next generation.

"I have worked to ensure that we get the best possible clean energy jobs bill for Washington state and the 2nd Congressional District. That means a bill that works for local families worried about the high cost of paying their heating bills and filling up the gas tank; a bill that works for workers at Ferndale's Intalco plant; a bill that works for Boeing workers and contractors; a bill that works for local farmers; and a bill that works for the nearly 2,500 workers at Northwest Washington's four refineries.

"During the past year, I have reached out to local clean energy companies, utilities, farmers, conservationists, local governments and small businesses, and they have all told me that comprehensive energy reform must take into account the unique attributes of the Pacific Northwest - our use of hydropower, our family farms, our energy-intensive industries and the family-wage jobs they support, and our long-standing commitment to renewable energy.

"Since Congress began crafting comprehensive energy reform, we have made great progress for the 2nd District, Washington state and the Pacific Northwest. I brought local concerns to Washington, D.C. and delivered them to congressional leaders including Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman and Rep. Gene Green of Texas. Here are some of the local issues I have worked on in this bill. Most of them boil down to one word: jobs:

Jobs at Refineries: Local refineries in my district employ nearly 2,500 workers and contractors. Whatcom and Skagit Counties alone depend on over $200 million in wages from refineries each year. I am pleased that the American Clean Energy and Security Act provides two percent of allowances for refiners (an improvement over the zero percent we started with) and removes the unworkable low-carbon fuel standard to help protect these good-paying jobs in our community.

Jobs at Intalco: I support a provision (the Inslee-Doyle provision) to help protect jobs at Alcoa's Ferndale smelter and other energy-industries from being shipped overseas by giving them the emissions allowances they need to continue doing business here in the Unites States.

Bonneville Power Administration: In the Pacific Northwest, hydropower is the original clean, renewable energy. I have worked hard to ensure that my constituents' pocketbooks are protected in this legislation, and that Washington state is rewarded, not punished, for its long-standing use of zero-carbon electricity. I am pleased that some emissions allowances will be awarded to utilities based on how many households are served, a provision that is beneficial for our area. However, I do have concerns about the so-called "anti-windfall provision" that could have unintended consequences for utilities in the Northwest. I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to make sure the final bill includes the protections we need to help keep energy prices low for local families.

Using Washington resources for clean energy: The Pacific Northwest has an abundance of woody biomass - the trees and woody plants that are the by-products of forest management - that can be used to produce clean, renewable energy. This bill will allow the use of woody biomass for this purpose, giving the Northwest a leg up in this valuable production of energy, creating jobs and providing the Forest Service with the tools it needs for proper wildfire management.

Opportunities for local farmers: After much work over the last two weeks, this bill now rewards innovation on our local farms and opens the door for Northwest Washington farmers to make money from their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Aviation: In Washington state, aviation plays a huge role in our local economy. I worked to remove a provision in the American Clean Energy and Security Act that would have burdened the aviation industry with unnecessary regulation that could have hurt their business and the local jobs that depend on it.

Renewable energy efficiency standard: The legislation ensures that Washington state's renewable energy standard (I-937, which was passed by the voters of Washington state) is protected and not overruled by the proposed federal standard.

Good Wages for Labor: I am also pleased that this bill helps ensure that workers are paid a fair wage for their work by complying with Davis-Bacon rules for prevailing wages.

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