AMERICAN CLEAN ENERGY AND SECURITY ACT OF 2009 -- (Extensions of Remarks - July 13, 2009)
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Mr. HARE. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act. While this bill is far from perfect, it truly is the result of multi-region and multi-industry compromise, and I believe it will go a long way toward reducing our nation's carbon footprint.
I commend Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey for their efforts in putting together this comprehensive, global climate change legislation. I also commend my friend from Virginia, Representative Rick Boucher, for working tirelessly to ensure that coal-producing and coal-consuming states, like my home state of Illinois, can transition to renewable resources in a realistic timeframe.
One of the strongest assets of the ACES Act is its potential to significantly expand the green jobs sector all across America, creating millions of good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced. Through federal investment in the production of biofuels and manufacture of wind turbines, among other renewable energy technologies and equipment, it is estimated that 3,700 new jobs will be created as a result of this bill in my congressional district alone.
Additionally, the ACES Act protects consumers from steep hikes in utility rates. I am pleased to see that the revenue gained from the allowance process in the bill would partially go toward those Americans most vulnerable to increases in their electric bills. With five separate programs to protect ratepayers from rising costs for natural gas and heating oil, I have full confidence that the residents of West Central Illinois will not experience significant hikes in their utility bills as a result of this legislation. In fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that for the average household, costs from the ACES legislation would only be about 39 cents per day--less than the cost of a postage stamp.
I also appreciate that the bill takes into consideration rural agricultural districts like mine. By broadening the definition of ``renewable biomass,'' allowing the Department of Agriculture to oversee carbon-offset projects in rural areas, and not including carbon emissions from indirect-land use, this bill would allow the ethanol makers, food producers, and agricultural equipment manufacturers to continue doing what they do best, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. While I would have preferred to have seen in the bill a portion of the pollution allowances go to the food-processing agri-business sector, in addition to allocating ``early action credit'' allowances to those companies who have already taken voluntary greening measures to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, I will vote in favor of this bill with the hope that these concerns will be addressed by the Senate or during conference committee.
As a comprehensive energy bill, the ACES Act also provides for the expansion of new nuclear generating units, and gives bonus allowances to those fossil-fuel units taking advantage of on-site carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies. I am pleased that the bill invests approximately $60 billion in CCS, the next generation of clean-coal technology which reduces harmful emissions by capturing and storing them, thereby preventing them from reaching the atmosphere.
Rural Electric Cooperatives provide much of the power to my constituents. As such, I am happy that the ACES legislation allocates a portion of the total free emission allowances to rural co-ops. This important provision equitably distributes free allowances between Midwestern states and coastal states, as well as prevents excessive increases in energy costs for my constituents.
Finally, I would like to thank my friends from Iowa, Representatives Leonard Boswell and Bruce Braley, for working to include a provision which adds renewable fuel pipelines to the list of projects eligible for the Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program. As the representative of a district that produces corn ethanol, biodiesel, and other biofuels, the creation of renewable fuel pipelines would create thousands of local jobs and guarantee efficient and affordable transportation of Midwest energy to the parts of the U.S. which consume the most fuels.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act is broad in scope, focusing on necessary improvements in clean energy and energy efficiency. I hope my colleagues realize that the cost of inaction will be much, much greater if the United States fails to enact a bill that reforms our energy and environmental policies. I encourage its fast passage as it will create millions of jobs, stimulate our economy, and protect our environment.
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