Tackling our nation's energy crisis will require a broad and comprehensive strategy. I strongly support increased investments in renewable energy sources that lower prices for consumers, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create new, innovative green jobs for Hoosiers. Since coming to Congress, I have had an opportunity to vote on a wide range of progressive energy bills that seek to create jobs, increase domestic energy production and protect our pristine environment.
CREATING "GREEN JOBS"
Over the last year, I had an opportunity to support both the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). These landmark pieces of legislation provided a boost to our nation's green jobs industry by establishing almost $40 billion in tax incentives for the production of energy from solar, wind, biofuel, biomass, landfill gas and small irrigation sources. Furthermore, the ARRA invests in a number of green energy projects, creating thousands of stable jobs in Indiana and across the country.
IMPROVING OUR ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION
In this 111th Congress, I supported a one-year extension of the Alternative Motor Vehicles Act to encourage businesses to purchase new heavy hybrid trucks. In the previous Congressional term, I supported legislation that required states to update their energy codes for new buildings so that they are 30 percent more energy efficient by 2010, and 50 percent by 2020. These updates require electric utilities to use renewable energy to generate 15% of their electricity or purchase renewable energy credits from others to meet this standard by 2020. Furthermore, this legislation incluUnknownded incentives for lenders to provide lower interest loans for homeowners wishing to build, buy or remodel their homes with green technology. I supported landmark legislation to provide for energy efficient retrofits on public housing units and the development of a nationwide "smart" power grid to increase energy efficiency and lower electricity bills for millions of Americans. To encourage the construction and sale of energy efficient manufactured housing, I passed legislation providing for tax credits.
In Indianapolis, as in numerous cities across the country, working Americans are having trouble covering their heating and cooling costs because their homes are energy inefficient. For this reason, I was a strong supporter of provisions in the ARRA that allocated $5 billion to weatherize American homes. With these funds, homeowners across our city will soon be able to better protect themselves against inclement weather and the high cost of electricity and gas.
HOLDING OIL COMPANIES ACCOUNTABLE
Last year, as Americans struggled to pay for gasoline that had shot above $4.00 per gallon, oil companies were making record profits. That's why I supported legislation that repealed tax subsidies and loopholes for the "Big Five" oil companies.
INCREASED DOMESTIC OIL PRODUCTION
As the cost of crude oil rose to record levels, American oil company's held the drilling rights to millions of acres that went unexplored and underutilized. In order to increase our nation's domestic oil production and lower prices, I joined my Democratic colleagues in calling on oil and gas companies to responsibly drill on over 68 million acres of unused land for which they currently hold leases. I believe that it is critical for this land to be used before Congress grants permission for these companies to expand their offshore or wilderness drilling efforts.