Confronting Historically High Gas Prices:
Across America working families are once again being hit hard by historically high gasoline prices. In California we are often paying more than $4 for a gallon of gas--about a third more than we were paying one year ago. High fuel prices don't just hurt commuters; they increase the cost of nearly everything from groceries to bus fare.
Congressman Becerra believes the "drill-only" plan that hands our nation's energy policy over to big oil companies like BP is the wrong solution. That is why he supported historic legislation during the Democratic-led 110th Congress to require higher vehicle fuel economy and invest in the new natural sources of energy that are made in America (see below for details).
Today, Congressman Becerra steadfastly opposes efforts in the current Republican-led Congress to slash clean energy investments, defund the agency responsible for going after speculators who drive up prices, weaken the Clean Air Act and protect subsidies for the big oil companies that are making record profits off the backs of American workers.
Congressman Becerra has worked to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and invest in the clean, renewable sources of energy to create jobs and clean the air for residents of Los Angeles and California's 31st Congressional District.
Rep. Becerra supports programs that aid modest-income families impacted by high energy prices and has worked to enact numerous legislative proposals that are setting America on course to a clean energy independent future, including:
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
Rep. Becerra voted for the Recovery Act, signed into law February 17, 2009, which is providing over $32 billion in grants to promote energy efficiency and invest in America's homegrown energy sources that will never run out, like wind and solar power.
In California's 31st Congressional District, the Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD) and Women In Non Traditional Employment Roles (WINTER), both located in South Los Angeles, each received Recovery Act grants to train local residents for green construction, energy efficiency, and weatherization jobs.
In addition to jumpstarting the economy and saving millions of jobs, the Recovery Act is making major investments in America's clean energy independent future. Recovery Act grant programs include:
* $5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
* $3.5 billion for Smart Grid Investment Grant Program
* $346 million for Energy efficient building technologies
Increasing Fuel Economy Standards: Energy Independence and Security Act:
Rep. Becerra supported the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, requiring auto manufacturers to produce fleets with a combined average fuel economy of at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
Solar Investment Tax Credit: Emergency Economic Stabilization Act:
Rep. Becerra advocated for the extension of the business and residential solar investment tax credit (ITC) that was ultimately included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The 8-year extension of the tax credit completely eliminates the monetary cap for residential solar electric installations. According to an analysis for the Solar Energy Research and Education Foundation, by 2016 the solar ITC will support 440,000 permanent, green jobs and unleash $325 billion in private investment in the solar industry
Reducing Carbon Emissions: American Clean Energy and Security Act:
Rep. Becerra voted to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which will reduce carbon emissions 83 percent by 2050, give entities the flexibility to transition to clean energy sources, and drive down the cost of clean energy sources. This legislation also provides financial assistance to modest-income households by providing a refundable "energy tax credit" and an "energy refund" that will be administered through state human service agencies. Click here to read a summary of the House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act.
Making Homes Energy Efficient: Home Star Energy Retrofit Act:
Rep. Becerra voted to pass the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act (H.R. 5019) on May 6, 2010. The legislation provides immediate incentives for homeowners who renovate their homes to become more energy-efficient, rapidly creating jobs here at home, while saving money for American families. If signed into law, it would create an estimated 168,000 American jobs in construction, manufacturing and retail industries while saving Americans over $9 billion on their energy bills over the next 10 years.
Rep. Becerra supports of legislative proposals to cut pollution and promote a healthy environment, especially in urban areas like California's 31st congressional district, including:
The Brownfields Remediation Permanent Tax Incentive Act:
On July 20, 2010, Reps. Becerra and Paul Ryan introduced the Brownfields Remediation Permanent Tax Incentive Act in the House. The bill addresses the scourge of "brownfields," which are plots of contaminated land often found in urban landscapes that require extensive environmental remediation before they can be developed. The legislation makes permanent a tax incentive for private companies that take on the task of cleaning up these contaminated sites by making environmental cleanup costs fully deductible in the year that they are incurred. Making this incentive permanent will increase the amount of private capital available to revitalize these sites, accelerating the renewal and redevelopment of surrounding neighborhoods and commercial areas.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are over 450,000 brownfields sites in the United States. Rep. Becerra's legislation will provide a measure of certainty for businesses that may be interested in cleaning and redeveloping a contaminated site, but are unsure that the current tax expensing provision will remain in place throughout the project. Rep. Becerra continues to champion urban environmental renewal.
Clean Renewable Water Supply Bond Act:
On November 19, 2009, Reps. Becerra and Ginny Brown-Waite introduced the Clean Renewable Water Supply Bond Act in the House. The bill will authorize public water agencies to issue tax credit bonds to finance innovative new water supply technologies and facilities. These include water-recycling facilities, projects to clean up and use impaired groundwater, and both seawater and brackish groundwater desalination projects. The CREWS bonds will be issued by public water agencies in exactly the same way as those agencies can presently issue conventional tax-exempt municipal bonds.
California Ocean and Coastal Protection Act:
Rep. Becerra supports of Rep. Lois Capp's California Ocean and Coastal Protection Act. This bill permanently prohibit oil and gas leasing off the coast of the State of California.