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Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WELCH. Mr. Chairman, Representative Gardner of Colorado and I offered this amendment. He's the lead sponsor, but his plane is late, and I'm standing in in his place as a cosponsor.

Previous legislation by this Congress required our governmental Agencies to do an energy audit, and the reason behind that energy audit was that it would lead to energy savings. There are firms that can do energy-saving contracts at no expense to the taxpayer, no expense whatsoever to the Federal Government.

The point of this amendment is to have the Department of Energy and other government Agencies that have already been directed to do the energy audit to get on with it, and the reason we want to have it done yesterday is so that we can begin today achieving savings for the American taxpayer.

There's a lot of debate in Congress among us as to what makes sensible energy policy. But there is immense consensus that whatever energy policy you favor, saving energy, using less rather than more, saving taxpayer dollars is a wise thing to do in every single policy that might be advanced by Members on both sides of the aisle.

So the point of the amendment that Mr. Gardner and I offer is basically to say to the Federal Government that, hey, let's audit the energy use in our buildings. Let's take practical steps to save money. Let's use a tool that costs taxpayers no money and guarantees that they'll save money, and let's get on with it.

Mr. Chairman, we seek support for this amendment. But before I yield, I do want to mention one aspect of the bill to which I am opposed and that I'm speaking on my own here, not with my cosponsor, and that's a rider in the bill.

Section 433 lays out a roadmap for designing increasingly energy-efficient new buildings. And the provision has a clause in it that will drive advances in building energy efficiency, deep retrofits and savings in taxpayer dollars, while reducing carbon pollution and leading by example. DOE is working to develop rules that implement section 433 in a workable and flexible manner, but the funding rider would block that.


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