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Sen. Franken-Backed Bill to Promote Retrofitting Buildings Clears Key Hurdle

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U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said that a key Senate energy panel today approved a bipartisan measure to support efforts like his "Back to Work Minnesota" initiative to create jobs by retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient.

Sen. Franken, a member of the Senate Energy Committee, said the panel passed the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act Wednesday, which would provide grants to states and localities looking to improve the energy efficiency of public and private buildings. The measure would save businesses and consumers money and make America more energy independent.

"Making buildings energy efficient saves money and creates jobs. As I work with Minnesotans to help them retrofit buildings, I often hear that a major obstacle to building retrofits is the financing," said Sen. Franken. "By creating financing mechanisms and partnering businesses with city leaders, we can overcome barriers to making buildings more energy efficient while helping Minnesota's economy-it's a win-win."

Sen. Franken said Minnesota is positioned particularly well to benefit economically from retrofitting, with energy-service companies, leading window makers, and other manufacturers headquartered in the state.

Sen. Franken's Back to Work Minnesota initiative has raised the profile of energy efficiency projects throughout Minnesota. The initiative brings local and national leaders together with building owners and manufacturers to improve energy efficiency and create jobs. Senator Franken, Chairman of the committee's Energy Subcommittee, plans to hold a series of hearings focused on making energy efficiency improvements and creating jobs throughout the economy.

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act was introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). The bill passed out of the Energy Committee today with wide bipartisan support. For more info click here.

This week Sen. Franken also introduced the bill that will be the basis for the energy section of the Farm Bill. His Rural Energy Investment Act will help farmers, ranchers, and rural communities by encouraging the growth of agricultural energy technologies, including advanced biofuels, biogas, biomass, and renewable energies.

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