Barton Bill Fails to Take Meaningful Action on Energy Efficiency

Release Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2001

As the Energy and Commerce Committee meets to mark-up the Barton bill, the Alliance to Save Energy notes that the efficiency provisions within this bill are incomplete.

"Increasing energy efficiency must be at the cornerstone of any comprehensive energy legislation. As it stands, the Barton bill fails to provide meaningful action to promote energy efficiency," states Alliance President David M. Nemtzow. "Unless enhanced significantly during the legislative process, this bill will do little to help the U.S. improve its energy efficiency."

The following amendments would make the Energy Commerce bill a successful piece of national energy legislation:

  • Fuel economy — Markey-Waxman: Will raise CAFE standards to a 40 mpg combined standard over 15 years, saving more than three million barrels of oil per day.
  • Appliance standards — Markey: Reverses the Bush Administration's rollback of air conditioning efficiency standards, helping ensure summer electricity reliability; directs the Secretary of Energy to promulgate standards for a variety of new products including torchiere lamps and exit signs, and set a standard for stand-by power required for appliances. This would be an enormous step to eliminate wasteful consumption.
  • Public benefit fund — Waxman: Creates a "Smart Energy Efficiency Fund" that would encourage utility investment in energy efficiency, low-income programs, renewable energy, and research and development. Potential savings are equivalent to the electricity produced by 300 power plants.
  • Federal energy management — McCarthy: Strengthens the Barton bill's FEMP provisions by establishing a Federal Energy Bank for energy efficient projects, requiring the purchase of Energy Star products, and revising agency energy reduction goals, reducing the Federal government's eight billion dollar annual energy bill. Any comprehensive energy legislation must include strong fuel efficiency standards, appropriate funding for energy efficiency programs, meaningful appliance standards, a national public benefit fund, and tax incentives for highly efficient products.