Energy Efficiency Provisions Enacted During Lame Duck

Release Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2012

“They said it couldn’t be done in an election year, much less during a lame duck session of Congress – but the Alliance and its allies on and off the Hill have once again demonstrated the power of energy efficiency to find support on both sides of the aisle. And thanks to the commitment and perseverance of the sponsors for more than a year, new energy efficiency provisions that will benefit industry and the federal government are now the law of the land!” declared Alliance President Kateri Callahan.

“With President Obama’s signature on the bipartisan American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (H.R. 6582),” Callahan continued, “the stage is set for advancing additional energy efficiency efforts, and the Alliance is poised, once again, to take a leading role. Early next year the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy will release recommendations to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030.”

True Bipartisanship

The newly-enacted law, a modified version of the Senate-passed Enabling Energy Savings Innovations Act (H.R. 4850), includes energy efficiency provisions from S. 1000 authored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and S. 398, authored by Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Lisa Murkowksi (R-Alaska) – all honorary members of the Alliance’s Board of Directors.

“We commend and congratulate not only Sens. Shaheen, Portman, Bingaman, and Murkowski on enactment of this new energy efficiency law,” Callahan said, “but also Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), who sponsored the law’s House version, and Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), whose efforts brought the bill to the House floor earlier this month for an overwhelming 398-2 vote.”

The Long and Winding Road

The Alliance joined Sens. Shaheen and Portman when they introduced S. 1000 in May 2011 at a Capitol Hill news conference. This past June, the Alliance and several industry and efficiency advocates kept the momentum going at a second Capitol Hill event. A bipartisan majority of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the bill, but it did not come up for a vote on the Senate floor.

Also, in June, the House approved a version of H.R. 4850 to modify energy efficiency standards for walk-in refrigeration units. The bill was subsequently amended in the Senate to add fixes to other efficiency standards for residential and commercial appliances and provisions on industrial efficiency and federal government energy management. The Senate unanimously approved the modified measure in September.

Members of the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Energy Committees subsequently developed H.R. 6582, which included some provisions of H.R. 4850. House and Senate passage of that bill followed, culminating in today’s enactment by the president.

The new law includes these elements from the Shaheen-Portman bill:       

  • Coordination of research and development of efficiency technologies for industry;
  • A study of barriers to industrial electrical efficiency;
  • Best practices for advanced metering in the federal government; and
  • Disclosure of energy and water usage by federal facilities.

It also includes these S.398 and H.R. 4850 provisions that build on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) successful 25-year-old appliance efficiency program:

  • Technical corrections and specific fixes to recently-enacted standards;
  • Uniform treatment of conventional and tankless water heaters; and
  • Clarification of periodic reiew of commercial equipment standards and of DOE’s response to petitions regarding standards.

“We eagerly anticipate working with the new Congress and will encourage its adoption of the remaining provisions of S. 1000,” Callahan concluded. “We are gratified that energy efficiency has once again proved to be a policy for all seasons and all political persuasions.”

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