Alliance President Kateri Callahan Urges Congress to Pass Legislation that will Lower Energy Costs for All Americans
Washington, D.C., June 9, 2011 - Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan today testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in support of two bills that address our nation’s critical energy challenges with increased energy efficiency - the bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act of 2011 (S.1000) introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and S. 963, the Reducing Federal Energy Dollars Act of 2011 introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.).
Callahan stated, “Taken together, the many important provisions in these two bills will save American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars by cutting energy waste in the federal government, and will put tens of billions of dollars back into the pockets of American families and the bottom lines of American businesses by driving energy efficiency into our homes, buildings and businesses, as well as the manufacturing sector.”
Of the many provisions contained in both bills, the robust building code provisions contained in the Shaheen-Portman bill would deliver the greatest energy and monetary savings. ESIC’s building code upgrades are projected to save 4.4 quadrillion Btu of energy per year – approximately equivalent to current annual energy use in Florida – while also saving consumers tens of billions of dollars by 2030, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
Energy Efficiency Bill Demonstrates Potential of Bipartisanship
Callahan also lauded ESIC’s authors – Sen. Shaheen, who serves as the honorary chair of the Alliance’s Board of Directors, and Sen. Portman – for reaching across the political aisle in the interest of all Americans. “We commend Sens. Shaheen and Portman for working with businesses, consumers, environmentalists, states and others to find ways for the government to help all of us use energy efficiency to save money, stop waste and conserve our nation’s energy resources,” said Callahan. She continued, “The Shaheen-Portman bill demonstrates that energy efficiency can be the means by which the Congress finds bipartisan agreement on a key piece of meaningful national energy policy.”
In addition to the building energy codes, ESIC uses a variety of low-cost tools to reduce barriers to the implementation of energy efficiency projects and drive the adoption of off-the-shelf technologies that will save businesses and consumers money, help reduce American dependence on imported oil, reduce pollution and foster job creation. These include:
- A revolving loan program to help manufacturers retool to reduce energy waste and increase competitiveness;
- Expansion of the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee program to cover energy efficiency upgrades, thus bringing down the operating costs of commercial and municipal buildings and creating construction jobs; and
- A rural energy loan program to help rural electric cooperatives make zero-interest loans to homeowners and small businesses for energy efficiency improvements.
Carper Bill Would Lower Federal Energy Costs
In addition to expressing the Alliance’s support of S. 1000, Callahan also commended Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) for introducing S. 963, which calls for cost-effective energy efficiency improvements in federal buildings, equipment and vehicles. Several provisions of Carper’s bill are mirrored in S. 1000.
The U.S. government, the nation’s largest energy consumer, spent $24.5 billion and used 1.6 quadrillion Btu in FY 2008.
“Cost-effective energy efficiency improvements on the part of the federal government save taxpayer dollars while reducing foreign oil dependency,” Callahan noted. “The Alliance has long urged the federal government to lead the nation by example when it comes to efficiency, and this bill would further that goal by helping federal agencies bring new technologies and ideas to the fore and showing what they can achieve.”
Callahan concluded, “Our nation faces many energy challenges, including rising costs which put the pinch on every American and U.S. business. S. 1000 and S. 963 make use of our best and most abundant domestic resource – energy efficiency – to make significant progress in addressing these challenges, while helping speed the transition to a sustainable economy and increasing both our economic competiveness and our energy security for generations to come.