'American Power Act' Important First Step in Addressing America's Energy Needs, Alliance Says

Release Date:

Washington, D.C., May 12, 2010 – The Alliance to Save Energy today praised Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) for releasing the text of the long-awaited American Power Act, legislation that intends to cut carbon pollution by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83 percent by 2050.

“Today's release of the American Power Act demonstrates a tremendous amount of persistence and work across party lines among its authors,” said Alliance Policy Director Lowell Ungar. “Sens. Kerry and Lieberman should be commended for developing a strong foundation and building such a diverse coalition of businesses, environmental organizations and national security leaders for the eventual passage of clean energy and climate legislation this year.”

“Energy efficiency must be first priority if we seriously intend to cut carbon pollution in this country. The Alliance will continue to work with government, business and environmental leaders to strengthen this legislation, so that legislation ultimately signed by the president contains strong energy efficiency provisions.”

Ungar concluded, “We do understand the current political climate and recognize that final passage of this legislation will take strong leadership from both sides of the aisle; but the importance of immediate action cannot be overstated.” “We hope that leaders will put aside election-year politics and see the tremendous opportunity that we now have, starting with energy efficiency and renewable energy, to lead America toward a cleaner, more energy secure future.”

In addition to the broad limits on carbon emissions, the bill provides important allocations of funding from carbon allowances for energy efficiency -- although significantly reduced from funding in the House-passed and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee-passed energy and climate bills. At least 20 percent of the allocation for customers of natural gas utilities would be for cost-effective energy efficiency programs, and a small allocation would go to states for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs such as building codes, building performance labeling and building retrofits. In order to reduce emissions from transportation, the bill also includes robust funding for innovative state and local transportation programs and planning. The bill is mostly silent on energy efficiency policy in deference to the Senate Energy Committee's American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA).