The Alliance to Save Energy said today it is encouraged that the Senate has passed its version of economic recovery legislation that would invest some $30 billion in energy efficiency to advance the nation's critical job-creation and greenhouse gas reduction needs.
Washington, D.C., February 10, 2009 - The Alliance to Save Energy said today it is encouraged that the Senate has passed its version of economic recovery legislation that would invest some $30 billion in energy efficiency to advance the nation's critical job-creation and greenhouse gas reduction needs. The Alliance added, however, that it is looking to the upcoming House/Senate conference committee to restore additional urgently needed funds for energy efficiency programs.
"The Senate bill would pump substantial federal dollars into energy efficiency programs that return many times their original level of investment to taxpayers in the form of energy savings and new jobs, not to mention important environmental benefits," said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. She also praised the Senate bill for its more robust funding, compared to the House version, for energy efficiency research and development.
"Nevertheless, the Senate bill is disappointing compared to the House bill, with its $50 billion for clean energy investments," she added.
"So while there is much to like in the Senate-passed economic recovery bill, we look to the conference committee to resolve important differences with the House on energy efficiency provisions," Callahan said. "We trust that the conference committee will respond quickly to the nation's urgent economic and environmental needs and get a bill to the President in short order."
"We are confident that the economic recovery bill that is ultimately enacted will meet the president's call for a paradigm shift in environmental and energy policy," observed Alliance to Save Energy Director of Government Relations Brad Penney.
Areas where the Alliance recommends support for the House-passed funding levels include:
• Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) - The Senate level of $2.9 billion is too low to achieve the president's commendable goal of weatherizing one million homes a year. The Alliance advocates WAP funding at the House level of $6.2 billion.
• State Energy Program (SEP) - With $8 billion in "shovel-ready" projects in the 56 state and territorial energy offices managing SEP, the Senate's funding of $500 million falls far short of realizing this program's potential. The Alliance supports the House level of $3.4 billion for SEP.
• The Senate bill does not include a $300 million House-passed ENERGY STAR appliance rebate program for consumers. The Alliance urges that conferees include this provision in the final bill.
• The Alliance also urges conferees to include the House-passed $500 million for waste energy recovery incentive grants and $100 million for grants and loans for combined-heat-and-power and waste-heat-recovery technologies.
The Alliance also has called for funding missing in both bills, notably $100 million to enlarge the EPA ENERGY STAR Program. "We will continue the fight, in the regular appropriations process, to secure increased funding for ENERGY STAR and other important efficiency programs," Penney declared.