U.S. House members Dear Colleague Letter and fact sheet

U.S. House members Dear Colleague Letter and fact sheet


Editor’s note: The current crop of Republican legislators and officials in Washington has not been noted for environmental concerns, to say the least. Hoping to affect the Senate and conference vote, the Environmental Law and Policy Center has been seeking the signatures of both GOP and Democrat congressmen in support of a new energy bill.

To date Rep. Don Manzullo of Egan and Rep. Dennis Hastert of Yorkville, speaker of the U.S. House, are among Republicans who have not signed the letter. Those who did sign are: Rep. Mark Kirk, Rep. Tim Johnson and Rep. John Shimkus. On the Democrat side the letter has been signed by Rep. Rod Blagojevich, Rep. Lane Evans, and Rep. Janice Schakowsky.

The following letter has been sent to U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo’s office, asking for his signature. To request Rep. Manzullo to sign, you can call his district office at 394-1231

Dear House and Senate Conferees:

We are writing to urge you to make sure that any energy bill that emerges from conference takes balanced steps toward greater energy efficiency and the development of our country’s vast renewable energy resources. These clean energy resources will enhance our energy security and reliability, keep energy dollars at home, diversify our energy supply, lower greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, improve public health, and create jobs.

In particular, as the House did not consider electricity issues during its consideration of the energy bill last year, it is critical that the conference report include strong electricity provisions that will enhance renewable energy development and improve energy efficiency.The House and Senate bills already contain some valuable clean energy provisions that should either be maintained or strengthened in a final bill:The national Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in the Senate bill is a good start to increasing the use of renewable sources of energy.The package of Appliance Efficiency Standards in both bills, but particularly the Senate bill, will provide businesses and consumers incentives for energy-efficient products and practices.

The package of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Research and Development Programs in both bills will accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies. Net-metering in the Senate bill is a commendable first step to ensuring that owners of small power systems are able to safely and economically connect their systems to the grid and reduce their electricity bills by the amount of electricity produced. FERC must, however, have the authority to guarantee that states are required to adopt the provisions.

In addition, consumer-friendly interconnection standards are needed to ensure that clean energy technologies can plug into the electricity grid.We also urge you to support a comprehensive package of tax incentives for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, one that targets at least two-thirds of the incentives toward clean energy technologies to help put this country on the path to a sustainable energy future. Although there are some worthwhile incentives for clean energy in the House bill, the tax incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy in the Senate bill are carefully targeted, technically sound, and generally preferable. The extension and expansion of the renewable energy production tax credit and the package of incentives for energy-efficient products and practices are particularly important.By ensuring that any bill that passes has a suite of these clean energy provisions, Congress could move a long way toward addressing the challenges of national energy security, environmental degradation, public health, and economic security.

Signatories include: Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

Hans Deitweiler is a Policy Advocate for the Environmental Law and Policy Center. For more information, contact Hans Detweiler, Environmental Law & Policy Center, 35 E. Wacker, Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60601 312-795-3720; 312-795-3730 (fax) Hdetweiler@ELPC.org; mailto:Hdetweiler@ELPC.org; www.elpc.org; http://www.elpc.org.

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