Climate Bill Released & Home Star Lobby Day

Thu, 2010-05-13 09:16

Here's the latest update from the National Save Energy Coalition.

1. Climate Bill Officially Released – This afternoon, Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-CT) released their much-anticipated climate bill, The American Power Act (read full bill here or summary here). The bill would reduce GHG emissions from 2005 levels 17% by 2020 and 83% by 2050. It would institute a cap-and-trade system for the electric sector, with energy-intensive manufacturers included in 2016 later; the transportation sector will also be part of the cap, but it will have a separate trading system. The American Power Act directs 2/3 of all revenues not dedicated to deficit reduction back to consumers as bill discounts and direct rebates. While it would expand offshore drilling, the bill offers two protections for coastal states. First, states can opt-out of drilling up to 75 miles offshore. Second, states can veto drilling plans further out “if they stand to suffer significant adverse impacts in the event of an accident.” The bill represents a solid starting point, developed after months of in-depth negotiations with Senators, for achieving the 60 votes necessary to pass. Therefore, the content of the bill will likely change as negotiations proceed. What chance does the bill stand to pass this year? Senator Reid has indicated that he will not bring the bill to the floor unless he receives help from Republicans; we will have to see over the coming days and weeks how moderate Republicans – and Democrats – react to the legislation. Importantly, the bill was released without the support of Senator Graham (R-SC), who worked for months with Kerry and Lieberman to craft the bill, then dropped out just weeks ago over concerns about immigration legislation. Graham did release a statement today indicating his agreement with the legislation’s objectives but doubting that it can pass. Nevertheless, the bill has received initial praise from a diversity of key stakeholders, including Republicans for Environmental Protection; major utilities such as PG&E, Duke Energy, and Exelon; oil companies like Shell Oil; the Nuclear Energy Institute, and a host of corporations and environmental groups. See the quotes here.

 a. Efficiency Provisions – The allowances granted to states can be used for energy efficiency purposes (e.g. building codes, building labeling, low-income efficiency, etc) and cost-effective energy efficiency programs for consumers, as well as renewables, smart grid, and transportation efficiency. Also, 20% of the value of natural gas allowances and 50% of the value of heating oil allowances must be spent on energy efficiency for consumers.

2. Home Star Lobby Day Next Week – Home Star must now pass the Senate, and to help, Efficiency First has organized a lobby day! It takes place next week, April 19th and 20th, and they hope to have nearly 150 contractors present. Both members and non-members are welcome, and there is a fee to cover the cost of materials, meals, and organizing. Click here for more details*. If possible, we encourage you to attend. We realize that with short notice and significant travel involved for most, attending may not be feasible. For those that cannot attend, please call your Senators on the 19th or 20th to state your support for the Home Star program and reference the Home Star lobby day. Your call will strengthen the impact of those actually meeting with Senators in-person. *There is a limited amount of grant money available for those who need financial assistance. Please email if you need and are interested in grant funding to help pay for your fee 

3. Thank Your Rep for ‘Yes’ Vote on Home Star – Home Star has passed the House! Find out how your Representative voted here. If they voted in favor of Home Star, please give them a call to thank them. It’s very important for politicians to hear thanks and support from their constituents. It helps assure them that they made the right decision, may make them advocates for Home Star to Senators, and will encourage them to champion future efficiency initiatives.

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