Homestar Energy Retrofit Update

Fri, 2010-06-18 09:57

Here's the latest update from the National Save Energy coalition:

1. Obama Calls for Clean Energy Bill – In an Oval Office address to the nation last night regarding the on-going Gulf Oil spill, President Obama declared the need for a new national energy policy. He acknowledged that such a policy will have costs but stressed that “we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy – because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater.” While the President did not present a specific platform for such an energy policy, he did offer numerous options for inclusion. In the coming weeks, the President will meet with leaders of both parties to discuss these options.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have already begun considering an energy bill. After a meeting of the Democratic Committee Chairs last week, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) tentatively set July 12 as the date for the release of an energy bill. Tomorrow, June 17, Democratic Senators will meet to discuss possible content. Most likely, they will base the legislation on the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (an energy-only bill) from Senator Bingaman (D-NM). Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-CT) will then offer an amendment to limit greenhouse gas emissions using provisions from the American Power Act (climate bill) from Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-CT). Watch the President’s speech in its entirety here.

2. EPA Analysis of American Power Act – On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency released their 74-page analysis of the climate bill from Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-CT), the American Power Act. The analysis finds that their plan would cost the average household about $80-$150 per year - less than $1a day. While support is far from universal for a climate change bill in the Senate, Senator Lieberman made it clear during a press conference that he think Americans are willing to incur that modest fee in return for improved energy security, job creation, and environmental protection. Additionally, the EPA analysis does not incorporate many of the benefits that the bill generates, economic and otherwise, such as reduced energy bills from energy efficiency measures or the avoided costs of a warmer climate, such as air pollution and migration of disease. Download the full report from the EPA’s website here.

3. Senate Defeats Murkowski Resolution – On June 10, the Senate defeated a resolution from Senator Murkowski (R-AK) that would have prohibited the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the authority of the Clean Air Act. Ahead of the vote, Senator Murkowski’s resolution had 41 co-sponsors, meaning that she needed to win over only 10 more Senators for the resolution to pass. Numerous environmental and business groups stepped up pressure on the Senate in the days before the resolution, helping to ensure a 53-47 defeat. The resolution was widely seen as a precursor to the debate over climate change legislation, and had it passed, it would have provided a strong negative signal to pursuing a bill this year. Opponents of the resolution argued that retaining EPA’s authority to regulate GHGs is critical to keeping pressure on Congress to pass a climate bill, and in the case of Congressional inaction, the EPA remains a viable (if not ideal) alternative for GHG control.

4. Home Star Update – This week and next, members of the Home Star Coalition will meet with Senate offices in preparation for the full Senate considering the bill. The Coalition hopes to meet with all 100 Senate offices to personally brief staff, answer questions, and ask for Senators’ support. As it stands, Home Star has been introduced into the Senate Finance Committee with bipartisan support and will likely be packaged with other legislation into a larger bill. Then the Finance Committee will vote on the combined bill and if it passes it will come before the full Senate for a floor vote. The Home Star Coalition expects a vote before the July 4 recess. Stay tuned for action updates. We’ll need your support when the bill comes up for a vote!