Wednesday, 12 June 2024

House passes Energy Independence and Security Act

WASHINGTON – On Friday, the House of Representatives passed landmark legislation to decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and reduce our emission of greenhouse gases.


In addition, the Energy Independence and Security Act (H.R. 6) is poised to reduce energy and gas prices, create new jobs and strengthen national security. It also provides historic tax incentives for businesses and homes that become more energy efficient or switch to clean, renewable energy sources.


“The steps we took today to promote energy independence and the protection of our natural resources will improve the lives of generations of Americans,” said Congressman Mike Thompson, who voted in favor of the bill. “Our dependence on foreign oil has serious consequences for our economy and national security. And our dependence on greenhouse-gas-emitting energy sources is putting the health of the entire planet at risk. This Congress has made an historic commitment to redefining American energy consumption, and this legislation is a large step toward achieving that goal.”


One of the bill’s most groundbreaking provisions would increase fuel economy standards (also known as CAFE standards) to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 for new cars and trucks, which will save Americans money at the pump.


In addition, it will reduce oil consumption by 1.1 million gallons per day in 2020 (one-half of what we currently import from the Persian Gulf) and reduce greenhouse gases equal to taking 28 million of today’s average cars and trucks off the road. This is the first increase in CAFE standards by Congress since 1975.


The legislation would also make a robust investment in American biofuel production. This includes a focus on diversifying the crops used in biofuels so that states from coast to coast will benefit from the provision.


It would require utility companies to generate 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, ocean tides and geothermal.


It would also strengthen and extend renewable energy tax credits, which Congressman Thompson championed as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. These include a long-term extension of tax credits for businesses and homes that use solar power, as well as other improvements to make the tax credit a better value for homeowners.


In addition, there is a four-year extension of the production tax credit for other forms of renewable energy, including many forms which are produced in the 1st Congressional District such as biomass and geothermal.


Other incentives include:


  • A tax incentive for the installation of energy management devices known as smart meters, which give consumers near real-time access to their energy usage information;

  • An extension of a tax credit for homes that make energy-efficient improvements or purchase energy-efficient devices;

  • A new tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles; and

  • Allowing employers to include the cost of employees commuting by bike in any transportation benefits they may provide.


“With the way energy costs are skyrocketing, we need to do everything we can to make energy-efficient homes, businesses and vehicles more available and affordable,” said Thompson. “Investments in renewable energy not only improve our environment – they will create more American jobs and help us to better control our country’s future.”


The measure also repeals about $21 billion in tax subsidies for Big Oil, which is similar to provisions included in H.R. 6 when it was passed by the House in January.


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