Senators Reintroduce Bill for Transition to Energy-efficient Economy

In a renewed push for a national energy-efficiency strategy, U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) teamed up again on Capitol Hill to reintroduce the Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act. Industry leaders, energy-efficiency advocates and environmental stakeholders joined the senators to show their support for the legislation.

The reintroduced Shaheen-Portman legislation offers a deficit-neutral framework designed to promote the transition to a more energy-efficient economy while driving economic growth and encouraging private sector job creation. This bipartisan bill uses a variety of low-cost tools to reduce barriers for private sector energy users and will drive adoption of off-the-shelf efficiency technologies among the largest energy consumers.

“Washington can seem pretty divided these days, but there are some things on which we can all agree. This bill is one of them—it’s good for the economy and good for the environment,” Sen. Portman said. “By making it easier for employers to use energy-efficient tools, we are helping them to reduce their costs, enabling them to put those savings toward expanding their companies and hiring new workers. Some of the original legislation’s provisions have already become law, and now it’s time to finish the job.”

“We don’t often get legislation that brings Republicans, Democrats, business, labor and environmental leaders together, but with this bill we have,” Sen. Shaheen said. “Energy efficiency is the fastest, most cost-efficient way to tackle our energy needs and keep our economy competitive all while creating needed and sustainable jobs. Passing this bill would be a clear and quick win for the economy, taxpayers and the environment.”

Similar legislation cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the 112th Congress after similarly securing broad, bipartisan support. In total, last year’s legislation was endorsed by more than 200 entities ranging from businesses, environmental groups, think tanks and trade associations. Supporters included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades—all organizations that are supporting this year’s legislation, as well. Several provisions of the legislation, which focus on industrial and federal agency efficiency, were signed into law in December.

The updated legislation builds upon the earlier Congressional support for energy-efficiency legislation by embracing a bipartisan approach that will spur the use of energy-efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors of our economy. A study by experts at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy found that last year’s version would have saved consumers $4 billion by 2020 and helped businesses add 80,000 jobs to the economy. Shaheen and Portman’s efforts last year were “considered a textbook case on how to pass a bill,” according to a Roll Call article.

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