Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Action Alert: Support Energy Efficiency Bill

Recently two senators-- Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), -- introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 761). This bill seeks to increase energy efficiency standards, save consumer and businesses billions of dollars, add tens of thousands of jobs to the economy, and significantly cut carbon dioxide emissions. On Wednesday of this week, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will consider the bill, the first step towards a vote by the full Senate.

Your voice is needed to ensure that the Senate passes this important and bipartisan proposal to reduce our nation's energy costs, create new jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions! Click here to reach out to your senators now!

In 2008, the Presbyterian General Assembly approved "The Power to Change: U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming," where it urged that we do all we can to reduce our energy usage, our carbon emissions, and our contribution to global climate change.  This bill is not comprehensive climate legislation, but in the absence of that political possibility, this bill is a good step in the right direction.

Energy efficiency is a common-sense approach to many challenges our nation faces. Efficiency costs less than new power generation, saves families and businesses money, and boosts the economy. It is an effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and our dependence on foreign sources of energy. A report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy on a similar bill introduced last year found that it would create 80,000 jobs, save $4 billion in energy costs, and cut carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 by an amount equivalent to the emissions of 7.5 million cars (and 26 million cars by 2030).

When the bill leaves committee and is debated on the Senate floor, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) plan to offer an amendment to the bill that would direct the Secretary of Energy to establish a pilot program to award grants to nonprofit organizations, including religious non-profits -- like PC(USA) congregations -- to make energy-efficiency improvements to their buildings. Because many of the current incentives for energy efficiency are found in the tax code, it has historically been difficult for non-profit organizations to fund such improvements; this amendment would enable our churches and other non-profits to invest in more energy efficient buildings.

This bipartisan bill demonstrates that we can care for God's creation and our most vulnerable neighbors and communities in ways that create jobs, reduce costs, and build our economy. Write your Senators and ask for their support of S. 761 and the Klobuchar-Hoeven amendment today!