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Jeanne S.
Democrat NH

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  • Unanimous Consent Request—H.R. 2126

    by Senator Jeanne Shaheen

    Posted on 2014-12-15

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    SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I rise in support of my colleague and my partner in this energy efficiency effort, Senator Portman, to support his unanimous consent request that the Senate pass H.R. 2126, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act.

    I am disappointed to hear Senator Coburn's continued objection to this legislation and to energy efficiency measures. This bill is identical to a more narrowly focused energy efficiency bill Senator Portman and I introduced recently in the Senate. It tracks closely to legislation we have been working on actually for 4 years, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, also known as Shaheen- Portman.

    The legislation before us, H.R. 2126, is really a shortened version of Shaheen-Portman. Unfortunately, as we know, the longer version, the energy efficiency act, has stalled twice on the Senate floor--not due to concerns about what was in the bill but because of disagreements over other issues that were related to energy but unrelated to our bill.

    While we may not be able to pass the larger bill this session, the Senate still has an opportunity to pass meaningful energy efficiency legislation by passing H.R. 2126. This is bipartisan legislation that was introduced in the House by Representatives McKinley, a Republican from West Virginia, and Welch, a Democrat from Vermont, and passed the House earlier this year with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, 375 to 36.

    That broad bipartisan support extends beyond Capitol Hill. It enjoys the support of business groups and environmental organizations and efficiency advocates who all recognize that energy efficiency is the cheapest, fastest way to begin addressing the Nation's energy needs. Supporters include everyone from the Natural Resources Defense Council, to the U.S. Green Building Council, to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Real Estate Roundtable. The list of businesses and organizations that have endorsed this bill numbers over 200.

    This bill contains several provisions that will encourage efficient energy consumption, and as a result of this legislation, consumers and families will save money. The legislation will grow our economy, create jobs, and it will reduce pollution. It really is a win-win.

    Even though it is not the longer version of energy efficiency legislation Senator Portman and I have been working on for the last 4 years, it will do a number of things that are critical to address our energy needs.

    First, it will create a voluntary, market-based tenant star program. This is modeled after the successful ENERGY STAR labeling program from building owners. It sets up a voluntary certification system for efficiency and commercial tenant spaces.

    I see my colleague from New Hampshire Senator Ayotte, who I think is going to speak to this provision in the bill.

    I think it is important to remind people that what it does not do is provide financial incentives or create new regulations. It does not do that. It is a voluntary, market-based, business-friendly approach to encourage energy efficiency in commercial buildings. It also will establish a benchmarking and disclosure process for energy consumed in federally leased buildings, so we will all know how much energy is being consumed.

    Third, it will require Federal agencies to implement strategies to increase the efficiency of data centers that are operated by the Federal Government--a huge user of energy.

    Finally, it will remove a regulatory barrier to the manufacturer of large-scale water heaters. It is something Senator Hoeven has been working on for a long time.

    These four commonsense, targeted provisions are widely supported. As I said, they will grow our economy and help create jobs and demand for the American-made energy efficiency technologies. They will save businesses and families money on their energy bills, and they will cut pollution.

    I am pleased to join Senator Portman in this unanimous consent request, and I am disappointed that once again we are going to be prevented from moving forward with commonsense energy efficiency measures. I do hope that with the continued support on both sides of the aisle for energy efficiency, we will be able to come back before the end of this year and pass this measure.

    Thank you very much.

    I yield the floor.

    The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from New Hampshire.

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