Today’s hearing on S.661 examines legislation aimed at helping America’s manufacturing base create more jobs, use less energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive the technologies that will enable the U.S. to continue to compete on a global scale. By supporting domestic production of advanced energy technologies, the bill will help hasten the development and use of clean energy technologies – a major goal of the Obama Administration.
Chairman Bingaman: “The economic, energy and environmental challenges that our nation faces underscore why we need to revitalize America’s industrial base. It’s not just job losses – it’s also the erosion of the foundation upon which our nation’s wealth is built. This legislation confronts those challenges by helping industries boost productivity while using less energy. That will create millions of high-quality jobs and help ensure that America retains its position as a top innovator of clean energy technologies.”
Currently, manufacturing employment in the U.S. is at a 63-year low. Over the last seven years, the U.S. economy has lost more than 4 million manufacturing jobs, with 1.3 million of that in just the last year alone. At the same time, the U.S. industrial sector uses more energy than any other, accounting for nearly a third of our nation’s total energy consumption (while simultaneously producing a third of greenhouse gas emissions). Energy costs are often a manufacturing plant’s biggest avoidable cost, and a national effort to help industry lower those costs will improve both production efficiencies and the ability to compete globally.
The manufacturing sector in the U.S. offers one of the most prevalent and lowest-cost opportunities for energy efficiency improvements and greenhouse gas emission reductions. The growth potential in clean energy technologies also offers a superb opportunity for the United States to increase domestic production of these technologies.
S.661, the Restoring America’s Manufacturing Leadership through Energy Efficiency Act of 2009, will hasten this transformation. It focuses on improving the energy productivity of American industry by providing financing mechanisms for manufacturers to put into place cost-competitive, energy efficient equipment and processes. It also would speed the development and deployment of breakthrough technologies in the green energy sector.
Ten senators are co-sponsoring S. 661: Bingaman (D-NM), Murkowski (R-AK), Collins (R-ME), Stabenow (D-MI), Snowe (R-ME), Bayh (D-IN), Brown (D-OH), Pryor (D-AR), Kerry (D-MA) and Schumer (D-NY). The legislation will be considered as part of the comprehensive energy legislation that the Senate Energy Committee will begin marking up next week.
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