Hearings and Business Meetings

Apr 30 2015

10:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Hearing on Energy Efficiency Legislation

10:00 AM

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

Chairman, Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee

Good morning. We’ll call to order the energy committee this morning. We are here today to consider a whole host of bills pertaining to energy efficiency.  We’ll have two panels this morning before the committee; one a panel of Senators who wish to speak about their legislation, and one of subject matter experts who can speak both to the bills that we’re considering today and the broader topic of energy efficiency overall. So thank you all for coming and helping us to understand the impact of the various bills that we have before us.

This hearing is also an important next step in the development of the energy committee’s very broad-based energy bill.  This is the first of four legislative hearings that we will hold in the next month. There will be one hearing for each title that we will be considering. We had a success last week with the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act. That was good to see that has now moved forward through the process and unanimous passage of that legislation I think indicates the level of support but it also indicates that the Senate is really capable of coming together to pass efficiency legislation that saves both energy and money. It’s good for the consumers. It’s good for all.  This issue, the issue of energy efficiency, I think is a good bipartisan place to start our discussions when we’re talking about federal energy policy.

So we’ve got 22 bills before us today.  I think that is some measure of the interest that we have in this. Some of the measures are very well-vetted. We’ve seen them before. We have Senator Portman and Senator Shaheen’s Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act.  We have some new ones, such as the Smart Building Acceleration Act.  Some, like the PREPARE Act, encourage collaboration across many levels of government and stakeholders.  Others are targeted towards a specific need – for example, the ceiling fan fix. How much more specific could we be than ceiling fans. Several reauthorize established programs, and several others would require new standards and programs. Some are voluntary in nature, while some are mandatory. And still others seek to make the federal government more effective in financing and implementing efficiency projects. 

Taken as a whole, the bills before us cover a wide variety of efficiency ideas.  They offer the potential to reduce energy usage and costs across our country and really throughout our economy. They put forward methods to enhance our leadership on efficiency technologies and to develop a cadre of professionals to work in this field and they also seek to protect consumers, manufacturers, and the environment from unintended consequences of new or revised standards. 

So, I am pleased that we’ve got witnesses here who can speak to these many bills, as well as the impacts they will have on the government, not only the federal government but our state government, consumers, the economy, and front-line project implementers.  So it should be an interesting and pretty far-ranged discussion this morning but I think it is again important that we consider how we can work to build an energy efficiency title that works for all.

So in the interest of efficiency – and in light of the number of measures we are considering – I will conclude my comments, turn to the ranking member for hers this morning. Welcome our fellow colleagues who have taken time out of their very busy mornings to come before the committee and look forward to your comments and your presentation as well. 

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