On Friday, the House of Representatives passed American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), H.R. 2998 (formerly H.R. 2454).
For those interested in bills like this in the future, I recommend following dhmeiser on twitter. He was sending out notes on how various representatives were leaning and who should be contacted.
Courtesy of Mike Morrill at Keystone Progress, here is a chart showing how the Pennsylvania congressional delegation voted.
Brady (D-01) Y
Fattah (D-02) Y
Dahlkemper (D-03) N
Altmire (D-04) N
G. Thompson(R-05) N
Gerlach (R-06) N
Sestak (D-07) Y
P.Murphy (D-08) Y
Shuster (R-09) N
Carney (D-10) N
Kanjorski (D-11) Y
Murtha (D-12) Y
Schwartz (D-13) Y
Doyle (D-14) Y
Dent (R-15) N
Pitts (R-16) N
Holden (D-17) N
T. Murphy (R-18) N
Platts (R-19) N
Comments from a few representatives:
Allyson Schwartz (D-13) statement in support of the bill:
“Madame Speaker, I rise today in support of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). This historic initiative will create jobs in new renewable energy industries and energy efficiency, reduce American dependence on imported oil, and decrease the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global climate change.
“The growth of these new industries will enhance the ability of the United States to produce its own energy and reduce the need for oil imports from foreign countries. We currently import nearly 60 percent of our energy needs from abroad. This imbalance makes our country dependent upon foreign countries for the fuel that keeps our economy running. It is estimated that ACES will reduce U.S. oil consumption by 2 million barrels per day by 2030.
“Growing our domestic clean energy industry and reducing our use of foreign oil will have an important tangible benefit – reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global climate change. The Nobel-Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has determined that significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, like carbon dioxide, are necessary to mitigate significant environmental consequences. ACES meets this challenge by creating a framework to reduce U.S. emissions 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.
“ACES accomplishes these goals while limiting costs to businesses and the consumer. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has determined that implementing this bill would cost the average household about 48-cents per day. ACES also includes assistance for energy-intensive manufacturing industries like steel, cement, and glass to ensure that these industries remain economically competitive in the global marketplace as we strengthen our environmental laws and transitioned to clean energy and greater energy efficiency.
“I am proud that this bill includes a provision I spearheaded that will require the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator to create a national strategy to reduce carbon emissions through biologic sequestration. Carbon dioxide can be absorbed from the atmosphere into plants, trees, and other vegetation through the natural process of photosynthesis. My provision would ensure that we utilize natural landscape and green infrastructure to maximize our ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere through a determined strategy for reforestation, improved agricultural practices, and urban greening.
“This important legislation defines new energy goals for our nation and enables us to lead the world towards a clean energy future. For businesses and families back home it identifies a way forward to not only reduce harmful carbon emissions but to create new economic opportunities, new “green” jobs, conservation and energy efficiency, and alternative, cleaner sources of energy. Together these actions will better ensure our nation’s security, economy, and health. I urge my colleagues to vote “yes” on this important bill.”
Joe Sestak (D-07)
“I do not want to be on the wrong side of history,” said Congressman Sestak. “Fifteen EPA administrators have made clear the need to address global warming and the provisions of this bill not only make environmental sense, but also economic and strategic sense. We need to spark an unprecedented transition to alternative, clean, and renewable power, to create a new clean energy economy and halt damage to our environment. Last year’s spike in the cost of gasoline, not to mention all of the other instances in which energy prices have hurt us economically in the last three decades, provide a clear signal that the days of our reliance on fossil fuels must end. In Pennsylvania, clean energy companies like Iberdola, Conergy and Gamesa have brought hundreds of new jobs. It is time to lay the framework for far-reaching and sustainable solutions.
“The American Clean Energy and Security Act continues to move this country toward a future powered by renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. While not perfect, it is a long needed step in the right direction. Two weeks ago, I raised concerns with Speaker Nancy Pelosi because I believed the bill did not go far enough to encourage renewable and non-emitting power sources. However, I voted for this bill because it makes real progress by investing in the transformation and strengthening of our economy, restoring the country into a position of leadership as global climate change talks start this fall in Copenhagen, and takes strides toward mitigating the negative affects of climate change. Importantly, the Act also provides protections for consumers, especially those who are the most economically vulnerable.
• Require electric utilities to meet 20 percent of their electricity demand through renewable energy sources and energy efficiency by 2020.
• Invest in new clean energy technologies and energy efficiency, including energy efficiency and renewable energy ($90 billion in new investments by 2025), carbon capture and sequestration ($60 billion), electric and other advanced technology vehicles ($20 billion), and basic scientific research and development ($20 billion).
• Mandate new energy-saving standards for buildings and appliances, and promote energy efficiency in industry.
• Reduce carbon emissions from major U.S. sources by 17 percent by 2020 and by more than 80 percent by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. Complementary measures in the legislation, such as investments in preventing tropical deforestation, will achieve significant additional reductions in carbon emissions.
• Protect consumers from energy price increases. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have estimated the cost per family as about the price of a postage stamp a day and energy bills for low-income families will actually decrease. According to the CBO, the bill not only will not cost the federal government, it will actually be a net revenue generator for the federal budget.
“I will continue to support efforts to transform our economy through the development of clean, alternative energy sources. This will not only position the United States better within the global economy, and put us on a stronger strategic footing, but also fulfill our moral obligation to address global warming,” said the Congressman.
“There is much more we can do. My 31 years in the United States Navy and the experience I accrued during my military career have affirmed my belief that Americans know the meaning of sacrifice. When called upon to do great things, this country not only rises to meet the challenge; it prospers. I am optimistic that we can work together to achieve real and lasting energy and environmental security, and I look forward to the fruitful years that lie ahead.”
The bill included an amendment proposed by the Congressman to require the Secretary of Energy to study how Thorium, a nuclear element, can be used to address our energy needs. The Congressman believes that nuclear energy needs to be part of our mid-term energy policy to increase domestic energy production and reduce our emissions. In addition, he understands that we must overcome nuclear waste issues. Under the amendment, Thorium could be used with or as a substitute for Uranium in nuclear reactors. Thorium-powered nuclear reactors have the potential to be more efficient and produce less than 1 percent of the waste of today’s Uranium nuclear reactors, while emitting no greenhouse gases. Using Thorium reactors do not breed plutonium, and can, in fact, be designed to “burn” plutonium into non-weapons grade material and, thus, decrease weapons proliferation. Additionally, Thorium nuclear reactors can help eliminate spent Uranium.
Paul Kanjorski (D-11)
“By no means is this energy bill perfect, but today, refusing to act was not an option. We need to begin the process of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, creating clean energy jobs in America, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Change in our energy economy will not happen overnight, but it is clear that in this situation, the positives outweigh the negatives. The University of Massachusetts estimates that 1.7 million jobs will be created by transitioning to a clean energy economy.
“I deeply understand the real concerns regarding the additional costs for consumers and businesses that are essential to the economy, especially during these difficult economic times, and I hope that the bill which emerges in consultation with the Senate will further address these concerns. I believe that the small incremental costs associated with this bill are a small sacrifice that we can all make to ensure the well being of this country in the long-term. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that subsidies for low-income families included in the bill will result in annual savings in energy costs of about $40. Furthermore, according to a recent study released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as a result of energy efficiency measures in this legislation, all consumers’ utility bills will decrease about 7 percent in 2020.
“I commend President Obama for taking on this ambitious effort to move our country toward greater energy self-sufficiency and environmental sustainability, and I believe this bill is a reasonable first step toward reaching a goal that I think we all share.”