Harry Reid introduces more modest energy legislation

Washington, D.C., July 29, 2010 — In the wake of U.S. Senate Democrats’ admissions that their proposed American Power Act lacked the bipartisan support to move forward, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released a draft of new legislation to promote energy efficiency, electric vehicles and other measures.

Dubbed the “Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act,” the legislation does not include such far-reaching measures as a national cap-and-trade plan for regulating carbon dioxide or a federal renewable energy standard.

Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass), have publicly said they intend to revisit up the issue of a legislative fix for regulating carbon at a later date, and are now focusing on smaller legislation in hopes of garnering more votes than a larger, more ambitious bill could have.

According to Reid’s draft, the act would invest in Home Star, a bipartisan energy efficiency program that lowers consumers”Ëœ energy costs and create jobs.

The act would also address the nation’s reliance on oil as a fuel source by investing in vehicles that run on electricity or natural gas.

A large portion of the act focuses on the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and oil spill preparedness and accountability in general.

Division C of the act, titled “Clean Energy Jobs and Consumer Savings,” would provide $5 billion in incentives for the Home Star program, which will offer point-of-sale rebates to encourage homeowners to make energy efficiency upgrades.

The Home Star Efficiency Loan Program, directed by the secretary of energy, would make grants to states to financially assist qualified program delivery entities.

Division B, titled “Reducing Oil Consumption and Improving Energy Security,” would create within the Department of Energy a natural gas vehicle and infrastructure development program. The program would receive $3.8 billion in funding.

Another program, also within the DOE, would develop a national plan to deploy plug-in electric vehicles. The plan would include an assessment of the maximum number of plug-in electric vehicles that will be deployed by 2020 and 2030, as well as national goals for market penetration.

Through the act, the federal government would count electricity used to fuel plug-in electric vehicles as an alternative fuel.


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