House Approves Energy-Efficiency Bill

Habitat for Humanity volunteers build �green� homes for low-income families in Lynwood, California, 15 miles (24 km) south of downtown Los Angeles on April 22, 2010, Earth Day, The environmentally friendly homes will use less energy, water and natural resources and create less waste by including energy efficient appliances, recycled insulation, tankless water heaters and the elimination of side yards and garages, allowing for wide-open park space. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
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Clare Foran
March 5, 2014, 11:21 a.m.

Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans came to­geth­er in the House on Wed­nes­day to pass le­gis­la­tion de­signed to boost en­ergy-ef­fi­ciency pro­grams. The vote was 375-36.

The bill au­thored by Reps. Dav­id McKin­ley, R-W.Va., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., in­cluded a num­ber of pro­vi­sions aimed at en­ergy con­ser­va­tion, in­clud­ing le­gis­la­tion nick­named “Ten­ant Star” that cre­ates in­cent­ives for land­lords and ten­ants to boost en­ergy sav­ings in com­mer­cial prop­er­ties.

The pack­age also in­cluded pro­pos­als sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Cal­if., to pro­mote en­ergy ef­fi­ciency with­in fed­er­al agen­cies, and by Rep. Ed Whit­field, R-Ky., to in­crease ef­fi­ciency stand­ards for grid-en­abled wa­ter heat­ers.

Welch em­phas­ized the bi­par­tis­an nature of the le­gis­la­tion dur­ing de­bate on the House floor Tues­day.

“I have long be­lieved that en­ergy ef­fi­ciency is an area where we have com­mon ground in what is too of­ten a very di­vided Con­gress,” he said.

Sup­port­ers of the bill are now look­ing to the up­per cham­ber to fol­low suit. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Port­man, R-Ohio, made a bid last week to re­vive le­gis­la­tion that stalled in the Sen­ate last year by re­in­tro­du­cing it with a rack of new co­spon­sors and 10 new amend­ments. They hope the amend­ments will help se­cure the 60 votes needed to end de­bate and move to a floor vote.

Sen­ate lead­er­ship, however, has not yet sched­uled floor time for the bill.


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