Congress Urged to Pass Responsible Energy Legislation

New Bi-Partisan Bill Powers Solutions, Says NRDC

Statement by Dr. David B. Goldstein, NRDC Energy Program Director

SAN FRANCISCO (April 22, 2004) - New bipartisan legislation moving through Congress can help solve America's most pressing energy problems without busting the budget or harming the environment, according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). The national conservation group praised Reps. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) for introducing a bill today that offers real solutions to America's most serious energy problems. The Efficient Energy through Certified Technologies and Electricity Reliability (EFFECTER) Act of 2004 contains the same provisions as S. 2311, which Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) brought to the Senate floor last week.

Below is a statement in support of the bill by Dr. David Goldstein, NRDC's energy program director:

"Congress should move quickly to pass this bill before the nation suffers another major blackout. This new legislation focuses narrowly on solutions. It would cut utility bills for families and businesses by making new technologies for energy efficiency and solar energy more available and more affordable. It addresses what everyone agrees are the nation's two most critical energy problems: electric reliability and high natural gas prices. These problems threaten to damage the economy and cause a loss of jobs.

"The bills are based on a simple, effective solution: energy efficiency. They offer tax incentives and new standards for energy efficient equipment and buildings, including schools and public housing. By encouraging energy efficiency, we can reduce demand for electricity, which eases pressure on the power grid. Reducing demand also would lower the cost of natural gas for electricity generation, saving consumers, businesses and governments money. The bills also include mandatory electricity reliability requirements that directly address the failures that caused the blackout of 2003.

"The legislation would reduce total natural gas use by 12 percent, and shave $30 billion off Americans' annual utility bills. These savings could reduce natural gas demand quickly, cutting gas prices for everyone. The savings would eliminate the need to build about 350 new power plants and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide--the main pollutant that causes global warming--by about 341 million tons per year. That's equivalent to taking a quarter of the cars off America's roads."