Energy Efficiency Bill Gaining Momentum in Senate


Senate energy efficiency legislation backed by companies such as the Dow Chemical Co. and investor-owned utility National Grid could be brought back to the floor in May, the legislation's sponsor said April 10, citing talks with Democratic leadership.

"We are still trying to work out that agreement, but that is what we are shooting for," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) told Bloomberg BNA, adding that a deal to limit floor amendments "still has to be worked out."

Shaheen said talks are under way to bring up the legislation (S. 2074) after consideration of a minimum wage bill, which is expected to be considered by the Senate when Congress returns from a two-week break April 28.

A senior Democratic aide confirmed that talks are under way but told Bloomberg BNA that a definitive agreement had yet to be reached.

Leadership Priority

The legislation, introduced in February, would authorize funding for measures to increase energy conservation in the federal government, establish voluntary national model building codes and boost energy efficiency in the manufacturing sector.

The bill is among the Democratic leadership's legislative priorities. Proponents have estimated that it would save $13.7 billion annually and avoid 533 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Shaheen and co-sponsor Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have been working with Senate leaders to reach an agreement to limit amendments to be considered on the Senate floor, after a flurry of amendments related to health care and other non-energy issues sapped the bill's momentum in 2013.

The version reintroduced by Shaheen added measures designed to increase Republican support, such as a repeal of a mandate that federal buildings phase out fossil fuel use and a measure to limit use of the U.S. Green Building Council's updated building rating system, LEED v4, in federal buildings.

Would House Committee Act?

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said in October 2013 he would move the legislation through his committee if it passed in the Senate.

Energy efficiency legislation (H.R. 2126) approved by the House in March included some aspects of the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill, including a program to promote energy efficiency in commercial spaces leased to tenants.


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