WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Act, which will invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency and continue efforts to put our nation on the path toward energy independence:
“Mr. Speaker, this important legislation is an explicit recognition that our great nation must make critical investments today in the development of clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency – investments that will strengthen our national, economic and environmental security for generations to come.
“We simply must begin to break our addiction to fossil fuels – particularly our addiction to foreign sources of oil.
“This morning’s headline in the New York Times states the harsh reality: ‘Gas Prices Soar, Posing a Threat to Family Budget.’
“The fact is, the nationwide average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.14 this week – an increase of 19 cents in just the last two weeks – and some energy experts fear gas prices could hit $4 a gallon this spring.
“Diesel prices are hitting new records daily, and oil hit a record high of $100.88 a barrel on Tuesday.
“To be clear, this legislation alone will not bring down gas prices. But it is a vital step forward.
“This bill is nothing less than a critical investment in the low carbon economy of the future that will result in the creation of millions of new jobs.
“It extends the production tax credit for wind, geothermal and other renewables to 2011, and renews the investment tax credit for individual homeowners and businesses to maintain incentives for solar energy through the end of 2016. Without the prompt extension of these tax credits, renewable energy project work stoppages could cost 116,000 jobs.
“Furthermore, this bill will spur the commercialization of the next generation of automobiles by establishing a $4,000 credit for the purchase of a plug-in hybrid.
“It will encourage investments in cleaner fuels, creating economic incentives to invest in bio-fuels, including bio-diesel and cellulosic ethanol.
“And, it will close the ‘Hummer’ tax loophole, which encourages taxpayers to buy gas-guzzling SUVS.
“In addition, this legislation will create incentives for the construction of energy-efficient buildings and the retro-fitting of existing homes, which will reduce pollution and energy use.
“Finally, the energy conservation bonds included in this bill will spur investments in efficiency, create jobs, and reduce carbon emissions.
“Now, in keeping with this Democratic Majority’s commitment to fiscal responsibility, this legislation will not add to the deficit.
“Rather, the tax incentives contained in this bill are offset by repealing $18 billion in unnecessary tax subsidies over the next 10 years that otherwise will be enjoyed by the largest oil and gas companies in America.
“Last year alone, the five largest oil companies had a combined profit of $123 billion – which only provokes this question: Do these companies need and deserve these taxpayer subsidies? The answer, of course, is no.
“Even President Bush – a former oil company executive – stated in 2005: ‘I will tell you, with $55 [a barrel] oil, we don’t need incentives to oil and gas companies to explore.’
“With the price of a barrel of oil hovering around $100, do we really believe that this incentive is justified?
“This legislation is a thoughtful effort to set our nation’s energy priorities – and thereby strengthen our national, economic and environmental security.
“Last year, when we passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, the President and Senate Republicans removed a package of economic incentives, including the extension of tax credits for wind and solar energy and biofuels.
“With this bill, we continue the fight for this critical aspect of our energy policy. I urge my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to support it.”