Energy and Environment
Energy and Environment
America’s national security and economic prosperity demand that we take charge of our energy future. The recent release of the National Climate Assessment is further proof of what we already know to be true – that our continued reliance on fossil fuels and inefficient use of our energy resources is affecting virtually every aspect of our economy and way of life. From two unprecedented storms that ravaged Connecticut, to increased flooding along the coast that threatens the integrity of our transportation infrastructure, it is abundantly clear that climate change is taking its toll on Connecticut.
We need an energy strategy that reduces our dependence on foreign oil, promotes energy efficiency, encourages the development of American energy technologies and sources, and helps preserve the planet for future generations. Smart energy policy will create jobs in the short-term and make our planet more livable for future generations.
For far too long, our addiction to Middle East oil has resulted in our funding both sides of the war on terror and left us vulnerable to the whims of unstable foreign governments and dangerous dictators. Reforming our energy policy to encourage the discovery and production of American energy sources and technologies will make our nation fundamentally safer.
Jobs & the Economy
Smart, forward-thinking energy policy that focuses on conservation and renewable fuels will reduce costs for families and businesses and create jobs. In the short term, these investments will create jobs in clean energy research and emerging manufacturing fields for products like wind turbines. In the long term, we will ensure American families and businesses have access to the cheapest, cleanest energy available anywhere in the world, raising our standard of living and making our businesses more competitive.
Accelerating America’s transition to a clean energy economy will spur the next great era of American innovation, but this transition will not occur without fundamentally changing our nation’s energy policies. We must build the foundation for a clean energy economy. That means setting rigorous standards that promote the use of clean energy, providing financial incentives that reward both reduced energy usage and increased reliance on renewable energy, investing in the development of clean energy technologies, and training workers for jobs in areas like weatherization and solar panel installation. I have cosponsored several bills – including the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act to provide a tax credit to energy companies that invest in offshore wind facilities, and the Renewable Energy Parity Act to provide energy tax credits for solar power and fuel cell projects – to help our nation begin this necessary and urgent transition to clean energy.
The cheapest energy in the world is the energy we do not use. From insulating buildings to increasing the fuel efficiency of the cars and trucks we drive, we can save energy and dollars. I support rigorous national fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. With buildings accounting for over 40 percent of our energy use, I have passed legislation that helps finance home retrofits and creates financial incentives for businesses and local governments to invest in “greening” their buildings. In addition to reforming our energy policy, we must also invest in improved efficiency in the other sectors of our infrastructure. I have sponsored legislation to improve access to public transportation and to encourage telecommuting as ways to help reduce our use of fossil fuels.
We have seen remarkable gains in the renewable and energy efficiency marketplace over the last several years, and it is important that the federal government provide incentives to allow the marketplace to continue to develop and thrive. With that in mind, I was proud to help introduce legislation to establish a Federal Green Bank, modeled after Connecticut’s Green Bank, to help finance the development of clean energy and energy efficiency projects. The Green Bank Act of 2014 will increase deployment of clean energy and energy efficiency technologies by providing financing in partnership with private investors for projects that use commercialized technology but cannot deploy at scale due to lack of reasonably priced financing.
Focus on our Future
We can’t afford to wait. Demand for energy grows constantly. Every day we allow the status quo to continue, we lose ground in the race to become the nation that will lead the clean energy revolution. As countries around the world race to find alternatives to fossil fuels, we must ensure that America takes a leading role in creating a safe and secure clean energy future.