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New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act

On August 4, 2007, the House passed HR 3221, the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act.  This legislation will move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, develop innovative new technologies, reduce carbon emissions, create green jobs, protect consumers, increase clean renewable energy production, and modernize our energy infrastructure. The bill was signed into law on July 30, 2008.

This legislation puts us on a path toward energy independence, strengthens national security, grows our economy and creates new jobs, lowers energy prices, and begins to address global warming. It does so by investing in the future.  Specifically, we will invest in new energy technologies and innovation to create new jobs; improve energy efficiency for a wide range of products, lighting and buildings; make the federal government a leader in reducing energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions; and strengthen research and diplomatic efforts on climate change to protect our planet.  The Appropriations Committee is also boosting related programs in its bills.

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The New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act draws from eleven House committees and brings wide-ranging solutions to the table--with a major effort to further address global warming on the agenda for this fall.  Details of the legislation by committee:

Ways and Means Committee, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007 (H.R. 2776).  This bill will be voted upon separately and combined with the larger package through the rule.

  • The bill provides long-term incentives spurring the production of electricity from renewable sources, including wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, river currents, ocean tides, landfill gas, and trash combustion resources. 
  • The bill includes incentives to expand production of homegrown fuels such as cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel, along with increasing the number of E-85 pumps for consumers with flex-fuel vehicles.
  • The bill provides incentives for manufacturers to build appliances that push the boundaries of efficiency, helps working families afford fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid vehicles, and helps businesses create energy-efficient workplaces.
  • The bill encourages the deployment of renewable energy by providing electric cooperatives and public power providers with new clean renewable energy bonds that will allow these entities to install facilities that generate electricity from renewable resources. 
  • It also help States leverage tax credit bonds to implement low-interest loan programs and grant programs to  help working families purchase energy-efficient appliances, make energy-efficient home improvements, or install solar panels, small wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps. 
  • To pay for these renewable energy and conservation incentives, the bill repeals approximately $16 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies that were given during an era of record profits.  To ensure that oil and gas companies are paying their fair share of taxes, it closes a tax loophole that allows big oil and gas companies to game the system by understating their foreign oil and gas extraction income.   It also closes the “Hummer” Tax Loophole, fixing a serious mistake that provides an extra tax incentive for businesses buying luxury SUVs, while exempting vehicles that are used for legitimate business purposes.

Education and Labor Committee, Green Jobs - Title I

  • This title creates an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program to train a quality workforce for good “green” jobs -- such as solar panel manufacturers and green building construction workers -- that are created by federal renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives.
  • This program will provide training opportunities to our veterans, to those displaced by national energy and environmental policy and economic globalization, to individuals seeking pathways out of poverty, to at risk youth and to those workers in the energy field needing to update their skills.
  • A major national investment in renewable energy could create 3 million green collar jobs.

Foreign Affairs, The International Climate Cooperation Re-engagement - Title II

  • This title states that the U.S. should re-engage in and lead the effort to reach a global agreement that requires binding emissions reduction commitments from all the major emitters including China, India, and Brazil.
  • To reduce global greenhouse emissions worldwide, it directs the federal government to promote U.S. energy exports in clean, efficient technologies to India and China and other developing countries. 
  • The title also creates a new position within the Department of State, the Ambassador at Large for Global Climate Change, to serve as the lead advisor to the President and Secretary of State on these issues.

Small Business Committee, The Small Energy Efficient Businesses - Title III

  • This title gives small businesses tools they need to be more energy efficient and increase our energy independence, the bill increases loan limits to help small businesses develop energy efficient technologies and purchases, and increases investment in small firms that are developing renewable energy solutions.
  • It also provides technical assistance to small businesses to reduce energy costs.

Science and Technology Committee - Title IV

  • To spur innovation, the initiative includes a measure to create an Energy Department agency to coordinate revolutionary, high-payoff energy technology research and development that private industry is not likely to pursue on its own. (H.R. 364, Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E))
  • The initiative reorganizes the Bush Administration's climate change research program. (H.R. 906, the Global Change Research and Data Management Act) 
  • It requires federal research, development, and demonstration on carbon capture and sequestration (H.R. 1933, the Energy Carbon Capture, Storage Research, Development and Demonstration Act) and promotes research on biofuels. (H.R. 2773, The Biofuels Research and Development Enhancement Act) 
  • In addition, this initiative includes measures to bolster research on solar energy (H.R. 2774), geothermal energy (H.R. 2304), and marine renewable energy (H.R. 2313).

Agriculture Committee (based on energy title of Farm Bill) - Title V

  • Invests over $2.5 billion to help rural communities, farmers, ranchers and small businesses by reducing their energy costs through energy efficiency and promoting renewable fuels, including cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel.
  • This title helps finance the cost of developing and constructing biorefineries and biofuel production plants to carry out projects to demonstrate the commercial viability of converting biomass to fuels or chemicals.
  • Continues funding for the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program to award competitive grants to nonprofit organizations that educate governmental and private entities operating vehicle fleets, and educate the public about the benefits of biodiesel fuel use.
  • Increases Funding for the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Improvements Program, which authorizes loans, loan guarantees, and grants to farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements.
  • Extends and Funds the Biomass Research and Development Program to provide competitive funding for research and development projects on biofuels and bio-based chemicals and products. 
  • Improves and Increases Funding for the Bioenergy Program, which provides production incentives for increases in production of ethanol and biodiesel made from agricultural and forestry crops and associated waste materials, including animal manure and livestock/food processing waste.
  • Establishes a Forest Bioenergy Research Program to address the specific issues facing the use of woody biomass for bioenergy production.
  • Promotes the Federal Procurement of Biobased Products by providing funds for the testing and labeling of biobased products and for expanding awareness of the BioPreferred Program.

Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Carbon-Neutral Government - Title VI

  • To make the federal government a leader on reducing global warming, this title sets an ambitious goal requiring federal government operations to be carbon-neutral by 2050, with annual government-wide emissions targets.  The federal government is the largest energy consumer in the United States. 
  • Under the legislation, federal agencies must inventory their greenhouse gas emissions, freeze emissions in 2010, and then reduce net emissions by at least two percent each year to achieve zero emissions by 2050. 
  • The title contains new energy and fuel efficiency policies for federal operations, including minimum greenhouse gas emissions standards for federal fleet vehicles, green building standards for new federal buildings, and expanded authority for agencies to purchase renewable energy.

Natural Resources Committee, Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization - Title VII

  • This title ensures greater accountability to the taxpayer from companies that area drilling for oil and gas on federal lands.  Among other provisions, it requires more audits to ensure American taxpayers aren't being cheated out of the royalties they are due for the extraction of these publicly-owned resources. 
  • It authorizes a nationwide assessment of geological formations capable of sequestering carbon dioxide underground, as well as a review of the potential for carbon sequestration in ecosystems. 
  • The title establishes a national ocean observation system to gather information for climate change research, national defense, and marine commerce, a key recommendation of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative.
  • It ensures the development of a national strategy to assist wildlife populations and their habitats in adapting to the impacts of climate change, and provides states with new funding to assist wildlife in adapting to global warming.
  • The title would ensure oil companies that were awarded the 1998 and 1999 royalty-free leases for drilling pay their fair share in royalties.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Transportation Energy Security and Climate Change Mitigation - Title VIII

  • This title takes action to cut energy use and carbon emissions, by encouraging people to take mass transit, encouraging states to carry out transportation projects that reduce air pollution, and increasing federal help for local governments to purchase alternative fuel buses, locomotives and ferries.
  • This title requires the General Services Administration to use energy efficient and renewable energy systems in Federal government buildings.
  • It directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the potential for increased hydroelectric power generation at its facilities.
  • In addition, it directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to study its ability to respond to an increased number of natural disasters created or intensified by global climate change.

Energy and Commerce Committee - Title IX

  • In landmark efforts to strengthen energy efficiency, this title sets new efficiency standards for appliances such as refrigerators and freezers, requires more efficient lighting and promotes green buildings in the Federal and private sector, and works to speed up Energy Department action on new efficiency standards (after six years of reversal and delay of critical efficiency standards).
  • These efficiency provisions will reduce energy costs to consumers and remove as much as 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2030, more than the annual emissions of all of the cars on the road in America today.   
  • For cities, counties, and states, the title establishes an Energy and Environment Block Grant to be used for seed money for innovative local best practices to achieve greater energy efficiency and lower energy usage. 
  • It also promotes homegrown alternative fuels by providing assistance for the installation and conversion of E-85 fuel pumps and the production of flex-fuel vehicles that run on renewable fuel, and increases the amount of grants for cellulosic ethanol production to $1 billion. 
  • Another provision encourages the domestic development and production of advanced technology vehicles and the next generation of vehicle batteries and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
  • The title also creates a 'Smart' electric grid to modernize and strengthen the reliability and energy savings of our electricity supply and improves the Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and employ improved technologies.