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Pelosi: 'Energy Legislation Vital for a Greener and More Prosperous Future'

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the floor this afternoon urging the passage of H.R. 5351, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008.  The legislation passed with a vote of 236 to 182.  Below are her remarks:

'One year ago, actually a little longer, January 2007, Mr. Rangel brought to the floor legislation similar to this.  What it did was to repeal the subsidies for Big Oil and to use the funds for research and renewable energy resources and tax incentives for that purpose.  The bill passed the House overwhelmingly as part of our bipartisan energy bill, but it did not survive the Senate because the President threatened to veto the bill, if these subsidies to Big Oil were repealed.  Imagine that. 

'So the energy bill we passed last year, as much of a triumph as it was by having new CAFÉ standards for the first time in 32 years, did not have this very important other part, which would be the tax incentives for renewable energy resources.  So thank you, Chairman Rangel, for your persistence and for bringing this legislation to the floor now to give us this special opportunity. 

'Since Mr. Rangel first brought this bill to the floor last January, the price of gasoline at the pump has gone up 75 cents.  75 cents since we first took up this legislation --imagine what that means to a household's income.  The price at the pump has increased 17 cents just in the past two weeks.  Just yesterday, oil prices reached another new record at more than $101 a barrel.  This is at a time when oil companies are making record profits.  Listen to this, my colleagues: last year, ExxonMobil earned $40.6 billion in profit -- the largest corporate profit in American history.  And yet, the Bush Administration refuses to repeal billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies to Big Oil. 

'This bill repeals those subsidies and invests in the clean renewable energy that will put us on a path toward energy security and energy independence in a fiscally responsible way -- by repealing subsidies only to Big Oil companies already making record profits.

'With the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act that we are considering today, we have the opportunity to invest in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency, to grow our economy, creating new jobs, lower energy costs, strengthen national security, and reduce global warming.  That's very important because so many people across the country who are being innovators, who are being disrupters, who are making change, and this change centering around energy is very important and this legislation is vital to them.

'This legislation: strengthens and extends the production tax credit, which will spur the deployment of wind, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, tidal, and landfill gas; extends the solar and fuel cell investment tax credit, and offers tax incentives for residential solar, wind, and geothermal technologies; creates a new production tax credit for cellulosic ethanol and extends the biodiesel production tax credit; expands the tax credit for gas stations that install alternative fuel pumps, such as E85 pumps; includes tax incentives to promote greater efficiency for homes and businesses and creates a new tax credit for plug-in hybrid vehicles; and creates a new category of tax credit bonds to fund local initiatives to promote the deployment of green technologies.

'It will spur the production of clean renewable energy sources and provide business with the certainty necessary to make long-term plans to build viable and sustaining markets for these technologies.  This is all about answers in the marketplace.

'It will ensure we keep the jobs that were created with renewable tax credits, and create hundreds of thousands more - the next generation of good-paying, green collar jobs that will be right here in America. 

'Because this legislation is vital for a greener and more prosperous future, it is supported by a broad coalition from business, environmental, and labor communities - from corporations such as Home Depot and Dow Chemical Company, to the Sierra Club, to the United Steelworkers and the National Farmers Union.

'Energy independence is an economic issue - in terms of budgets for America's families, and creating new green jobs; it is an urgent national security issue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil; it is an environmental and health issue to reduce global warming and protect the health of our children; and it is a moral issue to care for our planet.  We work closely with the evangelical community on these issues because they believe, as do I, that this planet is God's creation and we have a moral responsibility to preserve it. 

'I urge my colleagues to support the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act, and in so doing, take the next step for a green economy, green jobs and a green future.'