U.S. Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, today introduced the Kerry-Boxer legislation to create clean energy jobs, reduce pollution, and protect American security by enhancing domestic energy production and combating global climate change.
Called the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, the bill could help the U.S. cut carbon pollution and stimulate the economy by creating millions of jobs in the renewable energy sector.
“This is a security bill that puts Americans back in charge of our energy future and makes it clear that we will combat global climate change with American ingenuity. It is our country’s defense against the harms of pollution and the security risks of global climate change,” Sen. Kerry said. “Our health, our security, our economy, our environment, all demand we reinvent the way America uses energy. Our addiction to foreign oil hurts our economy, helps our enemies and risks our security. By taking decisive action, we can and will stop climate change from becoming a ‘threat multiplier’ that makes an already dangerous world staggeringly more so.”
Some of the renewable energy and energy efficiency sections of the bill are listed below
- Section 161. Renewable Energy. Directs EPA to establish a program to provide grants and other assistance to renewable energy projects in states with mandatory renewable portfolio standards.
- Section 162. Advanced Biofuels. Directs EPA to establish a program to provide grants for research and development into advanced biofuels
- Section 163. Energy Efficiency in Building Codes. Requires the EPA Administrator to set a national goal for improvement in building energy efficiency.
- Section 164. Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance. Establishes the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance Program to provide allowances to States to conduct cost-effective building retrofits.
A major strength of the bill, according to Environment California, is that it preserves and builds on the Clean Air Act’s protections, which will enable America to move to wind, solar, and other clean energy technologies by requiring the nation’s fleet of old and inefficient coal-fired power plants to eventually meet modern air pollution standards.
“This bill is a good beginning,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, clean energy advocate with Environment California. “It is the first of many steps toward a cleaner, healthier, and safer world.”
In addition, the bill also improves on legislation passed by the House in June by aiming to cut global warming pollution from large polluters 20 percent by 2020. This comes just a week after the release of a sobering United Nations report concluding that the impacts of global warming are arriving faster than the world’s scientists had predicted just two years ago.