April 22, 2005
Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement in honor of Earth Day:
“Today marks 35 years since the first Earth Day. We, as a nation, have come a long way in terms of protecting our environment and our outlook on our responsibilities towards the environment. As a native Washingtonian, I have always valued the clean air and water in the Pacific Northwest. I have worked on legislation to protect these natural wonders and I have also been active on environmental issues including funding programs that will encourage the use of more efficient technology. For example, I have supported responsible funding increases for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program. The Energy Star program has a cost-effective, proven track record of saving energy and money. In fact, for every dollar spent on program costs, the Energy Star program produces average energy bill savings of $75 and sparks $15 in investment in new technology.
Investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy are particularly effective strategies for lowering energy costs. A mix of sustainable energy technologies offers one of the most cost-effective options for reducing the export of U.S. dollars to pay for burgeoning oil and natural gas imports. Renewable energy technologies also have the unique potential to tap domestic resources and create new sources of energy like solar and wind power. I have made several efforts on this front including supporting a long-term extension of the wind production tax credit which provides a 1.8-cent (adjusted periodically for inflation) per kilowatt-hour credit for electricity produced from a wind farm during the first 10 years of its operation.
There is still much more to be done and I am committed to continuing the progress. I am currently exploring ways for the promotion and development of next-generation building technology. The Department of Energy recently stated that buildings consume 39 percent of the energy used in the United States, more than cars or manufacturing plants. I’m pleased to see that Washington will become the first state in the nation to require new prisons, offices, schools, colleges and other publicly funded buildings meet a national environmental standard. This is a step in the right direction and I’m encouraged that in the future we will be able to incorporate cutting-edge technology that makes our buildings safer and more sustainable."