U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today voted for forward-thinking energy legislation that would change the direction of American energy policy and protect the environment.  The bill changes federal incentives from reliance on fossil fuels to greater use of renewable energy sources.  Smith supported the Energy Independence and Security Act, which passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 235 – 181.

“Prices at the pump, environmental quality, and the national security of our country are tied to our dependence on foreign and domestic fossil fuel sources.  The energy policy we passed today will lower energy prices, create new jobs, and make our country more secure,” Smith said.

“Our region has taken the lead in alternative energy sources for vehicles and electricity, along with energy efficiency standards.  This legislation would bring our national policies more in line with the progressive policies in the Pacific Northwest,” Smith added.

The fiscally responsible legislation passed by the House today pays for new initiatives by repealing tax breaks for oil companies enjoying record profits.  The revenues provided by closing these tax breaks would be reinvested in programs that support American innovation, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.  This legislation is the first step in changing U.S. energy policies to a more forward-thinking framework that protects the environment and bolsters our economy.

The energy policy outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act includes:

  • Green building standards.  Provisions in the bill would establish new standards for energy efficiency for building construction that could save Americans up to $50 billion per year.  Smith introduced green buildings legislation earlier this year and was pleased to see Congress focus on the issue in this legislation.
  • The first increases in vehicle fuel efficiency standards (CAFE) in 32 years.  The new standard would be 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
  • Establishes Renewable Fuels and Renewable Electricity Standards to increase the domestic use of renewable energy supplies, including American biofuels.
  • New energy efficiency standards for consumer products. 
  Provisions in the bill would establish new standards for energy efficiency for building construction that could save Americans up to $50 billion per year.  Smith introduced green buildings legislation earlier this year and was pleased to see Congress focus on the issue in this legislation.

President Bush threatened to veto the bill, a stance Smith urged him to rethink.

“This bill is fiscally responsible and would create new American jobs, make the U.S. more secure, and protect our environment.  The President should sign this bill when it makes it to his desk,” Smith said.