Welch supports, House committee passes historic climate change bill
Bill includes Welch provisions based on Vermont successes
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Thursday night passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 - historic legislation capping carbon emissions, investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and creating millions of green jobs nationwide.
H.R. 2454 will cut global warming pollution 83 percent by 2050 and establish a renewable energy and efficiency standard of 20 percent by 2020. The legislation is expected to create more than 5 million jobs throughout the United States, according to a Center for American Progress study, and generate $750 billion for consumers, according to a Point Carbon study.
"Tonight we set our nation on a course toward a new energy future. Not only does this bill finally recognize the perils our planet and our economy face because of our changing climate, it provides a series of solutions that will make America stronger," Welch said. "This legislation represents a historic step forward in our efforts to cut carbon pollution, create green jobs and move our country toward energy independence."
H.R. 2454, which was authored by Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman and subcommittee chairman Edward Markey, includes several provisions authored by and advocated for by Welch - including a national energy efficiency retrofit program modeled on Vermont's leadership.
Welch successfully included in the bill:
- The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program, which was authored and introduced by Welch in March, provides financial incentives to homeowners and business owners to encourage them to retrofit the nation's existing buildings, which account for 10 percent of global carbon emissions. The program, based on Vermont's leadership, seeks to increase building efficiency 20 percent nationwide, while creating tens of thousands of jobs and helping homeowners and business owners save on energy bills.
- Consumer rebates and weatherization investments to residents in states like Vermont that rely upon home heating oil. These allowances will provide vital heating assistance to Vermonters and encourage them to make home energy efficiency improvements.
- An amendment creating a national Certified Clean Stove Program, building on Vermont's success with a similar program. This provision invests $20 million a year from 2010 through 2014 to encourage those who heat their homes with wood stoves to install cleaner-burning stoves - decreasing the quantity of wood necessary to heat homes and reducing the amount of air pollution.
- An amendment setting the nation's first energy efficiency improvement target. This provision calls for a 2.5 percent annual increase in energy efficiency from 2012 through 2030.
According to the Center for American Progress, the Waxman-Markey bill could inject $107-640 million into Vermont's economy and create thousands of jobs in Vermont in the coming years.