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Rep. Welch Opening Statement at the Meeting of Senate and House Conferees on S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016

Thank you very much. Thanks Senator Cantwell, I thank our wonderful Chair, Fred Upton, and Ranking Member Frank Pallone.

My focus on these issues has been on energy efficiency and the reason I’ve done that is because we have been mired in a very contentious debate about climate change, which gets us into disputes about which is the right fuel. But where we’ve got common ground, Republicans and Democrats, is on energy efficiency.

The wisdom of having a very aggressive approach on energy efficiency is really apparent. Number one, you save money. Whatever the fuel is, if it’s coal, if it’s oil, or even if it’s wind or solar: if you’re using less, you’re saving more. And there’s no reason we can’t have policies that get that job done. It’s going to help us in coal country, it’s going to help us in wind country, it’s going to help us in oil country.

The second thing is energy efficiency, in order to be implemented, requires local jobs: tradespeople to come in and insulate homes, plumbers, pipe fitters—this is real work that’s going to be done by Americans who need to do work.

And finally, there’s an incidental benefit: it reduces carbon emissions. And in fact, in the Waxman-Markey Bill that passed in the House and didn’t quite make it in the Senate, 40 percent of the carbon emission goal was going to be achieved through energy efficiency.

We’ve had on the House side tremendous work by Republicans and Democrats. My colleague next to me, David McKinley, has been a leader, as have Adam Kinzinger, Bob Latta, and we've got a lot of support from Fred Upton. So this is the area where we have to just take the common ground that is there.

A number of the provisions in the Senate side are tremendous. The Shaheen-Portman legislation that’s been mirrored by provisions that Dave McKinley and I put in the House are great. I think they should be part of the final package. I look forward to working with my colleagues and making certain that we come out with a product that’s going to make things better.