House Passes Bipartisan Energy Measures

March 12, 2014

pic-energy-powerOn March 4, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bipartisan energy bills of particular interest to NSBA. The first bill, entitled the Better Buildings Act was introduced by Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and would help promote energy efficiency improvements and efforts in both public and private sector buildings through new incentives and programs. The Better Buildings Act passed by a margin of 375-36 and includes similar provisions as those incorporated in the new Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency legislation reintroduced on Feb. 28 in the Senate. NSBA is hopeful that the passage of the Better Buildings Act will prompt the Senate to move on the reintroduced Shaheen-Portman legislation.

According to a 2011 NSBA Energy Survey, the majority of small businesses (82 percent) report having taken one or more steps to reduce the amount of energy their business consumes over the previous several years. The overwhelming majority, 92 percent, expressed concern about the future energy costs of their business.

The second bipartisan bill passed by the  House last week was the Electricity Security and Affordability Act (H.R. 3826), which was sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and would help to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate carbon emissions from new and existing power plants. The Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is still awaiting action in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Like the above-mentioned Better Buildings Act, NSBA is hopeful that House action will encourage the Senate to move on the Senate companion bill soon.

NSBA firmly believes that it is in the country’s best interests to pursue an all-of-the-above strategy to achieve adequate and affordable energy from stable and reliable sources while at the same time preventing adverse health effects from pollution and ensuring that any new policy does not place a disproportionate burden on small firms. NSBA will continue to keep members apprised of any developments with regard to the Senate measure.