At Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee Hearing, Portman Testifies on Bipartisan Energy Efficiency Bill

Bipartisan Portman-Shaheen Legislation Will Help Reduce Emissions, Protect the Environment & Create Jobs

September 11, 2019 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Energy Subcommittee hearing, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) testified in support of his bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC), which he introduced with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) earlier this year. The legislation will improve energy efficiency in three key sectors – buildings, industrial, and the federal government. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential and commercial buildings accounted for about 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2018.  In addition, reports from the U.S. Department of Energy have found that the federal government is the largest single energy consumer in the country. By improving energy efficiency in these three key sectors, this legislation will help reduce emissions, protect the environment, and create jobs. The legislation also includes important provisions to reduce water usage and promote water conservation. A summary of the bill is here.

The full text of his remarks can be found below and a video can be found here.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate you and Senator Heinrich, for letting us come by here today and the opportunity to give a brief statement on the subcommittee legislation that you’re looking at today which is S. 2137 that Senator Shaheen and I have worked on for the past eight years. That’s the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. Back in 2015, as you’ll remember Mr. Chairman, President Obama did sign a few pieces of this legislation into law, but most of the legislation was caught up in the House. We did pass it in the Senate by an overwhelming vote of 85-12, and this committee has approved it overwhelmingly, on a bipartisan basis in the last four Congresses.

“I would also like to thank Under Secretary, you being here today, and the Department’s support of our energy efficiency efforts. During Secretary Perry’s confirmation hearing, he committed to working with me to help get this across the finish line, as you know, and we look forward to continuing to work with both of you.

“It improves energy efficiency in basically three areas: residential and commercial buildings, the manufacturing sector, and then the biggest energy user of all in the United States, which is our federal government. The greenhouse gas emissions reduction are equivalent to taking about 11 million cars off the road – we think even more, we’re getting more studies on that. But it just makes sense. It’s good for the economy, it’s good for the environment, it’s good for jobs.  

“I’m proud it doesn’t include heavy-handed mandates, something that, Mr. Chairman, some colleagues on our side of the aisle have been concerned about. In fact, the building code sections, in particular, are completely voluntary. We have developed a compromise that is supported, therefore, by a wide range of groups, including energy efficiency advocates, environmental groups, industry, states, and even some of the homebuilder groups.

“I’d like to thank the other cosponsors of this legislation in the Senate, but also our House sponsors – we have an identical House companion bill – and that would be Representatives McKinley and Welch, who have stuck with us. It’s time to get this bill passed once and for all. I appreciate you letting us come by today and I really appreciate you holding this hearing today.”