America needs a comprehensive national energy plan that reduces our dependence on foreign oil and ensures we have access to reliable, affordable and cleaner domestic energy. Ohio can play a key role in that plan by recognizing and harnessing the power of Ohio's natural resources - including natural gas, coal, solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, oil, and bio-mass - and matching them with our skilled workforce, advanced technologies, and strong research and manufacturing capabilities in a way that creates more jobs and opportunities for Ohio. We should also put increased emphasis on energy efficiency and conservation, key components of a new energy policy where Ohio can also play an important role.

A new push for domestic energy and conservation can also directly benefit Ohio manufacturers and Ohio workers, many of whom make products for gas and oil production, the nuclear power industry, wind and solar power generation, clean coal processes, and the implementation of effective energy efficiencies, such as insulation, lighting, HVAC, and appliance refits, for homes and commercial buildings. Finally, Ohio will benefit as a center for energy research.

Rather than stifle the ingenuity of American enterprise and our market system through government interference and burdensome regulation, we need an energy policy that develops all domestic forms of fuel and energy, fosters renewed investment in research, development and infrastructure, and encourages conservation and efficiency.

Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act

I believe that the federal government should promote policies that will help create jobs and economic growth while ensuring a cleaner and healthier environment. That is why I introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act with Senator Shaheen (D-NH).

The bill will make our economy more productive and create jobs by incentivizing the use of energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of our economy.   Existing efficiency initiatives have already saved taxpayers more than $300 billion in energy bills and have reduced national energy use substantially.  Our bipartisan bill takes efficiency to the next level through a variety of low-cost tools to encourage the use of efficiency technologies that will reduce costs for businesses and consumers, while making America more energy independent.

I am pleased that components of ESIC were signed into law by President Obama on April 30, 2015. The law contains important energy efficiency provisions that will strengthen the economy and reduce pollution.  This includes the creation of the Tenant Star program, a voluntary, market-driven approach to incentivize commercial building owners and their tenants to reduce energy consumption. 

We believe this legislation will increase both our economic competitiveness and our energy security, while stimulating the economy and encouraging private sector job creation. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get ESIC across the finish line.

Read more about the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act.

See a list of endorsements here.


Carbon Capture Improvement Act

I also introduced the Carbon Capture Improvement Act with my colleague, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), to help power plants and industrial facilities finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture and storage equipment. Carbon capture is a common-sense solution that will allow states like Ohio to continue to utilize our natural resources while protecting our environment at the same time. This bipartisan legislation is supported by business groups, energy groups, and environmental groups.  

The Carbon Capture Improvement Act would allow businesses to use private activity bonds (PABs) issued by local or state governments to finance a carbon capture project. These bonds are beneficial to consumers and businesses because they are tax-exempt and can be paid back over a longer period of time. If more than 65 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from a given facility are captured and injected underground, then 100 percent of the eligible equipment can be financed with PABs. If less than 65 percent is captured and sequestered, then tax-exempt financing is permitted on a pro-rated basis.

More specifically, the bill would:

  • Make CCS projects more economically feasible: The ability to use tax-exempt PABs to retrofit power plants and industrial facilities will help decrease the costs for these types of projects.
  • Boost oil production, while conserving land and reducing emissions: By conducting EOR with recycled carbon dioxide from power plants, we can increase oil production from already-drilled wells, using less new land. Additionally, carbon dioxide that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere is instead captured and stored.
  • Provide greater energy security in the 21st century: In 2014, Enhanced Oil Recovery already accounted for 350,000 barrels a day of domestic oil production, according to the 21st Century Energy Institute at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.