Statements and Speeches
Hearing Statement: "Oversight on EPA's Work with Other Federal Entities to Reduce the Pollution and Improve Environmental Performance"
Mar 27 2012
WASHINGTON - Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, released the following statement on the Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy and the Subcommittee on Oversight joint hearing, "Oversight on EPA's work with Other Federal Entities to Reduce the Pollution and Improve Environmental Performance:"
"One of my top priorities this year – which I share with President Obama – is to continue to support initiatives that spur job growth. Initiatives that help create a nurturing environment where communities in Delaware and beyond can generate jobs and prosperity. One of the best examples of this is through the federal government's actions to help advance the development of clean, sustainable, and domestic energy.
"As many of you know, our country's dependence on fossil fuels exacts a huge cost on our economy. Our country sends over $250 billion a year overseas to pay for our oil imports. Often this money goes to countries that don't like us very much.
"This dependence also has an enormous public health cost. We spend billions of dollars annually to treat health problems triggered by pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels. This pollution also costs the lives of tens of thousands Americans every year.
"The federal government can help level the playing field between fossil fuels and clean energy. The federal government can be a catalyst for the creation and use of clean energy technologies including wind, solar, nuclear, and advanced vehicles. This can be done through investments in research to find the most advanced clean energy technologies. This can also be done through tax credits to incentivize the production of clean, domestic energy. However, simple, commonsense solutions should not be overlooked.
"As I have learned through my Subcommittee in the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, among other things, the federal government is the single largest energy user in the nation. In fiscal year 2008, the total energy consumption of federal government buildings and operations was roughly 1.5 percent of all energy consumption in the United States. The energy bill for the federal government that year was $24.5 billion!
"The federal government can lead by example by embracing new, clean energy technologies. Just by changing our federal government's energy consumption, the government can send a strong signal to the marketplace to encourage private investments in these new energy sources. Encouraging investments in new technologies, like the development of offshore wind off the coasts of states like Delaware, will nurture further economic development and job creation.
"Changing our federal government's energy consumption can also save money in the long run – money that can be put toward job creation and debt reduction instead. The federal government simply can't afford not to take advantage of the savings and job creation promised by making itself more energy efficient and sustainable.
"In order to help agencies meet the fiscal and environmental challenges ahead, last year, I introduced the Reducing Federal Energy Dollars Act of 2011. This bill is affectionately known as The R-FED Act. The R-FED Act is a comprehensive set of proposals to – among other things – make it easier for federal agencies to use private financing to pay for energy efficient retrofits, at little or no cost to taxpayers. Agencies face tight budget conditions today and will likely face them for years to come. Given this reality, these private financing tools – known as 'Energy Savings Performance Contracts' – will be critical to improving our federal buildings and reaching the energy reduction goals of the federal government.
"In addition to Energy Savings Performance Contracts, the R-FED Act also includes proposals to: increase transparency and accountability for how much energy federal agencies are using, update outdated and inefficient building designs and better manage the energy use of personal computers used at federal agencies. I believe this legislation will help the federal government lead by example, and demonstrate to the American people that energy efficiency efforts are a gateway to job growth and can pay real dividends in saving both money and the environment."