Back in July 2011, as the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee marked up and approved S. 1000, the Shaheen/Portman bill on energy efficiency, I couldn't get excited. Why? It was abundantly clear that the bill had no chance of enactment. With the 2012 election already looming, there was no momentum behind bipartisan energy legislation, even in the noncontroversial, low-hanging fruit area of energy efficiency. The bill, in reality, was already doomed.
I feel very differently today. As the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee successfully finished its quick mark up of four hydroelectric bills, and S. 761, the new Shaheen/Portman bill, I am a caldron of cautious optimism. This bill, "The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act," has energy. Senators Jean Shaheen and Rob Portman, their key staff members (Robert Diznoff and Steve Kittredge, respectively), as well as Chairman Ron Wyden and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski and their staffs, are all to be congratulated. They have written a good bill and they have given it momentum. This includes work with the other side of the Capitol, where a bipartisan House counterpart (H.R. 1616) has been introduced by Reps. David McKinley and Peter Welch.
The bill is still a long way from the president's desk, but I have this strong sense that it could make it there. I feel the same way, too, about another energy efficiency bill that ITI is championing -- H.R. 540, the "Energy Efficient Government Technology Act." Introduced earlier this year by Reps. Anna Eshoo, Mike Rogers, David McKinley, Peter Welch, Cory Gardner, and Paul Tonko, the bill promotes federal government leadership in leveraging ICT to enable more sustainable, less costly government. The two bills complement each other well, and both deserve enactment. Let there be energy in energy efficiency legislation in 2013!