The global economy relies on abundant energy resources, and the Age of Oil is coming to a close. Today, we are looking aggressively for clean and affordable sources of energy to meet the demands of developing countries and changing technology. For the past century, Americans have enjoyed some of the cheapest energy produced in the world – with Pacific Northwest leading the way with hydropower. As this country moves forward, Jim is committed to ensuring that the energy we produce is clean and sustainable; we no longer can accept expensive fossil fuels and the pollutants they generate. America has always been a leader in innovation – the first solar panels were developed in the U.S. Jim is determined that we not only remain able to innovate, but that we use our innovation to produce clean, affordable energy for generations to come.
In 2006, the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change stated in clear terms that “climate change is the biggest market failure of our time.” If the United States is to continue to lead and innovate, we must move away from fossil fuels and focus on developing clean, inexpensive, renewable energy sources. To do this, Jim has introduced carbon tax legislation that creates specific greenhouse gas emission reduction targets over the next 40 years by slowly applying a tax on carbon emitting substances. As the tax increases over time, industry can slowly transition to clean sources of energy. Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of Exxon Oil Company, has supported the idea of a carbon tax, as have other major companies involved in the energy industry. To ensure the cost of energy does not increase with the tax, its proceeds are distributed directly back to the American people, with an estimated return of $3,000 per person to cover any increased energy costs.
As a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Jim has extensively studied provisions in the tax code that impact American energy production and consumption. Jim authored successful legislation that curtails many of the tax breaks enjoyed by oil and gas companies for decades. Currently, Jim is an original co-sponsor of the “End Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act,” which eliminates the remaining tax subsidies that provide hundreds of billions of dollars in tax benefits to the oil and gas industry – an industry that has shown little need for such subsidies as it continues to post record profits. These tax breaks can be put to much better use by supporting new clean and renewable energy industries, and Jim is working to redirect them to that outcome.
Jim has also introduced legislation to continue issuance of tax exempt bonds to help public power entities finance clean, renewable energy sources. These Clean, Renewable Energy Bonds (“CREBs”) have existed since 2005 and have had bipartisan support in the past. In June of last year, Jim led a bipartisan letter, signed by 65 other members of Congress, urging passage of this legislation.
We can all practice valuable energy conservation in our homes. From turning off unnecessary lights to retrofitting our homes with better insulation and newer, energy efficient materials, our energy consumption can be significantly reduced at home. Studies have shown that by retrofitting homes for energy efficiency, U.S. homeowners have the potential to reduce home energy use by more than $400 per home, per year. Unfortunately, retrofitting your home can be an expensive and daunting task. This is why Jim has introduced legislation to provide assistance to individuals who wish to update their homes for energy efficiency. The “Home Energy Conservation Act” provides tax free bonding authority to offer much needed support to homeowners who wish to make their homes more energy efficient.