With Little Time Remaining in Current Session, Bennet Leads Bipartisan Letter Calling on Senate Leadership to Act
Washington, DC – With little legislative time left in the current Senate session, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, is calling on the Senate to take up and pass a bipartisan bill that promotes energy efficiency and will creates jobs in Colorado’s rural communities.
The Rural Energy Savings Program Act will spur new investments in energy efficiency by providing rural electric cooperative customers access to low-interest loans through the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. The House passed the bill 240-172 earlier this month. In a letter to Senate Leadership, Bennet and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) have led a bipartisan group of Senators to urge the Senate to take up and pass this important, common sense legislation.
“The Rural Energy Savings Program Act would lower electric costs for rural families and small businesses, create domestic jobs and help the environment,” the Senators wrote in the letter. “The upfront costs of energy efficiency improvements are often prohibitively expensive for many families. By offering low-interest loans that can be repaid on the utility bill, this bill provides a common-sense solution so that rural Americans can benefit from reduced energy bills.”
In June, Bennet used his first hearing as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Science and Technology to hear testimony on this bill. Kent Singer, executive director of the Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA), testified in support of the bill, which Bennet insists should be paid for fully.
For more information on the Rural Energy Savings Program Act, please click here.
The text of the letter is included below.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell,
We write to encourage your support for S. 3102, the Rural Energy Savings Program Act, and to ask that the bill be considered by the Senate as soon as practicable. Last week the House passed this popular legislation with bipartisan support and we would urge the Senate to follow suit.
The bill would provide low interest loans for energy efficiency improvements in rural communities across the country, helping Americans save money on their electricity bills. The measure, which has drawn support from both sides of the aisle in our chamber, establishes a fiscally-responsible loan program and has received wide support from businesses, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and environmental organizations.
More than 42 million Americans are living in rural communities, and on average these rural households spend $200 to $400 more per year on their utility bills than urban households. Even as these Americans spend more on electricity, they earn significantly less than the national average. In other words, even energy-saving renovations that will pay for themselves over just a few years are too often unattainable.
The Rural Energy Savings Program Act would lower electric costs for rural families and small businesses, create domestic jobs and help the environment. The upfront costs of energy efficiency improvements are often prohibitively expensive for many families. By offering low-interest loans that can be repaid on the utility bill, this bill provides a common-sense solution so that rural Americans can benefit from reduced energy bills. Savings in the budgets of families and businesses during these tough economic times also free up money that can be spent in the local economy.
The bill has received a hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture. We strongly encourage your support for this bipartisan, fiscally-responsible legislation.