For the sake of America's families, pass the energy efficiency bill

By spurring the use of energy-efficiency technologies, the Shaheen-Portman bill will save families money on their home energy bills. It will also help household budgets indirectly, as businesses and industries that save on energy costs can be expected to pass some of those savings on to their customers. Especially in tough times like these, that can make a real difference.

The bill will also create jobs—35,000 of them, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with some groups estimating even higher job numbers.

Perhaps, most importantly, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act will cut government waste. The Federal Government is America’s largest consumer of energy. It spends more than $7 billion on building-energy costs alone, every single year.  Much of that taxpayer money is wasted because of inefficient and outdated equipment.

One analysis of the bill found that it could save at least 15 percent of the government’s (taxpayer-supported) building related-energy tab—more than a billion dollars every year—by making government buildings more energy efficient.

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The Christian Coalition’s interest in energy goes beyond just financial concerns. Through an initiative we call America’s Path to Progress, the Christian Coalition is calling for greater energy independence, and energy efficiency is part of that equation. We know that America’s economic strength, national security, and clean air all depend on our energy policies. For the sake of American families, we need to power our nation more efficiently. 

We are conservatives, so we are interested in building up our country’s national security and the health of its economy. We as Christians recognize the Bible’s mandate to care for God’s creation and protect our children’s future.

We applaud elected officials who take the lead on these issues, like Portman and Shaheen.  We join our voices with those of the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and more than 200 other groups-- ranging from businesses and trade associations to environmental groups and labor unions—in support of the Shaheen-Portman bill.  

Politics has slowed this bill’s progress. That’s just how it goes in a democracy, especially in today’s Washington. There are competing interests, opinions, and priorities trying to influence legislation. 

At the end of the day, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act and other common-sense energy policies are good for America. Saving energy and money, embracing responsible stewardship of our resources, and supporting families by building a stronger, cleaner, more efficient, and more secure nation is not a matter of conservative or liberal. It is a good idea for all Americans, and it deserves support from all of us.

Combs is president and CEO of the Christian Coalition of America.