In order to remain competitive and economically viable, the United States must have a comprehensive energy strategy that incorporates energy efficiency and alternative energy sources.  Last night, the Energy and Commerce Committee adopted an amendment to a comprehensive, energy efficiency package that I offered as Chairman of the Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee.  The amendment creates a $10 billion energy efficiency block grant (EEBG) program, modeled after the hugely successful HUD Community Development Block Grant Program.

The EEBG program would provide formula-based grants to cities, counties, and States to help address the problem of global warming at the local and neighborhood level.  I originally introduced the EEBG measure as stand-alone legislation (H.R. 2447), but it will now be included as part of the energy efficiency package reported out of the full Energy and Commerce Committee for later consideration by the House.

I am proud to spearhead an effort that tackles a national problem on a local level.  Local governments are particularly well-positioned to develop, implement, and promote an energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction strategy at the community level.  I am committed to working alongside Mayors, county leaders and Governors nationwide to combat global climate change challenges that we face today.  Local leaders know that these block grants will benefit our nation and will help ensure progress on our energy and climate protection objectives.

The underlying energy legislation, once passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President, will improve the nation's energy efficiency; increase reliability and economy in electricity supply, transmission, and distribution; provide loan guarantees for projects that avoid, reduce or sequester air pollutants or greenhouse gases, and that employ new or significantly improved technologies; increase the availability of renewable fuels through promotion of renewable fuels infrastructure; and encourage the domestic development and production of plug-in hybrids.

We must rededicate ourselves to addressing global warming and making America more energy independent.  We owe it to future generations to act now.  Investing in alternative energy sources and ending our addiction on foreign oil will be good for our environment, our health, our economy, and our national security.