The United States has reached a point in history in which we must seek out energy independence.  Although the President claims that he is committed to reducing our dependence on foreign oil, his budget greatly underfunded energy efficiency programs and stood in the way of progressive energy legislation.  It is the duty and responsibility of this Congress, on behalf of the American people, to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. That is why I support H.R. 2641, the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.

As the Representative of the Seventh Congressional District of Colorado, I am proud to have the preeminent alternative energy laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in my district.  NREL was the first lab in the world to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, and it is labs like these that need both the support of Congress and funding by the national government to continue to work towards energy independence.  Giving facilities like NREL the tools and funding they need to develop and grow is good for America.  It is good for national security, good for the climate and good for jobs.

Additionally, I am proud to announce my Green Office Initiative.  The Initiative is a collaboration between public policy, research and local business communities to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.  Our offices, both in Colorado and Washington DC, have gone carbon neutral.  After calculating our annual energy consumption, I personally purchased $830 of Colorado based wind renewable energy credits to offset the unavoidable carbon produced by my offices.  In order to help promote carbon neutral congressional offices, I am co-sponsoring the Carbon Neutrality Act of 2007, H.R. 823, by Representative Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDemocrats to determine leaders after disappointing election Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Vermont Rep. Peter Welch easily wins primary MORE (D-Vt.), which allows legislative offices and executive agencies to account for their global warming impact through the purchase of green house gas offsets or renewable energy credits.  It is my hope that other congressional offices will join us in the active pursuit of responsible energy practices.  This shows the American people that this Congress is doing more than paying lip service in changing our country’s direction on energy.

Altogether, I ask for the wholehearted support of this Congress in passing the energy and water appropriations legislation.  It will increase funding for the Department of Energy which will in turn boost the Office of Science and the Office of Energy Efficiency.  We must help the Department of Energy help facilities such as NREL to work with the private sector to power America and help the globe.