The New Apollo Legislation...(or, they're paying attention, so let's tell them what's good and what's bad about this...)

Well, the constituent authors of TOD received an email with this press release yesterday. I'm still looking for the legislation itself on Thomas, but it doesn't seem to be filed with the committee yet (look here for legislation, etc.).

Also, this is the Democratic alternative to the Republicans' energy bill, so don't get too excited...but pieces of this legislation could end up in the final product, especially with political support from the American Grass Roots.

This isn't the first we've heard of this. It was first profiled in Grist a couple of months ago. Here's the Op-ed link at Inslee's site.

The first thing that is striking is that the staffers or the representatives themselves are reading peak oil blogs (Grist, us, probably many others). That's a good thing.

This proposal by the House Dems doesn't sound like a bad first step. I am particularly heartened by the breadth of the proposed legislation and its acknowledging that this is a complex problem that has many parts to its solution.

Of course, let's remember: this is just a press release by the party out of power. But it is nice to see that they acknowledge that there is a real problem.

The actual text of the bill after it emerges from the sausage-making process (one of my favorite quotes from a professor in grad school: "watching legislation be made is much like watching sausage get made: lots of pieces parts of things you don't want to see in your sausage, not to mention a really ugly process"), will tell us a lot more about legislative priorities of the party in power.

Here's the entirety of the press release for your perusal. They're paying attention, let's rip it apart for them, and praise them where it deserves it.

Thursday, 9 June 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Baker, (202) 226-7040; (Cell), (202) 225-0434

Inslee Introduces New Apollo Energy Act:

A comprehensive Clean Energy Plan to address National Security, Jobs and Climate Change

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee and fourteen other Members of Congress today introduced the New Apollo Energy Act as a comprehensive clean energy policy for the 21st century. Inslee's legislation will use new and innovative tax incentives and market-based assistance, along with energy performance standards to address three challenges to America: creating clean energy manufacturing jobs, decreasing dependence on foreign oil, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As the most comprehensive and technologically visionary energy program proposed in Congress, New Apollo seeks to solve America's energy problems and high energy costs through technological innovation much in the same way that President Kennedy channeled the resources of the American people to meet the challenges of the race to the Moon. The bill introduction is the culmination of several years of meetings and town hall forums that Inslee conducted on developing a clean energy policy.

Said Inslee, "One of the biggest problems America faces today is our dependence on foreign petroleum. America can no longer rely on an energy source that threatens our national security, melts our glaciers and mires our hi-tech economy in an oily morass. Today we give Americans a clear choice between the oil-soaked energy policy of the Republicans and a New Apollo Energy Act for clean energy. New Apollo advances a vision for this country's energy future that relies on America's technological prowess and can-do spirit. An investment in clean energy will create millions of domestic jobs - jobs that we are now losing to Japan, Germany and Denmark because this President has stuck his head in the sand on renewable energy policy. Washington State, with its hi-tech infrastructure and historic creativity, is poised to benefit from a clean energy investment."

Inslee continued, "New Apollo relies on American optimism to overcome twenty-first century energy challenges. Just as Kennedy challenged America during the space race, New Apollo asks Americans to harness their legendary creativity to create a clean energy system for the planet Earth. This policy will reduce the harmful greenhouse-gas emissions that have resulted in global warming, disintegrated the arctic and Antarctic ice shelves and threaten to make our planet an inhospitable place. New Apollo envisions an energy policy where America leads the world in clean energy jobs and where an American President will not have to walk hand in hand with the Saudi royal family to lower our energy prices. Now is the time for Americans to decide in favor of a hi-tech, clean energy future - a New Apollo Energy Act."

Said original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), "As rising gas prices have made so clear, our dependence on petroleum puts our nation at risk. The New Apollo Energy Bill is a comprehensive and workable approach to begin to free our country of reliance of petroleum, and to begin to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. It will promote the production of alternative fuels and the purchase of energy efficient vehicles. It will increase the use of renewable energy. It will save energy and money by ensuring that new homes and buildings are built with high standards of energy efficiency. It will promote new technologies to use coal without emitting greenhouse gases. By passing the New Apollo Energy Bill, the United States can take measured steps now toward the future we want: a healthy economy, healthy people, a healthy environment, and freedom from the politics of oil. I applaud my friend Rep. Jay Inslee for his leadership on this issue."

Said original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) "This legislation offers our nation an energy policy that addresses the challenges and the opportunities of the 21st century. Americans are looking for an energy bill that provides price relief at the pump while creating jobs and enhancing our national security. Instead, Republicans have passed an energy bill that strains the pocket books of American families while providing huge taxpayer-funded subsidies for oil companies. The New Apollo Energy Act harnesses America's innovative genius to chart a course of economic growth, environmental responsibility and energy independence."

Key features of the New Apollo Energy Act:

*Clean Energy: New Apollo provides $49 billion in government loan guarantees for the construction of clean-energy generation facilities that will produce power from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, oceans, coal with carbon-sequestration technology, and other sources. The legislation also commits $10.5 billion to research-and-development and investment tax credits for clean energy-producing operations. In addition, it includes a 10-year extension of the current tax credit for electricity generated from clean sources.

* Oil Savings: The boosts for clean energy and efficiency will make it possible to meet New Apollo's call for notable reductions in daily domestic oil consumption -- cuts of 600,000 barrels a day by 2010, 1,700,000 barrels by 2015, and 3,000,000 barrels by 2020. These numbers are estimates of the amount of oil the United States would soon be importing daily from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the entire Middle East, respectively, without a change in current policy.

* Fuel Efficiency: The best way to generate energy is to not waste it, so New Apollo includes incentives for American consumers to drive fuel-efficient vehicles, including tax credits for the purchase of hybrid, alternative-fuel, low-emission advanced diesel, and fuel-cell vehicles. It also provides $11.5 billion in tax credits for the automotive and aerospace industries to develop new fuel efficient automobiles and planes, retool existing plants, and construct new plants to manufacture energy efficient vehicles.

* Global Warming and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: New Apollo enacts a proposal similar to the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act by capping our emissions of greenhouse gases while allowing companies to purchase and trade credits among themselves to ensure the most cost-effective reductions, and funding research to help industries make the shift to cleaner operations. The bill targets one of the biggest greenhouse-gas offenders -- coal -- by providing $7 billion in loan guarantees for the development of clean coal power plants.

* Clean Energy Jobs: New Apollo will close the existing technology gap with foreign competitors by investing billions of dollars in new federal research into advanced clean technologies, and creating a government-funded risk pool to help struggling start-up clean-energy companies commercialize their products. One study by the Apollo Alliance has found that a substantial federal commitment to clean energy could yield up to 3.3 million jobs nationally.

* Renewable Portfolio: New Apollo contains a Renewable Portfolio Standard requiring all utilities, by 2021, to produce 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources.

* Energy Transmission: New Apollo creates national net-metering and interconnection standards that allow homeowners who generate clean energy to reduce their energy bills by feeding surplus electricity back into the grid. New Apollo additionally increases regulatory oversight of energy trading markets, which was a problem during Enron's manipulation of the West Coast energy crisis.

* Does not increase the deficit: New Apollo is revenue neutral, and pays for its provisions by closing abusive corporate tax shelters and loopholes, and through auctioning off some of the allowances under the carbon dioxide trading program.

Other significant features in New Apollo:

Reducing Petroleum Dependence:

* An alternative fuel vehicle purchase requirement for government agencies.
* Tax credits for the installation of alternative refueling properties.
* Tax credits for the retail sale of alternative fuels.
* A renewable fuels standard set at 8 billion gallons by 2013.
* Modification of the tax credit for qualified electric vehicles.
* Loans for schools to buy high-efficiency vehicles.
* Ethanol-blended gasoline and bio-diesel government agency purchase requirements.

Clean Energy Economy:

* Federal support for the commercialization of carbon sequestration, coal gasification, and low emission coal technologies.
* Requires new federal buildings to be constructed using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design's (LEED) silver standard for energy efficiency.
* Tax credits for the installation of minimum emission coal technologies.
* An order for the Secretary of Energy to create a credit for the creation of new electricity transmission lines to receive power from remote clean resources.
* Tax credits for energy efficient recycling and remanufacturing units.
* Requirement that the Secretary of Interior standardize right-of-way requirements for wind projects.
* Requirement that government agencies reduce energy consumption and use clean energy.
* Permanent extension of the Energy Savings Performance Contracts.
* Tradable renewable resource credits for public utilities.
* Establishment of a new energy commission to certify new technologies that qualify for credits under New Apollo.
* Tax credits for distributed energy generation and demand management property in residences and businesses.
* Tax credits for fly-wheel properties.


* $36 billion in new federal research authorizations for advanced clean technologies, fusion power, and technologies focusing on existing energy sources.
* Federal support for the commercialization of clean technologies.
* Improved coordination of technology transfer activities.
* Establishment of a clean energy technology export program.
* Renewable energy lending requirements for the Export-Import Bank.
* Grants to improve mass transit programs.
* Grants for sewer and water energy improvements.
* Tax credits for the construction of energy efficient homes and commercial properties.

Consumer Protections:

* Funding for LIHEAP and weatherization projects.
* Implementing energy efficiency standards for certain appliances, and provides tax credits for the production of energy efficient appliances.
* Establishing a national energy efficient home mortgage association.
* Requiring the President to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
* Requiring the Secretary of Energy to issue Energy Star regulations for solar water heating devices.

New Apollo Energy Act Original Cosponsors in Congress:

Jay Inslee (WA)
Rush Holt (NJ)
Chris Van Hollen (MD)
Steve Israel (NY)
Mike Honda (CA)
Jim McDermott (WA)
Rick Larsen (WA)
Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL)
Jan Schakowsky (IL)
James Langevin (RI)
Raul Grijalva (AZ)
Rahm Emanuel (IL)
Tammy Baldwin (WI)
George Miller (CA)
Adam Smith (WA)

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If there are Democrats associated with this bill it will be killed by the Congressional leadership before it even gets to a committee. It's a good idea for a PR stunt, and as such they should make it as grandiose as possible, since it has absolutely zero chance of even being considered.

I haven't gotten through it all, but so far it looks pretty good to me. However, this is what's going to kill it:

* Does not increase the deficit: New Apollo is revenue neutral, and pays for its provisions by closing abusive corporate tax shelters and loopholes, and through auctioning off some of the allowances under the carbon dioxide trading program.

Having said that though, I think that the readership of TOD should really take this bill seriously and try to figure out what it's strengths and shortcomings are, and let Inslee know.

truthfully?? I see 3 1/2 years before anything starts to get done.

Never forget -

just because they pass it doesn't mean that they fund it. That is the usual method of dealing with things the public wants and business doesn't.