From: Jennifer Kefer, COEJL Climate and Energy Program Coordinator
Re: Energy Independence and Security Act
Action: Urge Your Senators to vote for renewable electricity.
On December 19, President Bush signed the long-awaited Energy Bill (HR 6) into law. This is an historic achievement. The bill provides for the first increase in fuel efficiency for new cars and light trucks in more than 30 years, mandating a fleet-wide average of 35 miles-per-gallon. It requires a a five-fold increase – to 36 billion gallons – in the amount of alternative home-grown fuels, such as ethanol, that must be added to the nation’s gasoline supply by 2022. It also provides support for research and cooperation between Israel and the United States on alternative energy. There are less visible achievements as well. The new law will improve the energy efficiency of almost every significant product and tool and appliance that we use, from light bulbs to light trucks.” The Jewish community has been very vocal about its support for these provisions and we should celebrate this success. But our work is not complete. Indeed, the final bill is missing a critical element. In order to secure passage in the Senate and approval by the President, Congress removed a key renewable energy provision.
The Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) would have reduced U.S. dependence on foreign oil and lowered greenhouse gas emissions. The House bill included a 15% renewable electricity mandate. This provision would have prevented an average of 100 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses from entering the atmosphere annually by 2020 in addition to saving American families roughly $15 billion in cumulative consumer savings by 2020. Although increasing fuel economy and the renewable fuels standard are important first steps, we have the technology to generate 15% of our electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar.
The Jewish community has long advocated for energy policies that reduce our dependence on foreign oil, sustain our fragile environment and build a robust national economy. These are not new commitments. To the contrary, the Torah teaches “Bal Tashchit” – do not destroy. The Talmud clarifies that this tradition of conservation extends to energy consumption (Talmud Bavli, Shabbat 67b). Help realize this ancient mandate by urging your Senators to support a Renewable Electricity Standard in 2008.
Tell your members of Congress that you are disappointed that the Energy Bill did not include a renewable energy standard and ask them to SUPPORT a renewable electricity mandate in 2008.
The Capitol Switchboard can be reached at 202.224.3121. Click here for contact information for your Senators. Click here for contact information for your Representatives.