MURKOWSKI INTRODUCES LEGISLATION AIMED AT REDUCING MANMADE IMPACTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
REFRESH ACT OF 2007 IMPROVES ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND INVESTS IN ALTERNATIVE AND RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an effort to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Senator Lisa Murkowski today introduced energy efficiency legislation to promote the development of additional forms of renewable energy and to pave the way for improved fuel consumption by vehicles. The bill, the Renewable Energy, Fuel Reduction, and Economic Stabilization and enHancement Act of 2007 – the REFRESH Act – will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel usage by approximately 530 million metric tons in the United States by 2025 – a 7 percent cut over what emissions otherwise may be that year.
“In Alaska, we have certainly seen firsthand the effects of a warming climate in recent years,” said Senator Murkowski. “It only makes sense that we take common sense steps now to improve fuel efficiency, to promote the development of a wider range of alternative energy technologies and to encourage Americans to buy more fuel efficient vehicles. This bill includes vital measures we must take to reduce fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions.”
The legislation, a companion to a bill by Senator Ted Stevens (S. 183) to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) of automobiles to 40 miles per gallon within a decade, invests in alternative and renewable energy and promotes greater efficiency of energy use in the transportation sector. Combined, the two measures seek to reduce American fossil fuel consumption by nearly 5 million barrels of oil a day by 2025.
To promote renewable and alternative energy development the legislation provides grants and tax credits for the development of geothermal power, all forms of ocean energy and small hydro-electric plant development. The Electric Power Research Institute has estimated that wave energy off U.S. coasts alone could conservatively generate 252 million megawatt hours of electricity -- 6.5 percent of all energy now produced in America. Alaska has nearly 80 coastal and river communities that could benefit greatly by development of ocean energy systems.
To help increase the efficiency in the transportation sector, the bill requires a study of whether to impose a CAFE standard for commercial trucks and improves the efficiency of replacement tires for all passenger cars. Additionally, the legislation provides grants to states and local communities to encourage a reduction in traffic congestion by helping states to set up telecommuting and flexible-work programs to keep motorists off roadways during rush hours. It will also extend a tax credit and removes a cap on tax credits available to encourage the purchase of “hybrid” and advanced fuel efficient vehicles.
The bill includes a “truth in advertising” provision requiring that CAFE standards for vehicles be based on the actual fuel economy that the vehicles will achieve under real-world driving conditions. By law, CAFE is currently based on the fuel economy tests that were used for model year 1975 that do not take into account increased congestion, higher speed limits, the use of air conditioning and more powerful vehicles.