House Ag Committee Passes Legislation to Encourage Energy Efficiency Projects

15 07 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House Agriculture Committee passed the Rural Energy Savings Program Act (H.R. 4785) to encourage energy efficiency projects in rural communities.

The bipartisan bill, introduced by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., passed the Committee by a voice vote. The committee approved four amendments to the original text, including a manager’s amendment from Chairman Peterson and amendments from Reps. Holden, Dahlkemper, Lummis and Luetkemeyer.

“We have an opportunity to enact policy that will improve the quality of life in our rural communities as well as significantly reduce their energy bills,” said Chairman Peterson. “Rural Americans have always been committed to implementing energy conservation
measures, and this program will help them continue to make important contributions to the nation’s energy efficiency efforts.”

The bill authorizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service to make interest-free loans to eligible entities, including rural electric cooperatives, that will then make loans to qualified consumers to implement energy efficiency measures. The program will provide funds to retrofit residences and small businesses with structural improvements and investments in cost-effective, commercial off-the-shelf technologies to reduce energy costs and consumption. Consumers will repay the loans through their electricity bills at an interest rate below 3 percent.

The Committee held a hearing to review H.R. 4785 on May 12.

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