Congress Passes Clean Energy Bill with Lantos Provisions on U.S. Leadership in Global Warming Fight

Washington, DC – The House today passed the final version of a groundbreaking renewable energy package, which included provisions authored by Congressman Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo/San Francisco), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“This is a major leap forward in using local innovation to help solve the global warming crisis,” Lantos said. “The issue of climate change affects every single person on the planet, and every generation that will follow us. Republican or Democrat, young or old, we have a fundamental responsibility to stave off the catastrophic consequences of global warming.”

The legislation contains domestic provisions that will increase the fuel efficiency of American vehicles to 35 miles per gallon in 2020, among other mandates. The international portion, which Lantos wrote, focuses on major emitters such as China and India and supports energy export policy and assistance programs to promote clean-energy production in even the poorest countries.

“The Administration has obstructed meaningful steps toward more responsible environmental stewardship,” Lantos noted. “In spite of that, the Democratic-led Congress has delivered on one of its key promises to the American people. We have addressed one of the most pressing challenges of our time with a progressive, innovative bill that will make a real impact on reducing our global carbon footprint.”

Lantos pointed to the San Francisco Bay Area’s booming “green tech” industry as a model for how a holistic approach can make renewable energy work.

“The Bay Area is a world leader in cutting-edge renewable energy technology,” he noted, “and I am thrilled that this bill invests money where it belongs - in research and development for clean, renewable energy.”

“The earth is our most precious resource,” Lantos said. “And for too long, we have been treating it like our personal waste dump. From now on, the United States will be a leader in clean, renewable energy production, and we will fulfill our responsibility to help other nations do their part as well.”

The Lantos provisions in the Energy Independence and Security Act create opportunities for U.S. companies involved in clean and efficient energy technologies, including many in the Bay Area, to export their products and services to countries around the world. Whether through participation in Department of Commerce trade missions or by working with an International Clean Energy Foundation that acts as a clearinghouse for ideas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the legislation will provide additional opportunities to explore international markets for innovative ideas.

The Senate passed the bill on December 13 by a vote of 86 to 8; final House passage of this legislation, the Energy Independence and Security Act (H.R. 6) sends it to the White House. The President is expected to sign the bill into law tomorrow.