Congress hasn’t been agreeing on much lately. This is especially true in the House, even more so when it comes to the ever-polarizing subject of green policymaking. That’s why the House’s recent passage of an energy efficiency and conservation bill 375-36 is so striking. As The Hill reports, lawmakers were able to find a common ground on the environment, and reached to pick one of the lowest-hanging fruits around:
The legislation, authored by Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.), aims to boost energy conservation with a program called Tenant Star, which provides incentives to landlords and tenants who up their energy savings…The package, which passed 375-36, also promotes energy efficiency in federal agencies under a provision added by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)“I have long believed that energy efficiency is an area of common ground in this divided Congress,” Welch said during floor debate Tuesday on the bill. “Saving energy creates jobs, saves money and improves the environment. We have disagreements on the causes of climate change and the best fuel mix to meet America’s energy demands, but we can all agree that using less is more,” he said.
The bill will now need to be reconciled with the Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act currently stalled in the Senate. That bill’s sponsors hope that the House’s example will spur the Senate to move on its own version, which was stymied by ACA and Keystone XL debates late last year.This is one of the few areas of common green ground in American politics because it makes sense from just about every angle. Consuming less energy saves money and reduces environmental impacts. Our economy has become more energy efficient over the years, producing more GDP per amount of energy input, but there’s still room for improvement. Growth and green goals aren’t mutually exclusive, though the modern environmental movement believes them to be. That’s a failing greens will have to come to terms with if they want to be taken seriously by politicians elected on campaigns that cover more than just being kind to Gaia, and bills like the one the House just passed are a step in that direction.