Beltway politics derailed an eminently sensible bill yesterday. The Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency legislation has been more than three years in the making, and exists in that rare nexus of the environmentally friendly and the economically sensible. The NYT has more:
It was a bundle of small-bore provisions aimed at cutting homeowners’ energy use, utility bills and carbon footprints by, among other measures, making it easier for consumers to buy “smart metered” water heaters and making it cheaper for manufacturers to build energy-efficient cooling and heating systems.
The core of the bill enjoys bipartisan support, but typical of the 113th Congress, debate over unrelated amendments bogged down what should have been a no-brainer. Energy efficiency is one of the few low-hanging fruits remaining on the energy policy tree. Being more judicious with how we use energy saves money and cuts emissions. But both parties seized on the Shaheen-Portman bill as a chance to push through much more contentious issues. Two amendments in particular managed to derail the bill’s momentum: one that would approve the divisive (but ultimately sensible) Keystone XL pipeline, and another that would preempt climate regulations the Obama administration is expected to roll out soon.Petty politics sank smart policy on Monday. We can do better.