U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, announced in a speech yesterday on the Senate floor that he will push for three measures designed to save energy and water and boost the market for clean energy production.
The common-sense measures will be introduced as amendments to a major energy efficiency bill being debated now in the Senate. All build on work he has done to promote water and energy efficiency as a way to save money, help create jobs and ensure a diverse energy portfolio. The Senate is expected to continue debating the bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act through next week.
“In New Mexico, we know the value of conserving water and making smart use of our resources – and we know all too well that we don’t have water to waste. These amendments reflect those values,” Udall said.
“For example, taxpayers spend billions of dollars a year and waste as much as 6 billion gallons of water because of inefficient water systems. To continue this practice while the Southwest and other regions are facing extreme drought is ridiculous, and in some of our communities it’s downright dangerous,” Udall continued. “We can do better. My amendments would make investments to help communities conserve energy, use less water – and save taxpayers’ money.”
Udall’s amendments would:
- Create three to five smart water system pilot projects around the country jointly supported by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency and designed to support innovative energy-efficient water systems. The project would help water utilities, which devote as much as 60 percent of their operating costs to energy, and save customers money.
- Promote water conservation to help communities and families reduce costs. The amendment would authorize an expansion of the federal government’s WaterSense program, the water conservation answer to EnergyStar. It also would support local and state rebate and incentive programs that encourage customers to buy water-efficient products and landscaping. And it would establish a “Blue Bank” to provide grants to help water and sewer utilities invest in water supply management, planning and water-efficiency and reuse.
- Create a nationwide Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requiring that 25 percent of our nation’s energy come from renewable sources – such as wind and solar – by 2025. Over half the states in the nation have an RES already. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Udall introduced and passed an RES. It was the first legislation he introduced in the U.S. Senate.
“A national RES will guarantee a market for solar, wind and other clean energy sources. And it would spur the creation of thousands of high-tech jobs that can’t be outsourced,” Udall said. “An RES is a key part of the kind of ‘Do It All, Do It Right’ energy policy that we need in New Mexico and nationwide. An RES goes hand-in-hand with energy efficiency to encourage smart energy use. I’ve long fought for a national RES, and the time is right to put this idea back on the table.”