Sunday, August 05, 2007

House Passes Energy Efficiency Package; Small Business Committee Bill Included to Support Innovations in the Energy Sector

Yesterday, the U.S. House passed H.R. 3221, the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security and Consumer Protection Act, legislation that provides incentives for the production of clean energy, aids our nation’s farmers in producing the next generation of America’s fuel, and supports energy efficient technology. It also creates an environment for creating jobs, stimulating the economy and helping small businesses.

The historic legislation includes a number of measures that had passed through the House Small Business Committee in May to help entrepreneurs cope with rising energy costs, become more resourceful in their usage, and continue developing new technologies.

“This is a major step forward for improving our environment and helping this nation’s small businesses to lead the way in that charge,” said Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez [D-N.Y.]. “This legislation includes critical provisions that will empower entrepreneurs to create a more eco-friendly environment, and help achieve the overall goals of H.R. 3221 to spur investment in biofuels, new energy technologies, innovation and job creation.”

Small businesses have been particularly affected by the rising cost of fuel, as any additional expense is more difficult for them to absorb than their corporate counterparts. According to a survey conducted by the National Small Business Association [NSBA], over 60 percent of small businesses use vehicles on a daily basis, and a majority of those who use vehicles travel more than 50 miles a day. This has forced many entrepreneurs to consider scaling back their daily operations and reducing their staff in an effort to save money.

“The rising cost of energy has hit small businesses hard,” Chairwoman Velázquez noted. “This bill focuses not only on supply, but it also focuses on usage. These two factors are key in helping small businesses to manage increasing energy prices, and in becoming more resourceful.”

A critical piece of the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security and Consumer Protection Act, is H.R. 2389, the Small Energy Efficient Business Act [SEEBA], introduced by Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Heath Shuler [D-N.C., pictured above], and approved by the full House Small Business Committee this spring. The bill provides loans, education and investment to small firms to help them become more energy independent, thereby helping them take advantage of their role as leaders in the search for solutions.

H.R. 2389 also promotes good energy practices by modifying existing Small Business Administration [SBA] programs to provide more flexible loan terms to small firms that are developing or utilizing new technologies.

SEEBA stimulates investment in the production of alternative sources and product development by expanding the Small Business Investment Companies [SBICs]. The SBA will be required to develop a strategy to educate small firms about being resourceful, and establishes an educational program for the Small Business Development Centers [SBDCs]. Additionally, the Renewable Fuel Capital Investment Program [RFCIP] will be created, which will help small firms develop renewable energy sources. These measures will play a vital role in the reaching the goals of H.R. 3221.

“Small businesses are leaders in developing new technologies to spur efficiency, and under H.R. 3221, entrepreneurs will be able to continue on that path,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “The Small Energy Efficiency Business Act will give the support needed to foster these types of advances, while also encouraging innovation and job creation. I am proud that this legislation is a vital component of the monumental energy package that the House has passed today.”

Sources: Congressional Budget Office,, U.S. House Small Business Committee,

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