|4:36 PM EDT||
Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th
Ms. KAPTUR. Members and Madam Chairman, I am having help from the pager placing this chart up here. It shows how much petroleum America imports--the red line--and overall how much petroleum we use. Energy-wise, America is a totally dependent Nation.
I offer this amendment to help restore the energy security, economic security, and environmental security of our Nation. Nothing could be more vital.
My amendment takes a small step by shifting a very small amount of funds, $10 million, from the administrative costs within the Department of Energy to help restore funds to solar energy research and development within the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program.
Sadly, the base bill jeopardizes America's new energy future. It cuts research in solar energy by more than one-third from last year, and over 60 percent from the President's request, providing $166 million for 2012, but that's $97 million below fiscal year 2011 and $291 million below the President's request.
The $10 million in reprogramming represents less than 5 percent of the $220 million administrative budget of the Department of Energy. If the Department of Energy made their buildings more energy efficient, we could shift the funds into research on new technologies.
For months I have been hearing from constituents outraged about the high price of gas and energy in our country. And once again the recent job statistics from the Department of Labor tell us very clearly that every time you have an oil price hike, you have rising unemployment. You can go back 40 years. Every time it goes over $4 a gallon, we get a spike in unemployment. It's not rocket science.
As it stands, this bill reinforces our dependence on foreign oil. By contrast, my amendment focuses on a new energy future for America by shifting a modest amount of funds for solar energy to provide American consumers with the new energy choices that they want.
Our priorities in this bill must be aligned with the needs of our Nation for tomorrow, not yesterday. America shouldn't be held hostage by future energy price spikes. We must promote sustainable environmental stewardship while creating jobs right here in our country.
We need to address budgetary realities, and this bill does it. And there are accounts we have cut. But investments in new energy sources to displace imported oil are not the place to cut, not when America is this dependent. Research investments in solar technology have helped create numerous new companies, creating thousands of high quality jobs already with domestically produced energy. We are at the dawn of a new energy age, and we can't lose edge now. Solar companies already employ over 90,000
American workers and are expected to grow in both sales and jobs. But that depends on new research. And many of the fledgling companies can't afford to do that.
Last week, Isofoton, a Spanish solar panel manufacturer, announced plans to open a new plant in Napoleon, Ohio, that will create more than 300 jobs. Global firms know that particularly northern Ohio has made renewable energy a priority, and the investment is following. Congress simply must focus on a new energy future for our Nation and not let inertia and the habits of the past thwart progress.
Overall, the U.S. economy is anticipated to increase jobs by 2 percent next year. But guess what? In the solar industry, the number of new jobs is expected to increase 26 percent, according to Cornell University's 2010 solar job census. Those are the kind of jobs that America wants. And a recent Ernst and Young report predicts the cost of solar to decrease by as much as half, creating a strong solar option for American consumers and providing solar companies with the opportunity to expand.
Investors know where to put their dollars, and our Nation knows--or we should know--that this is an emerging industry, and cutting edge research is fundamental to progress. The race to be the energy provider of the future is this generation's space race. And basic research is critical. It is fundamental. It is the fundamental ingredient to build that new future for our people. America has never shirked a major challenge. And we have a real finish line to go across as competitors are fierce, from
China, from Germany, from Japan.
New technology will provide a new power future for us, and we must position ourselves not to be second, not to be third, but to be the global leader and to create those good jobs here at home. So my amendment sets a course to keep the keel more steady as we advance energy security, economic security, and the environmental security of our Nation while promoting jobs here at home through new energy independence and innovation.
I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the Kaptur amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will read.