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Politics


Is the time finally right for Portman's energy efficiency bill?
The Ohio senator says yes, but amendments may be the key
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
Portman says the bill makes sense in its cost, flexibility and goals.
Courtesy of FILE PHOTO
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Ohio’s U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is sounding increasingly confident that an energy efficiency bill that stalled in the Senate last year will get somewhere this week. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the potentially bipartisan outcome – or something that may run it aground.

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The Republican Portman is co-sponsoring the bill with Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. The bill would improve energy efficiency in construction, reduce waste and provide training for green jobs. And the Congressional Budget Office predicts it would reduce the budget deficit by $12 million over the next decade.

Portman says it makes sense.

“It will make a huge difference in terms of job growth, in terms of making us less dependent on foreign sources of energy, in terms of making the environment cleaner. So it’s the low-hanging fruit out there. The cheapest form of energy we have out there is conserving it and not using it in the first place. And to me this is totally consistent. … We should both produce more and use it more efficiently.”

But 10 amendments to the bill already have been made, and Portman’s fellow Republicans are pushing for more, including strict limits on EPA climate rules and forbidding Congress from ever imposing a carbon tax.

And there’s increasing talk about attaching a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline to the bill. Portman has supported the pipeline, but his co-sponsor, Shaheen, has opposed it. 

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