Energy efficiency has been in the news a lot over the last month, as President Barack Obama announced his new goals for the country's power at the beginning of June. In the new set of initiatives that the president put forward, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would have a stronger ability to regulate the carbon dioxide emissions of major power plants – authority that was largely upheld by the Supreme Court in a new decision earlier this week. President Obama wants the country to cut the amount of carbon the U.S. produces by a full 30 percent by the year 2030.
While the executive and judicial branches have been making headlines in regards to energy efficiency, the legislative branch has also taken action on this same issue. After the failure of a reformed draft of the Shaheen-Portman energy bill in the Senate in early May, many experts believed that this Congress would not take up the issue of energy again. This was proven untrue, as this week the GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed two energy bills, HR 4092 and HR 4801, which both tackle how the country consumes power in different ways.
HR 4092, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Obama, would have a much more immediate effect on our lives. The purpose of the bill is to create an office within the Department of Energy (DOE) that would help create and coordinate federal, state and local programs designed to help schools across the country become more energy-efficient. According to reports from the DOE, schools spend a combined $6 billion each year on energy, which is the second-largest expense after personnel.
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