April 24, 2013
We, the undersigned energy efficiency, conservation and environmental organizations, and land trusts, are writing to express our strong support for the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC) and ask that you cosponsor this important piece of legislation (S. 761). This bipartisan bill, sponsored by Senators Shaheen and Portman, would implement several sensible energy efficiency improvements across residential, commercial and industrial sectors of the U.S. economy. This important piece of legislation already enjoys the support of dozens of energy efficiency technology manufacturers and companies, as well as trade organizations and many of the nation’s largest environmental organizations.
One of the least appreciated and most important results of increasing energy efficiency is its ability to avoid costly energy sprawl that eliminates valuable open space, degrades natural areas, and adversely impacts our cultural and historic resources. America continues to lose open space at a rapid clip to development. Considering the extent of natural systems that could be lost under our current energy practices and policies, ramping up energy efficiency should be a fundamental building block of a comprehensive strategy to safeguard America’s natural and cultural resources—and a cornerstone of sensible energy policies.
When energy efficiency displaces the need for building new power plants, it helps keep landscapes healthy and connected. In short, saving energy saves lands. Based on the Energy Information Administration forecast of energy production in 2030, nearly 50 million acres—roughly the size of Nebraska—will be consumed for energy development under current practices and policies. Each new acre committed to energy production is an acre no longer available for hunting, agriculture, or recreation—and power facilities are land hungry. A single large coal-fired power plant alone can consume roughly 23,000 acres – 1,000 acres for the physical plant, and another 22,000 acres for mining, waste disposal, transmission lines, rail spurs, and other needed infrastructure. Avoiding the need to build new energy facilities by scaling up energy efficiency programs is a no‐regrets, cost-effective solution to addressing America’s energy needs while protecting landscapes and the many services they provide.
This bill is not only sensible energy policy for the environment, but it is a job creator. According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy estimate, passage of S. 761 could result in more than $20 billion in net energy savings to American households and businesses from 2012 to 2030, and support a net increase of 159,000 jobs in 2030.
Protecting our valued natural landscapes, scenic viewsheds, and important ecological and cultural resources through energy savings—while creating jobs—is a win-win situation. We offer our support for the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act and ask you to cosponsor it, to protect America’s unique heritage and natural wealth.
Appalachian Mountain Club
Conservation Law Foundation
Center for Rural Affairs
Community Office of Resource Efficiency
Defenders of Wildlife
Idaho Conservation League
League of Conservation Voters
National Audubon Society
National Resources Defense Council
New Jersey Highlands Coalition
Pennsylvania Land Trust Association
Piedmont Environmental Council
San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council
The Brandywine Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy
The Wilderness Society
Vermont Natural Resources Council
Western Resource Advocates
World Wildlife Fund