Welch Energy Efficiency Bill Passes House
05/07/10 7:34AM By Ross Sneyd  Download MP3
(Host) An initiative by Congressman Peter Welch to reduce energy consumption and create jobs has passed the U.S. House.
VPR's Ross Sneyd reports.
(Sneyd) Congressman Welch has been heavily promoting his bill, dubbed the "Home Star Energy Retrofit Act."
He's held media events at private homes to demonstrate the benefits of the bill to homeowners.
And he's done the same thing at a Springfield company that's expected to do more business if the proposal becomes law.
(Welch) "There's a real Vermont impact right away. We've got, for instance, Jeld-Wen, which is a company that manufactures energy-efficient doors and windows, and they're going to be able to put more people to work."
(Sneyd) The central goal of the bill is to encourage homeowners to replace old insulation, windows and anything else that might be leaking energy.
Homeowners could get rebates of up to $3,000 for those kinds of renovations. Another provision would allow them to qualify for as much as $8,000 if they can show they'd save at least 20 percent on their energy use.
Welch says the bill would save consumers money on their energy bills while reducing pollution. And ...
(Welch) "It's going to put our out-of-work construction folks back to work. We've got 25 percent unemployment and these are the folks who do the retrofitting and they're going to have work. And it'll create about 170,000 jobs."
(Sneyd) The bill would cost the federal government about $6 billion over two years. Welch says he wants the money to come from uncommitted stimulus funds.
A similar bill is pending in the Senate and Welch says he's optimistic that a final version will emerge from Congress soon.
For VPR News, I'm Ross Sneyd