House backs bill to boost energy efficiency

AP News
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Posted: Apr 21, 2015 6:31 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House gave final legislative approval Tuesday to a long-delayed bill to boost energy efficiency, sending the measure to the White House.

The bill, approved on a voice vote, includes incentives to cut energy use in commercial buildings, manufacturing plants and homes.

Senators approved the bill last month, also by voice vote.

The measure, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio, was widely popular in both parties, but was defeated last year after it became enmeshed in a partisan fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The bill exempts some energy-efficient water heaters from pending Energy Department rules and requires federal agencies to develop best practices to increase energy efficiency in federal buildings, among other provisions.

Shaheen said the bill's merits were "never a tough sell," but said she and Portman worked hard to convince lawmakers not to "play politics with a good idea."

Shaheen called the legislation "a small but significant victory over legislative gridlock" and vowed to "continue to work across the aisle to pass more common sense energy efficiency proposals and get Congress back in the business of legislating for New Hampshire and the American people."

Portman said the bill would help make U.S. manufacturers more competitive while helping to protect the environment.