U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR),
Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO), and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) led the introduction of S.361, the "Resource Efficient Appliance Incentives Act"
during a recent Senate session. The bill will hasten market introduction of super-efficient clothes washers and refrigerator/freezers by offering appliance makers tax credits for the production of these appliances which significantly exceed minimum federal efficiency requirements and offer major new water savings as well.
The legislation will result in savings of more than 200 trillion Btus of energy or the equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars off the road or halt 6 coal-fired power plants for a year. The bill, by encouraging the
manufacture of super-efficient washing machines, will reduce the amount of water necessary to wash clothes by 870 billion gallons or approximately the amount of water necessary to meet the needs of every household in a city the
size of Phoenix, AZ, U.S. for 2 years.
The original cosponsors to the bill include a bipartisan list of Senate members, including Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senator Debbie Stabenow
(D-MI), Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH). Essentially the same provision was adopted by the House and Senate in an energy bill which is being renewed this year.
The legislation is supported by major environmental organizations, including
the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, the Alliance to Save Energy and the American Council for an Energy
Efficient Economy. It is also endorsed by The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. It complements an historic agreement reached in 2001 by appliance makers and environmental groups on the next round of national minimum efficiency standards for clothes washers.
David M. Nemtzow, President of the Alliance to Save Energy applauds the introduction. "This bill will help America clean up-clean up our air
quality, our climate, and our water. I commend Senators Lincoln, Allard and Grassley and their colleagues for working in a bipartisan fashion with environmental and clean energy leaders, and appliance manufacturers." David
Goldstein, Energy Program Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council agreed, "tax incentives for energy efficient appliances will stimulate
economic growth, while cutting energy costs for consumers and reducing air
"This bill will encourage sales of Energy Star appliances and will also provide increased incentives to manufacturers who develop and sell
appliances that are even more efficient than most Energy Star models" noted Steven Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an
These standards, established by the U.S. Department of Energy, will set the floor for clothes washer efficiency for the next twelve years. The tax credit is designed to encourage manufacturers to produce clothes washers and
refrigerator/freezers that greatly exceed the federal minimum efficiency requirements, thereby accelerating and increasing the efficiency savings.
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