When I became Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, I wanted to change the direction of how we develop our environmental policy. I wanted to narrow on approaches that move away from a stove-pipe, top-down regulatory regimes. We were in search of remedies that involved thinking "outside the box."
The need for our nation is to develop new, innovative, flexible and effective weapons against pollution. We need effective, market-based solutions; cooperative approaches that produce results; and more innovation and less regulation. That is what this hearing is all about.
I am honored to be here at UNH to highlight the tremendous work and ingenuity of America's companies, many from New Hampshire, that have developed these technologies.
A clean environment and the future of our national energy security depend on their ingenuity. While New Hampshire is a net exporter of electricity and does not face the energy crisis that has gripped California - we have felt the brunt of high heating costs in the winter and high gas prices in the summer. Our economy also is tied the national economy, which will take a heavy hit if we do nothing to address this situation.
The solution to this problem must be a comprehensive effort including:
I believe that we must create an atmosphere that encourages innovation and will ensure safe, reliable energy. I commend President Bush for taking action and developing his National Energy Policy. After eight years of a total lack of leadership, or willingness to address this crisis that we knew was looming on the horizon, I am pleased we are finally going to do something to fix it.
This comprehensive effort will require new, innovative and environmentally friendly technologies to meet our national energy needs and our desire for a clean, healthy environment. That is why I am holding this hearing today. It is important that the Congress and the nation understand what technologies are out there and what they are capable of. I want to use this opportunity to showcase them especially those being developed right here in New Hampshire
Innovative technologies are vital to our long-term national interest. I recognize this, and the President's plan recognizes this. In fact, 42 of the President's 105 recommendations in his Energy Policy are intended to modernize and increase conservation and environmental protection efforts.
It is obvious that at this time that it is necessary to call upon these break-throughs to propel our country through this difficult energy situation. There has long been the assumption that we could not have a strong energy supply while maintaining a strong environmental policy. A common belief is that you must sacrifice the one in order to obtain the other.
What I believe, and what we are going to see today, is that you can have both a reliable, affordable and adequate long-term energy supply and a clean, healthy environment.
These technologies will free us from the false choice of energy or environment. The Energy Star program is an example of an innovative partnership designed to help consumers and businesses benefit from energy efficiency. The idea behind Energy Star was to get manufacturers to produce products that required less energy. Energy efficient products would be labeled and easily recognized, allowing consumers to purchase products they knew to be environment friendly while ultimately saving money by lower energy costs and preserving the quality of the product.
Nationwide, Energy Star products save over $2 billion dollars in energy costs. Here in New Hampshire, we have 73 companies and public entities participating in Energy Star. New Hampshire has 22 million square feet of building space that is currently committed to the Energy Star Program. In addition, because of existing Energy Star investments in New Hampshire:
It is worth noting that two of the Energy Star labeled products are manufactured in New Hampshire. In addition to Energy Star, there have been many other efforts to increase energy efficiency.
Something that I have been talking about now for some time is that of next-generation vehicles. Over the last few decades, we have done a good job in reducing our vehicle emissions. The cars and light trucks of today are 96% cleaner than their counterparts of 30 years ago. The vehicles of 2009 will be 80% cleaner than today's cars. But we need to take that to the Next Generation -- I want to provide the incentives so that we can bring the Super-Clean vehicles to the mainstream. Again, this is an important part of the President's plan.
I am very pleased that we have hybrid and fuel cell vehicles on display, but we also have a number of other technologies here today that will lead us into a cleaner future:
We must embrace these types of technologies. They are clean and plentiful -- they are the future. They are a key part of any viable, long-term energy solution. I recognize this, and the President recognizes this.
I am proud that I am able to showcase these innovative solutions to the nation. Thank you all for coming here today and I anxiously await your testimonies and the opportunity to share them with my colleagues in the Senate.