E&E: Real interest' in House version of Shaheen-Portman

A sponsor of the House version of a much-touted energy efficiency bill expressed high hopes for the legislation's prospects today at a conference focused on power conservation in Washington, D.C. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said there's "not an explicit commitment, but there's real interest" in the efficiency measure.

Welch, who is sponsoring H.R. 1616 along with Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), said House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) expressed interest in the measure when they met late last month.

The Senate legislation (S. 761) by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) faces a likely Senate floor vote next month. Often referred to as Shaheen-Portman, the measure would update voluntary building codes and create incentives for state-level efficiency programs (E&E Daily, May 15).

Welch spoke at the Energy Efficiency Global Forum at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Earlier that day, business leaders said the legislation is the first step toward revamping federal policy and private-sector efforts to promote efficiency (Greenwire, May 20).

Welch also said he talked to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who has a staff member who's particularly interested in the issue. Cantor's Chief of Staff Steve Stombres, Welch said, has a daughter in high school who is "all about green."

"He's facing home pressure to get something done," Welch said.