House Leadership Announces "Energy Independence Day" Package
Small Business Committee Bill Included to Support Innovations In the Energy Sector
WASHINGTON – Today, Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez joined with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and members of the House leadership, to announce the “Energy Independence Day” Package. The initiative will provide incentives for the production and use of clean energy, aid our nations farmers in producing the next generation of America’s fuel, support energy efficient technology, and create the environment for an American energy boom that will create jobs, stimulate the economy and help small businesses.
“This package will help ensure that on this Fourth of July we will celebrate not only our nation’s independence, but our future independence from foreign oil and energy inefficient technologies,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “The innovation and drive necessary for us to succeed lie within our country’s small businesses, which is why it is so important that this package recognizes and supports the progress that small entrepreneurs have made in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable fuels.”
Small businesses have been particularly affected by the rising cost of fuel, as any additional expense is more difficult for them to absorb than for larger institutions. According to a survey conducted by the National Small Business Association (NSBA), over 60 percent of small businesses use vehicles on a daily basis, and a majority of those who use vehicles travel more than 50 miles a day. This has forced many entrepreneurs to consider scaling back their daily operations and reducing their staff in an effort to save money.
“The rising cost of energy has affected all Americans but it is especially difficult for our nation’s small business owners,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “Action is needed to help remedy this problem and this legislation is a major step towards finding a solution.”
A critical piece of the “Energy Independence Day” Package is H.R. 2389, The Small Energy Efficient Business Act (SEEBA), introduced by Subcommittee Chairman, Congressman Heath Shuler, and approved by the Full House Small Business Committee in May. The bill will provide loans, education and investment to small firms to help them become more energy independent, helping them take advantage of their role as leaders in the search for energy solutions. The bill promotes good energy practices by modifying existing Small Business Administration (SBA) programs to provide more flexible loan terms to small firms that are developing or utilizing energy efficient technologies. It stimulates investment in the production of alternative sources of energy and the development of energy efficient technologies by expanding the Small Business Investment Corporation (SBIC). The SBA will be required to develop a strategy to educate small firms about energy efficiency, and establishes an energy efficiency program for the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). Additionally, the Renewable Fuel Capital Investment (RFCI) program will be created, which will help small firms develop renewable energy sources and new technologies. These measures will play a vital role in the reaching the goals of the “Energy Independence Day” Package.
“The immediate need for more affordable sources of energy will help breed innovation, and I am confident that with the proper support, the ingenuity of our country’s entrepreneurs will create the next generation of energy efficient technology and alternative fuels,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “The Small Business Energy Efficiency Act will give the support needed to foster these advances, and is a vital component of the Leadership’s energy package.”