April 21, 2005: NORTON AMENDMENT IN ENERGY BILL CONTINUES HER CAMPAIGN FOR FEDERAL LEADERSHIP
April 21, 2005
NORTON AMENDMENT IN ENERGY BILL CONTINUES HER CAMPAIGN FOR FEDERAL LEADERSHIP IN ALTERNATIVE FUELS
Washington, DC—With the passage of the Energy Policy Act today, the Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said that her efforts to have the federal government lead the way in using alternatives to fossil fuels received a boost with the passage of her amendment to authorize the General Services Administration (GSA) to install a prize-winning solar energy system at the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters on Independence Avenue in the District. This solar energy amendment follows another Norton provision, which authorizes GSA to equip new and existing federal buildings with advanced photovoltaic solar electrical systems. That provision, which passed last year as part of the Energy Policy Act (did not pass in the Senate), is also included in the bill the House passed today.
Using her position as Ranking Member of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over federal construction, Norton is determined to get the federal government to show private industry that alternative energy sources such as solar panels are both practical and can pay for themselves many times over through reduced energy bills. Norton thought it was particularly important for the DOE not only to set an example through its use of solar energy systems, but also to utilize the prize-winning Sun Wall Design Project. This project was the winning entry in a national design competition jointly sponsored by the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Fuels Laboratory. The dramatic system—300 feet wide and 130 feet high—will not only cut fuel costs but also will showcase the promise of solar photovoltaics, as they are called.
Norton said the Energy Policy Act passed today, in its present form, cries out for alternative fuel provisions, with 93 percent of funds going to traditional fuel sources such as oil and nuclear energy. “The bill is a huge boondoggle for the oil and gas industries even though they are enjoying record profits, including tax incentives they don’t need, while alternative sources such as solar energy are in the shadows of the bill,” Norton said.