CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3598, on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 3598 was introduced on September 17, 2009, by Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) and referred to the Committee on the Science and Technology, which held a mark-up and reported the bill, as amended, by voice vote on October 7, 2009.
H.R. 3598 would authorize $65 million annually through FY 2015 to create a new federal research and development program to attempt to enhance energy and water-use efficiency in the agency's research and development programs. Specifically, the bill would authorize $60 million annually for the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct and coordinate research and development activities to increase DOE's energy and water use efficiency.
In addition, the bill would authorize $5 million annually to establish the Energy-Water Architecture Council. The Council would have a representative from each federal agency and would conduct research and make recommendations related to energy and water resource use and efficiency.
The DOE currently operates the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy with the stated mission of strengthening the U.S.'s "energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality in public-private partnerships that: enhance energy efficiency and productivity." Under H.R. 3598, the Secretary of Energy would be required to participate in new water and energy efficiency programs. Specifically, the Secretary would be required to increase technologies that minimize freshwater withdrawal and consumption, increase water use efficiency, and utilize nontraditional water sources with efforts to improve the quality of that water. Some Members may be concerned that H.R. 3598 would authorize $325 million of the FY 2010 through FY 2015 period for new DOE efficiency activities and programs while the DOE already has the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to address efficiency issues.
According to CBO, H.R. 3598 would cost $221 million over the FY 2011 through FY 2014 period and an additional $104 million after FY 2014.