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My Turn: Shaheen’s energy legislation should appeal to everyone

  • Liz Hager  ; Tuesday, October 9, 2012.<br/><br/>( Alexander Cohn/ Monitor staff)

    Liz Hager ; Tuesday, October 9, 2012.

    ( Alexander Cohn/ Monitor staff)

  • Liz Hager  ; Tuesday, October 9, 2012.<br/><br/>( Alexander Cohn/ Monitor staff)

As we live painfully through the horrible gridlock in Washington, I want us to look ahead to policies that will help, rather than hurt, from our federal government.

Our state thrives on its natural beauty – it’s a central part of our economy, a point of pride for all of us and a source of awe for each visitor crossing the border into New Hampshire. Protecting our environment has been a sacred charge for New Hampshire public servants of both parties going back generations. In an era of unprecedented obstructionism and horrible party bickering, no one has upheld this longstanding tradition and risen above the fray to distinguish them as a bipartisan leader more than Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Shaheen is working hard to advance sensible, bipartisan legislation to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy waste. It is a priority that all individuals, regardless of party, can get behind. It is one of the reasons why as a longtime Republican I support Shaheen. I may not agree with her on every decision she makes, but more than anything, I believe in a government that works, and I’m proud to know that she’s in Washington representing values that are important to the people here in New Hampshire.

Shaheen is cosponsoring with Republican Rob Portman of Ohio the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 – better known as Shaheen-Portman. It is designed to increase America’s energy efficiency by strengthening building codes to combat waste, guaranteeing loans for private investment in energy efficiency technologies and creating programs to help companies make their supply chains more efficient. The bill also requires the federal government to take a look at its own energy waste and make big changes to reduce taxpayer expenditures on energy.

What is the direct impact of these changes?

If enacted, Shaheen-Portman is projected to create over 130,000 American jobs in the next decade, while reducing harmful emissions by a level that would be the equivalent of taking over 5 million cars off the road. It strengthens our economic security and helps the environment.

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, everyone can get behind these efforts to reduce waste and introduce cost-saving technology that will help businesses free up money to hire more people. This bill is endorsed by U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, and by environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council. It’s the very definition of a win-win situation.

Shaheen’s commonsense energy efficiency legislation is also symbolic of an approach and a style far too rare in gridlocked Washington D.C. these days. It is grounded in the belief that policy should come before politics and commonsense solutions ahead of cheap partisan attacks.

Granite Staters concerned about protecting our beautiful state and its precious natural resources looking for a strong advocate need look no further that Shaheen. Throughout her public service, she has been a champion for bipartisan commonsense solutions that protect New Hampshire’s environment.

(Elizabeth Hager is a former state representative from Concord.)

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