Is the push for austerity at the federal level hurting our country's crucial need to push all-out on the energy efficiency front? Based on this article, it sure seems that way:
Bipartisan hopes for a rare compromise on energy that would expand conservation programs are dimming as lawmakers face a daunting political divide over new federal spending.
Lawmakers entered the new Congress optimistic that energy efficiency legislation could reach President Obama’s desk, but the vast gulf between the parties on taxes and the role of government has clouded the outlook on a broad bill.
What makes this even more exasperating is that "Republicans and Democrats in both chambers characterize energy efficiency as low-hanging fruit," and "often tout the economic benefits of helping consumers and businesses cut energy costs, and say efficiency legislation could boost U.S. businesses." Yet the "era of belt-tightening that has taken hold in Washington is one of the main obstacles to a deal." That's highly unfortunate, if it's accurate, given the enormous potential of energy efficiency to save Americans money, to enhance our economic competitiveness, to slash pollution, and to enhance our energy security. Let's hope that the push for austerity at the federal level doesn't, in the end, interfere with achieving these crucially important goals.