Our energy future is closely tied to our prosperity and the future of our planet. We cannot drill our way to a viable energy strategy. Senator Menendez believes it is time to accelerate our transition from fossil fuels to clean, limitless, renewable, domestic energy. By spurring innovation and development of modern energy sources, we have the opportunity to help families save money, create new jobs and clean our air.
New Jersey is well situated to be a national leader in energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy with significant development and production of technologies such as LED lighting, solar energy (New Jersey is second only to California), and the potential to harness offshore wind energy. Senator Menendez believes it is time we had a more focused energy policy that stops subsidizing oil companies and starts investing more in our green jobs right here in America.
- Energy Efficiency. Created the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program as part of the 2007 energy bill. This program provided $3.2 billion to build new green energy projects, create jobs, and lower municipal energy bills. Senator Menendez understands that transforming our energy industry needs to start with local leaders. His EECBG program is providing New Jersey communities over $70 million in grants to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
- Solar Power. Helped lead the fight to extend solar tax credits until 2016, a cornerstone of a continued vibrant solar industry in New Jersey, which has the second largest solar market in the country. He also helped champion the 1603 Treasury Grant Program to help finance renewable energy projects. The program led to 982 grants in New Jersey worth nearly $491.5 million, helping to leverage a $1 billion investment in the state’s economy.
- Green Technology Patents. Authored a provision to allow the Patent Office to fast-track patents that help the U.S. economy or national competitiveness, including cutting-edge green technologies. This legislation was enacted into law as part of the America Invents Act.
- Protecting New Jersey from Offshore Drilling. Stood up to the administration when plans were announced to allow offshore drilling in Virginia waters, less than 100 miles from Cape May. Senator Menendez demanded that the lease sale be cancelled. He prevailed because he made the Department of Interior understand that putting at risk a New Jersey tourism and fishing economy worth tens of billions of dollars is simply not worth the risks associated with coastal oil drilling.
- Ending Wasteful Oil Subsidies. Introduced legislation and led the fight to end wasteful oil subsidies. Senator Menendez introduced the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, which would cut over $20 billion in tax subsidies enjoyed by some of the most profitable corporations in the world. The bill received a bipartisan majority of 52 votes, but a Republican filibuster prevented the bill’s passage.
- Supporting Offshore Wind. Co-sponsored legislation to provide long term incentives needed to jumpstart the offshore wind industry. Because of New Jersey’s high electricity demand, long shore line, and shallow continental shelf it is perhaps the best state for offshore wind in the country.