tv Eye on Washington FOX February 7, 2016 8:30am-9:00am PST
>> and good day to you. i'm marilee joyce. and this is "eye on washington." it's the only statewide nevada news program produced in washington, d.c. every week "eye on washington" takes you straight to capitol hill for a discussion with nevada's delegation and other leaders about the federal matters that matter to you in nevada. today's topic, he wants to help you stop wasting energy. let's find out how one nevada leader wants to reward your business for its better energy efficiency efforts. he is my guest today, nevada u.s. congressman joe heck. and thanks for being here today. >> thanks, marilee. good to be with you. >> appreciate it. did you know your business or association might be squandering energy that could be used to warm and cool your building? my guest says it's more than likely, and he would like to change that. today on "eye on washington," we're going to tell you about a bill he says would save you on jobs.
his legislation is especially great for nevada. and we'll end our energy discussion learning his thoughts on the obama administration's clean power plan. 10 members, including my guest, congressman amodei and congresswoman titus have introduced the power efficiency and resiliency act. currently some energy technologies qualify for large tax credits, and others do not. solar energy and fuel cell technologies, for example, get a 30% credit. now, the power act would increase the tax credit for combined heat and power and waste heat to power technologies for 10% to 30%. now, congressman, i saw a companion bill in the senate from senators casey and collins. and i saw collins' statement claiming that right now, quote, u.s. utilities and factories send enough wasted energy in the form of heat up their chimneys to power all of japan for each year.
and why it's so important for nevada. >> sure. well, the power bill tries to incentivize businesses to utilize waste heat to power or combined heat to power in order to help fuel their own energy needs. and in doing so, they decrease their reliance on energy from the grid, decrease their costs and help save the environment. so overall, this is a win-win for the manufacturer, for the business as well as for our environment. and it in some cases can actually put energy back into the grid and help lower rates for residential consumers. >> it's not a small thing. some legislation we hear about is just like, oh, 5 extra percent here and there. this is actually 20% higher tax credit. you're going from a 10% current one, correct? up to 30%? >> right. so right now things like solar and wind get a 30% tax credit, whereas this type of energy efficiency is only getting 10%. so we want to increase that to 30%, and we also want to extend the time where they can claim this credit out to 2018. >> and you could really save a lot of money or save a lot of
>> well, certainly, if we increase the use of this type of energy efficiency, it's estimated that you have a $3 billion savings nationwide and 160,000 jobs created. and in fact, we have one plant already in southern nevada in good springs, one of the nevada energy plants that are using waste heat to power. so this is a great opportunity again to help businesses save on their own electricity costs, help save our environment and perhaps decrease costs for residential users. >> and you have said one of the big reasons -- i know when you came to washington, your big thing was -- you had three big priorities. one was jobs. the next one was jobs. the next one was jobs. you said you are onboard with this especially because it not only saves costs and a lot of bills can save costs especially over time, but this you said will be a real jobs creator. >> well, it is. and not just in the jobs necessary to put the facilities under construction and put this technology in place. but as we have known, the u.s. is losing manufacturing jobs to places like india and china. and one of the reasons for that
energy that's necessary in a manufacturing plant. so if we can lower the costs to actually create something here in the united states, those jobs will come back, we will grow more jobs and put more nevadans back to work. >> you know sometimes things sound so good, and then you find out, good heavens, the cost of setting them up is going to make making money off them take so long. and yet you have said that this bill will actually reduce initial costs of deploying the projects. is that right? >> correct. so the 30% is a tax credit towards the installation of the technology. and in some cases where this technology has already put into place, they have been able to recoup their costs within five years. and everything after that is basically gravy. >> that's great news. so tell us a little bit more and make it a little more clear how the bill would help businesses reduce energy use and costs. >> so right now when a facility is generating electricity or through whatever manufacturing process they use on their plant floor, all of that is going up, it's being flared as they say
well, this technology allows that heat to be harnessed and then be used to generate more electricity. and you can either do it through waste heat or through this combined heat to power. and so it's a great opportunity for manufacturers that are trying to cut down on their costs to be able to grow jobs, to utilize this technology to do just that. >> a win-win. a lot of support? >> there is. there is a lot of support growing and hopefully energy and commerce will take this bill up shortly. >> okay. we're going to find out too who outside the bill is supporting it. who is pushing the bill? let's find out who and why when "eye on washington" returns
>> and welcome back to "eye on washington" and our discussion on legislation my guest says would help you lower your power bill. and he's here to tell us more about it today. he is nevada u.s. congressman joe heck. well, the congressman's bill does have a lot of fans. more than 125 businesses, trade associations, non-profit organizations and research institutions have endorsed the power act. and here's just one example of what's being said about it. the pew charitable trust clean energy initiative calls the legislation good news for industry, worker environmentalists and first responders. initiative director phyllis
statement that the power act is, quote, good energy, economic and environmental policy and adds, quote, by producing heat and power from a single fuel source, combined heat and power has doubled the efficiency of central station power generation. cuttino says that that technology combined with waste to heat power, both advocated in the power act by the way, would, quote, dramatically improve efficiency while reducing emissions and cost. now, congressman, what's the cost of this bill to taxpayer, number one? and it is a bipartisan bill. >> right. >> so you have that. but what organizations don't want this? and how do you go about changing their minds? i know it's a lot of questions. maybe we should divide them up. what's the cost to taxpayers? >> well, there really is no cost directly to the taxpayer because what we are providing is a tax credit to the business to put in this type of technology. so in the long run, the additional jobs that would be created will actually generate revenue into the u.s. treasury. so there's no cost to the taxpayer. >> and again, it's a bipartisan
and i named some organizations. there's more than 125 big ones. i mean i'm sure there's more. who's against it, and why? and how do you change their minds? >> well, we haven't had anybody come up to us and say they were against this bill to date. and i think that's because, as was stated by ms. cuttino, this is a win for environmental policy. it's a win for energy policy. and it's a win for jobs. and for nevada, especially we have a company in reno called electrotherm that generates this type of equipment to be able to install. so that's more jobs right there in our local area up in reno as they need to meet the demand to put this technology in place. and nevada has 13 combined heat projects already in place. the first one was city center, also known as cogeneration. and as i mentioned, we have one waste heat to power plant out in good springs, the nevada energy plant that actually uses the heat that's generated at the kern river gas transmission plant where they pump the natural gas from california. there's a transmission plant there that generates the heat that is now being used by nevada
that takes 1200 homes off the grid. >> wow. and if anyone on the hill, any of your colleagues are against it, is it because they are skeptical about the costs? or what's the -- >> we really haven't had anybody come to us and say they have concerns with this bill because we believe it reflects the best as far as public lands policy, energy policy, environmental policy and economic policy. >> now, i did read that the technologies that we're talking about already are used at hospitals, military bases. what else do i have here? wastewater treatment plants, some other critical facilities. >> right. >> and they are the types of places that need the reliable electricity to provide crucial services, etc. even when there's grid outages and natural disasters. what does your act add to that? >> well, our act actually tries to make this a much more broader deployment of this technology. again, one of the underlying goals is to try to create more jobs in the manufacturing
>> well, it wasn't available to these other companies? >> no, it's available. it's just costly prohibitive when you have to install it, let's say, at a 100,000, 200,000 square foot manufacturing facility. and so by making it more cost effective for them to deploy it through the tax credit, it will create more jobs in actually the development of the technology and installation and actually put more people back to work on the plant floor. >> and overall advanced technologies would dramatically improve efficiency anyway and reduce costs over time? >> certainly, as the technology evolves -- again, electrotherm up in reno is one of the leaders in this area. as the technology evolves, more and more electricity savings will be generated. >> any other benefits you can share that i didn't get to? >> i think the other benefit is it decreases pollution. so it's not just an economic policy, but it's a great environmental policy. >> and again, support on the hill you said is good both sides? >> it is. both sides, bipartisan bill. many outside agencies from across the political spectrum have endorsed the power act. looking forward to trying to get
moving this to the house floor as soon as possible. >> with it being an election year and, you know, i know a thousand other things going on, what are the chances of passage this year? do you think it's going to -- >> well, you know, it's always difficult to try to move a bill through committee and to the floor just based on the schedule. >> sure. >> but again, a bipartisan bill, no cost to the taxpayer. wide support outside organizations. >> one of those feel-good bills that they want to pass before the end of the year. >> it would be tough not to bring this one to the floor. >> and when we return, he says energy developed on public lands should benefit the public.
return to the state. >> and welcome back to "eye on washington." our discussion of my guest's recent pro renewable energy efforts. we have been visiting with him, nevada u.s. congressman joe heck. well, last year congressman heck joined five colleagues to introduce legislation to make sure nevada gets a fair return from federal government sales of renewable energy projects on the
his public energy renewable energy development act aims to streamline the permitting process for wind, solar and geothermal development on public lands and also establishes a revenue sharing mechanism that ensures a fair return for relevant stakeholders. with more than 80% of nevada land owned by the feds, nevada has a huge opportunity to develop renewable energy projects, especially projects utilizing solar and geothermal technology. so that's why the congressman says this bill is needed now to make certain the state gets a good share of revenue from energy projects. here's how the revenue distribution would work. 25% to the state where development takes place. 25% to the counties of origin. 15% to the purposes of more efficiency processing permit application and reducing renewable energy permit backlogs. and 35% to a fund for sportsmen
including increasing access to outdoor recreation like hunting and fishing. congressman, we should point out that our senator heller is co-sponsoring a companion bill in the senate, of course. so anyway you told the press that this bill is crucial, period, but especially for a state like nevada that is poised to be a world leader in renewable energy development. and here's your statement about that. you said, quote, it ensures that revenue generated for the federal government by these projects stays in nevada. public land should benefit the public, and this bill helps move us in this direction. >> yeah. so, you know, look, one of the issues that we see is with the development of a renewable energy product, especially on public lands, is that the company that wants to come in and start the project does their analysis and figures out how much it's going to cost them to generate this project. and then they start the permitting process to get access to the federal government lands. and that process is so long and so delayed and so cumbersome, that at times when they finally
start construction, the whole dynamic of the project has changed. the economy has changed and what they thought it was going to cost is no longer going to be the cost, and they decide to forego the project. what we want to do is streamline that process so that those that want to put these projects in place have a better understanding and a better idea of exactly how long it's going to take them to get their permit so that their plans and what they think it's going to cost them will actually be what their cost is when they start construction. and if we do that, we will continue to be a leader, as nevada already is, in geothermal and solar energy production. >> you know one of your colleagues, congressman franks of arizona, is a big fan. he's also a co-sponsor. and he called your bill a job creator. tell me how this bill furthers your work of growing jobs. >> sure. well, the more renewable energy projects that we can bring to nevada, the more construction jobs there will be to put those projects in place. then there's the jobs that come to run the facility after it's actually generating electricity. and i think another key
revenue distribution, right? so right now we have a lot of land in nevada that's federal land that's off the property tax rolls. it's not generating any revenue for the counties in which the land is located. this bill will now allow that project on public lands that generates revenue to the federal government to allow a distribution of that money back to the state, to the county for sportsmen's purposes and also to help streamline the process for future projects. >> you know that distribution part kind of sounds like everybody should be thrilled with it. who's against the bill? >> well, once again, this is one of the renewable energy bills where we have not had any opposition. there are some that believe when you start trying to change where the revenue is distributed from the federal government back to state and county, that it brings money out of the federal treasury. however, i believe that public land is located in nevada, so moneys generated from those public lands should stay in nevada. >> i'll bet nevadans love this bill. what are you hearing?
lands are located. they are the ones that really suffer the most from not being able to have revenue generated from use of those lands. so this will go a long way for a lot of our rural counties. >> you know you mentioned bill. tell us why. >> so as was mentioned, about 35% of the revenue goes into a fund that will help fund conservation and sportsmen's making sure that public lands remain open, accessible and available to conservationists enjoyment. >> so environmentalists, win-win? >> it is. but again, we are trying to foster an increased reliance on renewable energy which means we can decrease our reliance on fossil feels, so environmentalists like it. sportsmen like it because it gives them an opportunity to get access to public lands for recreational activities. this year. >> we hope. >> miracles can happen, right? okay. and when we return, hey, madeline m., we picked your letter.
stay with us. >> and welcome back to our closing segment of "eye on washington." and it is our mailbag segment. it's where we read a letter that you have sent to the mailbag page of the joyce communications website. we read it right here on the air. it's a letter right to our congressman or senator or congresswoman, but today it's to congressman heck. and, congressman, we have a letter to you from madeline m.
heck, can you please explain how the federal water pollution control act might affect nevada? and i think we decided during the break she probably meant the clean water act or recently passed -- what did you say? >> the waters of the u.s. rule, i think is the issue that's been in the media most recently. and so the waters of the u.s. rule actually tries to take bodies of water that were never meant to be governed by the federal government as a navigable waterway and includes them under these rules. so the concern in nevada, especially rural nevada, is that something like a drainage holding pond on a farm or a ranch or an irrigation ditch, anything that might have water that runs into a navigable waterway could now be subjected to these rules. and that's a real problem for our farmers and ranchers all across nevada because it's going to cause them to have to comply with regulations and rules that they have never had to worry about before and cause a significant increase in the cost of them doing business. and so i have concerns about the
impact on rural nevada, especially our farmers and ranchers. >> you know, since we do have an extra minute here that we can play with, i want to ask you on a water note. i know that as our congressman and as someone who cares about, you know, the environment and things that you have shared me here on this program, the drought has been a terrible issue for much of nevada. and i wanted to get your comments on what can be done federally and what's going on. what are the recent efforts here? >> yeah, certainly it's a difficult issue. as i fly back and forth every weekend and i fly over lake mead as i go into mccarran airport, you can see the ring around lake mead and how low the water level is. and certainly, we have seen a state like california that is suffering from the drought as well. and it has a significant impact on the cost of produce and other things. look, the southern nevada water authority actually does a pretty good job at managing our water. and we have bank supplies and water swaps that have taken place in order to ensure that southern nevada has its share of
however, we have to hope that the snowpack this year will help restore the water coming from the colorado river into lake mead to help bring that level back up so we have a never-ending supply of water for >> sounds great. thanks for talking about water and energy and a lot of important issues. and we're going to see you soon on the show i hope. >> thank you. >> thank you, sir. and that is it for this week's "eye on washington." i hope you join us next time as we discuss more important federal matters and their impact on you and nevada. please visit -- >> thanks for joining us for "eye on washington" today. i'm marilee joyce in washington, d.c.