Text: H.R.1698 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/24/2009)

 
[Congressional Bills 111th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 1698 Introduced in House (IH)]

111th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1698

  To establish the Green Bank to assist in the financing of qualified 
    clean energy projects and qualified energy efficiency projects.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             March 24, 2009

     Mr. Van Hollen (for himself, Mr. Loebsack, Ms. Giffords, Mr. 
Blumenauer, and Ms. Bordallo) introduced the following bill; which was 
  referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and in addition to the 
   Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently 
   determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such 
 provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  To establish the Green Bank to assist in the financing of qualified 
    clean energy projects and qualified energy efficiency projects.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. CAPITALIZATION, METHOD OF CAPITAL STOCK PAYMENTS, ISSUANCE 
              OF GREEN BONDS.

    Chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by adding 
after section 3102 the following new section:
``Sec. 3102A. Green Bonds
    ``(a) Initial Capitalization.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall 
issue bonds (in this section referred to as `Green Bonds') in the 
amount of $10,000,000,000 on the credit of the United States to acquire 
capital stock of the Green Bank (established under section 9801 of this 
title), of which not more than $200,000,000 shall be used for costs 
that the Green Bank incurs for its first year in order to provide 
loans, loan guarantees, debt securitization, insurance, portfolio 
insurance, and other forms of financing support or risk management for 
qualified clean energy projects and qualified energy efficiency 
projects (as such terms are defined under such section). Stock 
certificates evidencing ownership in the Green Bank shall be issued by 
the Green Bank to the Secretary of the Treasury, to the extent of 
payments made for the capital stock of the Green Bank.
    ``(b) Future Capitalization.--The Secretary of the Treasury may 
issue additional Green Bonds on the credit of the United States to 
acquire additional capital stock of the Green Bank in an aggregate 
amount not to exceed $50,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time.
    ``(c) Denominations and Maturity.--Green Bonds shall be in such 
forms and denominations, and shall mature within such periods, as 
determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.
    ``(d) Interest.--Green Bonds shall bear interest at a rate not less 
than the current average yield on outstanding market obligations of the 
United States of comparable maturity during the month preceding the 
issuance of the obligation as determined by the Secretary of the 
Treasury.
    ``(e) Guaranteed.--Green Bonds shall be fully and unconditionally 
guaranteed both as to interest and principal by the United States, and 
such guaranty shall be expressed on the face of each bond.
    ``(f) Lawful Investments.--Green Bonds shall be lawful investments, 
and may be accepted as security for all fiduciary, trust, and public 
funds, the investment or deposit of which shall be under the authority 
or control of the United States or any officer or officers thereof.''.

SEC. 2. GREEN BANK.

    Title 31, United States Code, is amended by adding the following 
new chapter at the end thereof:

                        ``CHAPTER 98--GREEN BANK

``Sec.
``9801. Green Bank.
``Sec. 9801. Green Bank
    ``(a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the `Green Bank 
Act of 2009'.
    ``(b) Purposes.--The purposes of this section are as follows:
            ``(1) To evaluate and coordinate financing for qualified 
        clean energy projects and qualified energy efficiency projects.
            ``(2) To provide loans, loan guarantees, debt 
        securitization, insurance, portfolio insurance, and other forms 
        of financing support or risk management to qualified clean 
        energy projects and qualified energy efficiency projects.
            ``(3) To facilitate--
                    ``(A) efficient tax equity markets for qualified 
                clean energy projects; and
                    ``(B) the financing of long-term clean energy 
                purchasing by governmental and non-governmental not-
                for-profit entities.
            ``(4) To foster--
                    ``(A) the development and consistent application of 
                transparent underwriting standards, standard 
                contractual terms, and measurement and verification 
                protocols for qualified clean energy projects and 
                qualified energy efficiency projects;
                    ``(B) the creation of performance data that enables 
                effective underwriting, risk management, and pro-forma 
                modeling of financial performance of qualified clean 
                energy projects and qualified energy efficiency 
                projects to support primary financing markets and 
                stimulate development of secondary investment markets 
                for clean energy projects and energy efficiency 
                projects; and
                    ``(C) the level of financing support for qualified 
                clean energy projects and qualified energy efficiency 
                projects necessary to advance vital national 
                objectives, including--
                            ``(i) achieving energy independence from 
                        foreign energy sources;
                            ``(ii) abating climate change by increasing 
                        zero or low carbon electricity generation and 
                        transportation capabilities;
                            ``(iii) realizing energy efficiency 
                        potential in existing infrastructure;
                            ``(iv) easing the economic effects of 
                        transitioning from a carbon-based economy to a 
                        clean energy economy;
                            ``(v) achieving job creation through the 
                        construction and operation of qualified clean 
                        energy projects and qualified energy efficiency 
                        projects;
                            ``(vi) fostering long-term domestic 
                        manufacturing capacity in the clean energy and 
                        energy efficiency industries; and
                            ``(vii) complementing and supplementing 
                        other clean energy and energy efficiency 
                        legislation at the Federal or State level.
    ``(c) Definitions.--In this section:
            ``(1) Clean energy project.--The term `clean energy 
        project' means any electricity generation, transmission, 
        storage, heating, cooling, industrial process, or manufacturing 
        project whose primary purpose is the deployment, development, 
        or production of an energy system or technology that avoids, 
        reduces, or sequesters air pollutants or anthropogenic 
        greenhouse gases, including the following:
                    ``(A) Solar.
                    ``(B) Wind.
                    ``(C) Geothermal.
                    ``(D) Biomass.
                    ``(E) Hydropower.
                    ``(F) Ocean.
                    ``(G) Fuel cell.
                    ``(H) Advanced battery.
                    ``(I) Carbon capture and sequestration.
                    ``(J) Next generation biofuels.
                    ``(K) Nuclear.
            ``(2) Qualified clean energy project.--The term `qualified 
        clean energy project' means a clean energy project that--
                    ``(A) is carried out domestically within the 
                territorial borders of the United States;
                    ``(B) stays current on interest and debt payment 
                obligations;
                    ``(C) pays wages in accordance with subchapter IV 
                of chapter 31 of title 40, United States Code (commonly 
                referred to as the Davis-Bacon Act);
                    ``(D) if for nuclear power, is funded by the Bank 
                only after all other existing Federal financial support 
                has been expended; and
                    ``(E) satisfies any other conditions established by 
                the Bank and published in the Federal Register.
            ``(3) Energy efficiency project.--The term `energy 
        efficiency project' means any project, technology, function, or 
        measure that results in the reduction of energy use required to 
        achieve the same level of service or output prior to the 
        application of such project, technology, function, or measure, 
        or substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions relative to 
        emissions that would have occurred prior to the application of 
        such project, technology, function, or measure.
            ``(4) Qualified energy efficiency project.--The term 
        `qualified energy efficiency project' means an energy 
        efficiency project, including smart grid technologies and 
        functions characterized in section 1301 of the Energy 
        Independence and Security Act of 2007 and end-use technologies 
        for efficiency gains in new construction and across existing 
        infrastructure that--
                    ``(A) is carried out domestically within the 
                territorial borders of the United States;
                    ``(B) stays current on interest and debt payment 
                obligations;
                    ``(C) pays wages in accordance with subchapter IV 
                of chapter 31 of title 40, United States Code (commonly 
                referred to as the Davis-Bacon Act); and
                    ``(D) satisfies any other conditions established by 
                the Bank and published in the Federal Register.
            ``(5) Green bond.--The term `Green Bond' means a bond 
        issued pursuant to section 3102A of this title.
            ``(6) Bank.--The term `Bank' means the Green Bank 
        established under subsection (d).
            ``(7) Board.--The term `Board' means the Board of Directors 
        of the Bank.
    ``(d) Green Bank.--
            ``(1) Establishment of corporation.--There is established a 
        corporation to be known as the Green Bank that shall be wholly 
        owned by the United States.
            ``(2) Independent corporation.--The Bank shall be an 
        independent corporation. Neither the Bank nor any of its 
        functions, powers, or duties shall be transferred to or 
        consolidated with any other department, agency, or corporation 
        of the Government unless the Congress provides otherwise.
            ``(3) Charter.--The Bank shall be chartered for 20 years 
        from the date of enactment of this section.
            ``(4) Governance.--
                    ``(A) Board of directors of the bank.--
                            ``(i) In general.--The Bank shall be under 
                        the direction of a Board of Directors.
                            ``(ii) Membership.--The Board shall consist 
                        of 8 members, as follows:
                                    ``(I) The Secretary of the Energy 
                                or his designee.
                                    ``(II) The Secretary of the 
                                Treasury or his designee.
                                    ``(III) The Secretary of the 
                                Interior or his designee.
                                    ``(IV) The Secretary of Agriculture 
                                or his designee.
                                    ``(V) Four members appointed by the 
                                President of the United States 
                                including a Chief Executive Officer, 1 
                                member with expertise regarding 
                                renewable energy, 1 member with 
                                expertise regarding electric utilities, 
                                and 1 member with expertise regarding 
                                consumer affairs.
                            ``(iii) Quorum.--5 members of the Board 
                        shall constitute a quorum.
                            ``(iv) Bylaws.--The Board shall adopt, and 
                        may amend, such bylaws as are necessary for the 
                        proper management and functioning of the Bank, 
                        and shall, in such bylaws, designate the vice-
                        presidents and other officers of the Bank and 
                        prescribe their duties.
                            ``(v) Terms.--The initial terms of the 
                        members of the Board shall be 4 years. For 
                        terms beginning after the first 4 years 
                        following the date of the enactment of this 
                        section, the Board shall create staggered terms 
                        of 2, 3, and 4 years for members of the Board.
                            ``(vi) Vacancies.--Any vacancy on the Board 
                        shall be filled in the same manner in which the 
                        original appointment was made.
                            ``(vii) Interim appointments.--Any member 
                        appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before 
                        the expiration of the term for which such 
                        member's predecessor was appointed shall be 
                        appointed only for the remainder of such term.
                            ``(viii) Reappointment.--Members of the 
                        Board may be reappointed for additional terms 
                        of service as members of the Board.
                            ``(ix) Continuation of service.--Any member 
                        of the Board whose term has expired may 
                        continue to serve on the Board until the 
                        earlier of--
                                    ``(I) the date on which such 
                                member's successor is appointed; or
                                    ``(II) the end of the 6-month 
                                period beginning on the date such 
                                member's term expires.
                            ``(x) Chairman.--The Board shall select a 
                        Chairman from among its members.
                    ``(B) Executive vice-president.--The Chief 
                Executive Officer shall appoint an Executive Vice-
                President who--
                            ``(i) shall serve as Chief Executive 
                        Officer of the Bank during the absence or 
                        disability of, or in the event of a vacancy in 
                        the office, of Chief Executive Officer; and
                            ``(ii) shall at other times perform such 
                        functions as the Chief Executive Officer may 
                        prescribe.
                    ``(C) Policies and procedures.--At the request of 
                any 2 members of the Board, the Chairman shall place an 
                item pertaining to the policies or procedures of the 
                Bank on the agenda for discussion by the Board. Not 
                later than 30 days after the date such a request is 
                made, the Chairman shall hold a meeting of the Board at 
                which such item shall be discussed.
                    ``(D) Conflicts of interest.--No director, officer, 
                attorney, agent, or employee of the Bank shall in any 
                manner, directly or indirectly, participate in the 
                deliberation upon, or the determination of, any 
                question affecting such individual's personal 
                interests, or the interests of any corporation, 
                partnership, or association in which such individual is 
                directly or indirectly personally interested.
            ``(5) Hiring and contracting authority.--
                    ``(A) Contracting.--The Bank may employ or 
                otherwise contract with banks, credit agencies, 
                attorneys, and other third parties at customary 
                commercial rates.
                    ``(B) Hiring.--Notwithstanding any otherwise 
                applicable Federal rules and regulations, the Bank may 
                employ and otherwise contract with employees and 
                provide compensation to such employees at prevailing 
                rates for compensation for similar positions in private 
                industry.
            ``(6) Sunset.--
                    ``(A) Expiration of charter.--The Bank shall 
                continue to exercise its functions until all 
                obligations and commitments of the Bank are discharged, 
                even after its charter has expired.
                    ``(B) Prior obligations.--No provisions of this 
                subsection shall be construed as preventing the Bank 
                from--
                            ``(i) acquiring obligations prior to the 
                        date of the expiration of its charter which 
                        mature subsequent to such date;
                            ``(ii) assuming, prior to the date of the 
                        expiration of its charter, liability as 
                        guarantor, endorser, or acceptor of obligations 
                        which mature subsequent to such date;
                            ``(iii) issuing, prior or subsequent to the 
                        date of the expiration of its charter, for 
                        purchase by the Secretary of the Treasury or 
                        any other purchasers, its notes, debentures, 
                        bonds, or other obligations which mature 
                        subsequent to such date; or
                            ``(iv) continuing as a corporation and 
                        exercising any of its functions subsequent to 
                        the date of the expiration of its charter for 
                        purposes of orderly liquidation, including the 
                        administration of its assets and the collection 
                        of any obligations held by the Bank.
    ``(e) Lending, Financing, Expenditures.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Bank shall establish a program to 
        provide on a competitive basis loans, loan guarantees, debt 
        securitization, insurance, portfolio insurance, and other forms 
        of financing support or risk management, as the Bank determines 
        appropriate, for any qualifying clean energy project or 
        qualifying energy efficiency project.
            ``(2) Guaranteed.--Loan guarantees provided by the Bank 
        shall be guaranteed by the United States.
            ``(3) Requirements.--The Bank may only provide financing 
        support (including loans, loan guarantees, debt securitization, 
        insurance, portfolio insurance, and other forms of financing 
        support or risk management under paragraph (1)) if--
                    ``(A) such support is commercially reasonable and 
                does not exceed 80 percent of the capitalization of the 
                qualified clean energy project or qualified energy 
                efficiency project;
                    ``(B) is secured by the underlying project or such 
                other collateral as the Chief Executive Officer of the 
                Bank determines appropriate; and
                    ``(C) in the judgment of the Chief Executive 
                Officer--
                            ``(i) the private credit market is not 
                        providing adequately low-priced financing to 
                        enable otherwise credit worthy entities to 
                        carry out qualified clean energy projects and 
                        qualified energy efficiency projects;
                            ``(ii) such financing support would 
                        facilitate construction or expansion of a 
                        qualified clean energy project or qualified 
                        energy efficiency project at an accelerated 
                        rate; and
                            ``(iii) such financing support would 
                        stimulate, aid, or otherwise support domestic 
                        manufacturing of finished products or component 
                        parts used in clean energy projects or energy 
                        efficiency projects.
            ``(4) Financing activities.--The Bank may facilitate 
        financing transactions in tax equity markets and long-term 
        purchasing of clean energy by governmental and non-governmental 
        not-for-profit entities, to the degree and extent that the Bank 
        determines such financing activity is appropriate and 
        consistent with carrying out the terms of this section.
            ``(5) Trusts.--The Bank is authorized to create, accept, 
        execute, and otherwise administer in all respects trusts, 
        receiverships, conservatorships, liquidating or other agencies, 
        or other fiduciary and representative undertakings and 
        activities, as appropriate for financing purposes. Instruments 
        issued by the Bank pursuant to this section are, to the same 
        extent as securities which are direct obligations of or 
        obligations guaranteed as to principal or interest by the 
        United States, exempt securities within the meaning of laws 
        administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
            ``(6) Fees.--The Bank shall assess reasonable fees on its 
        activities, including loans, loan guarantees, insurance, 
        portfolio insurance, and other forms of financing support or 
        risk management it provides so as to cover its reasonable costs 
        and expenses, as determined by the Board, provided the Bank 
        operates as a not-for-profit entity.
            ``(7) Environmental review.--In providing any financing 
        support under this section, the Bank may, with the concurrence 
        of the Council on Environmental Quality, adopt by reference and 
        rely on any applicable categorical exclusion or environmental 
        review promulgated by any other Federal Agency pursuant to the 
        National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (Public Law 91-190).
            ``(8) Immunity from impairment, limitation, or 
        restriction.--
                    ``(A) In general.--All rights and remedies of the 
                Bank shall be immune from impairment, limitation, or 
                restrictions by or under--
                            ``(i) any law (other than a law enacted by 
                        Congress expressly in limitation of this 
                        paragraph) that becomes effective after the 
                        acquisition by the Bank of the subject or 
                        property on, under, or with respect to which 
                        the right or remedy arises or exists or would 
                        so arise or exist in the absence of the law; or
                            ``(ii) any administrative or other action 
                        that becomes effective after the acquisition.
                    ``(B) State law.--The Bank may conduct its business 
                without regard to any qualification or law of any State 
                relating to incorporation.
            ``(9) Taxation.--
                    ``(A) In general.--Subject to subparagraph (B), the 
                Bank (including its activities, capital, reserves, 
                surplus and income) shall be exempt from all taxation 
                imposed by any State or local political subdivision of 
                a State.
                    ``(B) Real property.--Any real property of the Bank 
                shall be subject to taxation by a State or political 
                subdivision of a State to the same extent according to 
                the value of the real property as other real property 
                is taxed.
            ``(10) Power to remove; jurisdiction.--Notwithstanding any 
        other provision of law, any civil action, suit, or proceeding 
        to which the Bank is a party shall be deemed to arise under the 
        laws of the United States, and the United States district 
        courts shall have original jurisdiction. The Bank may, without 
        bond or security, remove any such action, suit, or proceeding 
        from a State court to a United States district court or to the 
        United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
            ``(11) Spending safeguards.--
                    ``(A) In general.--The Chief Executive Officer of 
                the Bank--
                            ``(i) shall require any entity receiving 
                        financing support (including a loan, loan 
                        guarantee, debt securitization, insurance, 
                        portfolio insurance, and other forms of 
                        financing support or risk management) pursuant 
                        to this section to report quarterly, in a 
                        format specified by the Chief Executive 
                        Officer, on such entity's use of such support 
                        and its progress fulfilling the objectives for 
                        which such support was granted, and the Chief 
                        Executive Officer shall make these reports 
                        available to the public;
                            ``(ii) may establish additional reporting 
                        and information requirements for any recipient 
                        of financing support made available pursuant to 
                        this section;
                            ``(iii) shall establish appropriate 
                        mechanisms to ensure appropriate use and 
                        compliance with all terms of any financing 
                        support made available pursuant to this 
                        section;
                            ``(iv) may, in addition to and consistent 
                        with any other authority under applicable law, 
                        deobligate financing support made available 
                        pursuant to this section to entities that 
                        demonstrate an insufficient level of 
                        performance, or wasteful or fraudulent 
                        spending, as defined in advance by the Chief 
                        Executive Officer, and award these funds 
                        competitively to new or existing applicants 
                        consistent with this section;
                            ``(v) shall create and maintain a fully 
                        searchable database, accessible on the Internet 
                        (or successor protocol) at no cost to the 
                        public, that contains at least--
                                    ``(I) a list of each entity that 
                                has applied for a loan, loan guarantee, 
                                insurance, portfolio insurance, or 
                                other forms of financing support or 
                                risk management under this section;
                                    ``(II) a description of each 
                                application;
                                    ``(III) the status of each such 
                                application;
                                    ``(IV) the name of each entity 
                                receiving funds made available pursuant 
                                to this section;
                                    ``(V) the purpose for which such 
                                entity is receiving such funds;
                                    ``(VI) each quarterly report 
                                submitted by the entity pursuant to 
                                this section; and
                                    ``(VII) such other information 
                                sufficient to allow the public to 
                                understand and monitor loans, loan 
                                guarantees, insurance, portfolio 
                                insurance, and other forms of financing 
                                support or risk management provided 
                                under this section;
                            ``(vi) to the extent practicable, data 
                        maintained under clause (v) shall be used to 
                        inform private capital markets, including the 
                        development of underwriting standards for the 
                        financing of clean energy projects and energy 
                        efficiency projects;
                            ``(vii) shall make all financing 
                        transactions available for public inspection, 
                        including formal annual reviews by both a 
                        private auditor and the Comptroller General; 
                        and
                            ``(viii) shall at all times be available to 
                        receive public comment in writing on the 
                        activities of the Bank.
                    ``(B) Protection of confidential business 
                information.--To the extent necessary and appropriate, 
                the Chief Executive Officer may redact any information 
                regarding applicants and borrowers to protect 
                confidential business information.''.

SEC. 3. CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

    (a) Tax Exempt Status.--Subsection (l) of section 501 of the 
Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the 
following:
                    ``(4) The Green Bank established under section 9801 
                of title 31, United States Code.''.
    (b) Wholly Owned Government Corporation.--Paragraph (3) of section 
9101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end 
the following:
                    ``(S) the Green Bank.''.
    (c) Clerical Amendments.--
            (1) The table of sections for chapter 31 of title 31, 
        United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item 
        relating to section 3102 the following new item:

``3102A. Green bonds.''.
            (2) The table of chapters for subtitle VI of title 31, 
        United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the 
        following new item:

``98. Green Bank............................................    9801''.
                                 <all>

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