House Republicans, Ignoring Climate Realities, Push Through Giveaway to Corporate Polluters
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, House Republicans voted to weaken the United States’ leadership on climate and roll back the progress our country has made in energy efficiency and clean energy. H.R. 8, the deceptively named “North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015,” aims to bolster the fossil fuel industry at a time when America should be focusing on developing a comprehensive energy policy that drives the development of new technologies and advances clean and renewable energy sources.
On the House floor, Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) warned that, “H.R. 8 has one central theme binding its titles: an unerring devotion to the energy of the past. Provision after provision favors an energy policy dominated by fossil fuels and unnecessary energy use. It is the Republican Party’s 19th century vision for the future of U.S. energy policy in the 21st century.”
Instead of working to pass responsible, bipartisan legislation, House Republicans insisted on forcing through a backwards bill that shields corporate polluters and dismantles current environmental protections. The bill contains multiple provisions that would alter or undermine existing laws designed to promote efficiency, and protect the environment, public health, and welfare. A summary of H.R. 8, describing its compilation of outdated energy policies on natural gas pipeline siting, electricity regulation, energy efficiency, building codes, and more, is available here.
Republicans also refused to accept an amendment offered by Ranking Member Pallone that would require the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to evaluate the short and long-term impacts of the bill on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in the same way the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determines the fiscal impacts of bill. Pallone argued that a “Climate Pollution Score” is a necessary step to understanding the bill’s overall impact on public health and the environment.
“It is critical that that any legislation focused on developing U.S. energy policy put the country on the right path to reduce carbon pollution, not increase it,” said Pallone. “The American people have a right to know if we are helping to address climate change here in Congress or simply making the problem worse.”
Republicans even struck an entire provision of the bill, the 21st Century Workforce initiative, developed by Energy and Power Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) that created a new program at the Department of Energy (DOE) to help minorities, women and veterans find work and build careers in the energy industry. The provision, which was praised by Republicans throughout the Committee process, was deleted by the Committee Chairman on the House floor.
As the world gathers in Paris to take meaningful action on climate change, House Republicans’ instead continued to bury their heads in the sand today, voting against a motion offered by Democrats that stated that our world’s climate crisis is real and advancing a bill that drags our country’s energy policy into the past.