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Pallone Floor Remarks on the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act

Sep 23, 2020
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor today in support of H.R. 4447, the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act:

Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act. This bill is a comprehensive package that will spur clean energy innovation, electrify our transportation sector, make homes and businesses more energy efficient and modernize our electric grid.

The Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act presents practical and achievable clean energy policies that are possible for us to achieve this year. This legislation lays the groundwork for important and comprehensive future climate policy.

The main goal of this energy package is to move provisions we believe have a shot at becoming law this Congress after negotiations with the Senate. Senators Murkowski and Manchin, who lead the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee have been working on their own energy package.

H.R. 4447 sets new energy efficiency standards for buildings and funds grants to local communities for more efficient schools, homes and municipal buildings. This is an inexpensive way to save energy and reduce electricity bills for homeowners and businesses, and it has broad support.

This legislation also supports the development and deployment of clean, renewable, and distributed resources, like solar and wind energy, which are crucial to reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. It also supports the transmission projects needed to move clean energy around the country.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the clean energy sector was booming. Last year, clean energy jobs grew at twice the rate of overall jobs, and as of January, more than three million Americans were employed in these jobs. It is critical that the clean energy industry recover with this same momentum to secure America’s clean energy leadership. 

These investments will result in new, good paying American jobs all across the country. Every million dollars invested in clean energy and energy efficiency produces seven to eight jobs — that’s roughly three times as many as investment in fossil fuels.

The transition to a clean energy future also depends upon upgrading our transportation infrastructure to support and encourage the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). This legislation invests more than $36 billion to help speed up the electrification of our transportation sector and make EVs an option for more communities. It also authorizes funding for clean school buses, electric vehicle charging equipment and other zero emission vehicle programs.

This legislation also addresses environmental justice by establishing and reauthorizing grant programs for impacted communities to better participate in the environmental decisions in their backyards. It also increases information sharing so communities can be better informed about the risks in their neighborhoods. And it updates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to increase opportunities for legal relief. This is a critical start to addressing the disproportionate burden faced by environmental justice communities around the nation.

Finally, this legislation includes a critical bipartisan provision that phases out the use of hydrofluorocarbons, a super pollutant. It has strong support on both sides of the aisle, including environmental and public health groups, the entire heating and cooling industry, and the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. It is one of the most impactful steps we can take now to create manufacturing jobs and boost our competitiveness, all while protecting our environment. 

I want to close by thanking Energy Subcommittee Chairman Rush for his leadership in moving many of the bills included in this package through the Energy and Commerce Committee — many with strong, bipartisan support. I would also like to thank Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and Chairman Grijalva for their critical contributions to this package, and Representative O’Halleran for being the bill’s lead sponsor.

Madam Speaker, I encourage all my colleagues to support this legislation that will modernize our energy system, create jobs and take positive steps towards addressing the climate crisis.