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Pallone Opening Remarks at First Legislative Hearing on the CLEAN Future Act

Mar 18, 2021
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) had the following opening remarks as prepared for delivery today at an Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee legislative hearing titled, “The CLEAN Future Act: Industrial Climate Policies to Create Jobs and Support Working Communities:”

Today we are holding our first legislative hearing on H.R. 1512, the CLEAN Future Act, our comprehensive and ambitious legislation to combat the climate crisis and achieve a 100 percent clean economy by no later than 2050.

The CLEAN Future Act is the product of nearly 30 hearings and countless ideas and recommendations from Members and stakeholders.  

At the heart of our bill is a commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas pollution no later than 2050, with an interim goal of reducing pollution by 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Science is the impetus for our goals.  

The climate crisis presents one of our greatest challenges, but it also presents one of our greatest opportunities. Today’s hearing will examine CLEAN Future Act provisions that seize the opportunity to use climate action to create jobs and support working communities.  

First, the Federal Buy Clean Program would steadily reduce emissions from construction materials and products used in federally funded projects. This innovative program leverages government funding and procurement power to fundamentally transform and strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector, all while reducing climate pollution by promoting and expanding the market for cleaner materials.

Next, the first-of-its-kind Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator would help states, communities, and companies transition to a clean economy. Capitalized with $100 billion, the Accelerator will mobilize public and private investment to provide financing for a suite of climate-focused projects and the development of state and local green banks where they do not yet exist. 

Finally, the Worker and Community Transition title ensures every worker and community has federal-level support and resources during the nation’s transition to a clean economy.

The legislation creates a new Office of Energy and Economic Transition in the Executive Office of the President. The Office will develop programs to support dislocated workers and provide financial assistance to local governments – including by replacing lost revenue due to the closure of a major employer. This assistance, coupled with the bill’s infrastructure investments, will support economic development and diversification for all affected communities.

Collectively, these three provisions provide new opportunities to decarbonize the industrial sector while bolstering our economy.

It’s also important to recognize that pathways to industrial decarbonization already exist. We have many technologies and programs available now that, with meaningful funding and wider deployment, would drive industrial sector improvements.

Just today, EPA announced that 95 manufacturing plants earned Energy Star certification in 2020 for being among the most energy-efficient plants in industries like automotive, baking, cement, food processing, pharmaceutical, and fertilizer manufacturing. These plants saved nearly $400 million on energy bills and prevented over five million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.  

Energy efficiency is a crucial decarbonization strategy for the industrial sector, and the Energy Star Industrial Program will help us reach our clean economy goals. The popularity, trust, and proven track record of Energy Star is why we used it as a model for the “Climate Star” labeling program in the legislation.  

I believe these and other climate policies in the CLEAN Future Act will empower American workers with new, good-paying jobs, and ensure we do not fall behind our global competitors. They will revitalize our communities with the support they need to rebuild from the pandemic and ensure a just transition, leaving no one behind.  

Climate policies can also decarbonize the industrial sector while supporting competitiveness of domestic manufacturing.

We must use this opportunity to ensure that the economy works for everyone and supports a safe, healthy environment for generations to come. I look forward to hearing recommendations from our witnesses today and from my colleagues in the coming weeks.