Republicans offer details on environmental proposals after Democrats roll out plan
House Republicans offered new details about their plans for environmental legislation after Democrats rolled out their own sweeping proposal last week, though leadership said the move was not a response to the Democrats plan.
At a Thursday morning meeting first reported by The Hill, lawmakers pitched their colleagues on a variety of approaches that could be incorporated into the eventual package.
House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told The Hill that the proposals would build upon a legislative package already endorsed by the minority, ranging from “forestry ideas” to investing in new research and planting trees.
“This really I think sets the stage for our involvement not only in climate but other environmental related issues,” he said.
House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis ranking member Garret Graves (R-La.) told The Hill that at the meeting, Republicans discussed a mix of both old and new bills.
He said that a package, which could be released in the coming months, could include investing in research and development as well as efforts to make communities more resilient to the effects of climate change.
Thursday’s meeting follows the announcement of a broad package being developed by Democrats that requires 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050, a mandate that includes a clean energy credit trading system. The transportation sector would also have to be emissions free by 2050 through increasingly tight vehicle standards.
Buildings and industry would also be required to use materials from more eco-friendly sources and meet stricter building codes under the Democratic plan.
The Republican effort is being led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), whose office stressed in a Wednesday email to The Hill that it was not a response to the Democrats’ proposal.
“This is a policy conference to discuss how conservative solutions have been the greatest driver of emissions reductions in the world and how these principles are the road map for a cleaner environment here at home and around the globe,” McCarthy spokesman Matt Sparks said by email.
Graves told The Hill that at the meeting, GOP lawmakers also talked about “concerns related to some of the proposals that have been proffered on climate” by Democrats. He cited economic factors and possible reliance on foreign fuels.
Environmental advocates, however, criticized the Republican conference based on the party’s past record on the issues.
“Let’s get real: Congressional Republicans and Donald Trump just blocked a package of clean energy tax credits from being included in the year-end tax and budget deal,” Sierra Club global climate policy director John Coequyt said in a statement.
“That was a serious and limited solution they failed to support, but they are suddenly serious a few weeks later after decades of climate denial,” Coequyt added.
Rebecca Beitsch contributed.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.