Energy & Environment

House energy package sparks criticism from left and right

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Both Republicans and left-wing environmental groups criticized a sprawling House energy package billed as a response to climate change.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has said the chamber would vote this week on the legislation.

The package would funnel money toward research and development of a number of types of energy while promoting energy efficiency for homes, schools and other buildings.

Republicans on Wednesday knocked the speed at which the 900-page bill, which has not had a legislative hearing, is moving through the House and said it would harm consumers. 

Top Republicans on the chamber’s Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources, and Science, Space and Technology committees slammed the legislation. 

“Here we are in the middle of a global pandemic and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] wants to spend more than $135 billion on a piece of legislation that will never become law,” said Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Frank Lucas (R-Okla.). “If Democrats wanted to make real progress on clean energy, they wouldn’t have dropped a 900-page bill and called for a vote a week later, without any time for thoughtful consideration through regular order.”

“This bill is chock-full of government mandates that would raise what Americans pay for everything from the vehicles they drive to what they pay to heat, cool, and power their homes,” they added. 

Environmentalists criticized the inclusion of funding for research into a mechanism known as carbon capture and sequestration, which removes carbon from the air. Carbon capture is unpopular with some environmentalists because it’s often used in fossil fuel production.

And a coalition of more than 100 environmental and progressive groups, including and the Center for Biological Diversity, released a letter urging members of Congress to oppose the bill, citing its support for carbon capture. 

“Any benefits from the critical steps to support environmental justice in the proposed legislation are undermined by provisions encouraging carbon capture sequestration (CCS) and other false climate solutions that perpetuate our dependence on fossil fuels,” they wrote.

Hoyer defended the legislation, telling The Hill in a statement that it “takes important steps in addressing the climate crisis by investing in clean energy jobs, and based on an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, will not cost taxpayers anything.”

“There’s still much more work to be done to address the climate crisis. House Democrats are committed to this issue, and we will continue to pursue legislation that addresses this crisis,” he added. 

The bill would also fund research and development for solar, wind, advanced geothermal energy, hydroelectric power and carbon capture. 

It would also establish more rigorous building codes, expand the use of electric vehicles and add environmental claims to the Civil Rights Act. 

Tags Frank Lucas Greg Walden Rob Bishop Steny Hoyer
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