Democratic leaders in the House last week introduced the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s Future Act (the CLEAN Future Act, or H.R. 1512), a nearly 1,000-page piece of climate change–focused legislation establishing, among other things, a federal clean electricity standard that targets a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
The bill, a draft version of which was released in January 2020, presents a sweeping set of policy proposals, both sector-specific and economy-wide, to meet those targets. The final version includes a number of significant revisions to bring the legislation into closer alignment with President Biden’s climate policy campaign pledges. For example, the bill’s clean electricity standard would require all retail electricity suppliers to provide 80 percent clean energy to consumers by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035. (A six-page fact sheet detailing the updates is available online.)
Introduced on March 2, H.R. 1512 was sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D., N.J.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, with cosponsors Reps. Paul Tonko (D., N.Y.), chairman of the committee’s Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee, and Bobby Rush (D., Ill.), chairman of the Energy Subcommittee. The measure has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.
Booster: “The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime, but it also presents one of the greatest opportunities to empower American workers with new, good paying jobs and return our economy to a position of strength after a long, dark year of historic job losses and pain,” Pallone said. “Today’s introduction of the CLEAN Future Act promises that we will not stand idly by as the rest of the world transitions to clean economies and our workers get left behind, and that we will not watch from the sidelines as the climate crisis wreaks havoc on Americans’ health and homes. This legislation will create millions of homegrown jobs in a climate-resilient economy, ensuring our workers and businesses can compete in the 21st century transition to clean technology that’s already happening.”
Basher: As expected, H.R. 1512 was not well received by Pallone et al.’s GOP counterparts. The Energy and Commerce Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), joined committee members Fred Upton (R., Mich.) and David McKinley (R., W.Va.) in a statement to voice their displeasure. “The Democrats announced their plan today to put a down payment on the Green New Deal,” they said. “It’s full of more mandates and regulations that will raise energy prices, export jobs overseas, and weaken our national security. Just like President Joe Biden’s executive orders, this rush to green with one-size-fits-all regulations will force California’s failed policies on the rest of the country and make us more reliant on critical mineral supplies from China. . . . Rather than threaten millions of jobs and hold back America’s economic recovery, we urge the majority to join us in a bipartisan way to unleash innovation, strengthen our supply chains, and capture all the advantages of our abundant resources, which include coal, hydropower, nuclear technologies, and clean natural gas.”