New Democrat Coalition Statement on the Climate Wins Included in Omnibus Appropriations and Emergency Coronavirus Relief Legislation
This week, the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) secured important wins on climate and energy-related legislation in H.R. 133, the Omnibus Appropriations and Emergency Coronavirus Relief package, which passed the House of Representatives.
The package invests in our clean energy economy and will create high quality jobs. Several NDC-endorsed climate bills were included in this package, including policies to modernize our electricity grid and renewable energy storage, phase down hydrofluorocarbons, and expand research, development, demonstration, and deployment of renewable energy, advanced nuclear energy, and carbon capture:
- Rep. Ben McAdam’s H.R. 3597, the Solar Energy Research & Development Act
- This bill reauthorizes and expands a Department of Energy (DOE) program for research, development and demonstration of a range of solar energy technologies, including research on emerging technologies and market mechanisms to improve solar energy’s efficiency and affordability.
- Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson’s H.R. 4091, the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) Reauthorization Act
- This bill revises, reauthorizes, and expands the DOE’s ARPA-E through FY2024. The bill expands ARPA-E’s goals to include nuclear fuel management, cleanup, and disposal, and energy production, storage, and delivery resilience, reliability, and security.
- Rep. Sean Casten’s H.R. 4230 – The Clean Industrial Technology Act
- This bill directs the DOE to establish an industrial emissions reduction technology research, development, demonstration, and commercial application program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources and make American companies more competitive in the global economy.
- Rep. Elain Luria’s H.R. 3306, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act
- The bill to develop nationwide strategy for nuclear science and engineering, and advance the research, development, and deployment of advanced nuclear energy programs.
- Rep. Scott Peters’ H.R. 1166, the USE IT Act
- The bill authorizes competitive prize funding for direct air capture technology; allocates funding for research and development of technologies that transform captured carbon dioxide into commercial products; facilitates the construction and development of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration infrastructure projects; and promotes emerging net negative emissions technologies, including Direct Air Capture technology.
- Rep. Paul Tonko & Scott Peters’ H.R. 5544, the American Innovation and Manufacturing Leadership Act
- This bill phases down Hydrofluorocarbon production and use over 15 years, chemicals used in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration, and provides an orderly shift to next generation technologies, allowing exceptions for essential uses where no substitute is available.
- Rep. Bill Foster & Sean Casten’s H.R. 2986, the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act
- This bill directs the DOE to establish a research, development, and deployment program to improve energy grid resilience and reliability, make progress toward developing cost-effective sustainable energy storage systems, advance commercial use application, and more.
- Rep. Marc Veasey & Lizzie Fletcher’s H.R. 3607, the Fossil Energy Research and Development Act
- This bill reauthorizes and expands research, development, and demonstration of carbon capture technologies for power plants and industrial sources; authorizes R&D activities in carbon storage, carbon utilization, improvements in efficiency, and rare earth elements; launches new initiatives in carbon dioxide removal, waste gas utilization, and methane leak detection and mitigation; and expands R&D at the DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory.
“Climate change is an urgent problem that requires immediate action. The science is clear: we must get to net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, and we need to use every clean energy tool available to get there,” said NDC Chair Derek Kilmer. “This package is an important step to enacting a swift and just transition to a more sustainable planet. We look forward to advancing a comprehensive, bold climate agenda with the Biden-Harris administration next Congress.”
“We must invest in a clean energy economy to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis,” said NDC Vice Chair Scott Peters. “The USE IT Act I authored, passed as part of this legislation, will boost carbon capture to keep it from polluting our air. It also includes provisions to phase out HFCs which are a leading cause of climate change. Both of these help heal the planet, create green economy jobs and better enable us to compete globally.”
More on the FY21 appropriations omnibus, coronavirus relief provisions, and other priorities, including making health care more affordable, combatting climate change, and supporting American families.
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND ON THE NDC’S CLIMATE LEADERSHIP
The NDC has been a leader on climate change. These New Dem priorities help advance two key components of the NDC 20 for 2020 Policy Agenda, the “Lead Global Climate Action” and “Transition to a Climate-Forward Economy”.
In September, the House passed H.R. 4447, the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, which included provisions based on several NDC-endorsed bills. Additionally, the NDC endorsed its third slate of climate change bills to reposition the U.S. as a global leader on climate change, promote innovation, and foster community adaptation and resilience.
Earlier this year, the NDC, led by the NDC Climate Change Task Force Co-Chairs, sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer urging House consideration of NDC-endorsed bills that have already passed out of committee and were included in the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’s Congressional Climate Action Plan. Read the NDC’s Priorities for U.S. Climate Policy, one-pager, and the full list of New Dem-endorsed climate change legislation from the 116th Congress.
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