U.S. Senate Passes Climate, Energy Bill; Now on To U.S. House For A Vote

GUEST POST: David E. Hess / PA Environment Digest / August 7, 2022

On August 7, the U.S. Senate passed compromised legislation that would make the largest federal investment– $375 billion– in climate change fighting strategies, including investments in renewable energy production, tax rebates for consumers for energy efficiency and electric vehicles and more.

Republicans voted against the bill.

The bill now moves to the U.S. House where a vote is expected by the end of the week.

Key provisions include–

— Clean Energy Investments: $30 billion for solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, geothermal plants and advanced nuclear reactors, including tax credits over 10 years. Replaces short-term wind and solar credits

— Carbon capture and storage tax credit of $85 per metric ton, up from $50

— Clean Energy Bank: $27 billion for ‘green bank’ to support clean energy projects particularly in disadvantaged communities.

— Farm Aid: $20 billion to cut emissions in the agriculture sector, including includes $8.45 billion for EQIP, $6.75 billion for the RCPP, $3.25 billion for the CSP, $1.4 billion for the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and $1 billion for conservation technical assistance. 

— Energy Efficiency: $9 billion in rebates for Americans buying and retrofitting homes with energy-efficient and electric appliances.

— Aid For Low-Income Communities: $60 billion to support low-income communities and communities of color, includes grants for zero-emissions technology and vehicles, highway pollution mitigation, bus depots and other infrastructure located near disadvantaged communities

— Clean Energy Manufacturing: $10 billion in investment tax credits to build manufacturing facilities that make electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies

— Electric Vehicle Tax Credits: Tax credit of up to $7,500 for the purchase of new clean vehicles, and offers for the first time a credit of $4,000 for used electric vehicles for households with maximum income of $150,000 a year

— Natural Gas Leak Fees: $900 per metric ton of methane emissions that exceed federal limits in 2024, rising to $1,500 per metric ton in 2026

Reaction

The Evangelical Environmental Network issued this statement on the U.S. Senate vote–

“Today, we celebrate with the majority of Americans and the world that the United States is again assuming its leadership responsibility to address the climate crisis. 

“As the premier medical journal The Lancet states, “Climate change is the greatest global health threat facing the world in the 21st century, but it is also the greatest opportunity to redefine the social and environmental determinants of health.” At the Evangelical Environmental Network, we couldn’t agree more.

“Extreme weather, fossil fuel pollution, increased vector-borne diseases, and food and water scarcity fueled by climate change threaten every child of God, both here in the United States and throughout the farthest corners of the world. 

“Yet with the Senate’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the hope for a quick passage in the House of Representatives, the United States is now decisively moving the most transformative piece of climate and clean energy legislation in American history. 

“While the IRA is not a silver bullet, it is a giant leap forward for humanity and for all God’s creation.

“The Inflation Reduction Act provides $369 billion to act on climate, secure a clean energy future, and make clean energy more accessible to all Americans through tax credits and other provisions. 

“These investments will reduce inflation, lower household and business energy bills (Figure 1), reduce the federal deficit by nearly $2 trillion over two decades (Figure 2), all while achieving an estimated 35-42% reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2030 (Figure 3). 

“The IRA not only means cleaner air and a safer climate for our children and communities as it kickstarts the transition to a lower carbon economy, it also advances the overall wellbeing of American households by keeping taxes on middle- and lower-income families the same while delivering significant health care benefits and lowering costs. 

“The IRA also stands to revitalize our communities by jumpstarting American manufacturing and creating as many as 9 million new family-sustaining jobs over the next decade.

“The Inflation Reduction Act, the previously passed bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the recently passed bipartisan Chips and Science Act are a dynamic trio that will propel American energy and job creation into the next century. 

“Together, these policies set the stage for every community across America to thrive in the 21st century — from urban cities and former fossil fuel towns to America’s abundant rural and farming communities. 

“With these bills, there is hope for a bright and healthy future that we can be proud to pass down to our children and grandchildren where every American can experience abundant life. 

“A future free from the air pollution that cuts short lives and damages the lungs, hearts, and brains of our children and the most vulnerable. 

“A future of reinvestment in frontline communities forced to endure redlining and other racist policies. 

“A future of hope for coal mining communities who subsidized America’s addiction to fossil fuels with their health and their very lives.

“The IRA, however, must be only the beginning; we need to do much more. 

“We celebrate this historic start and thank President Biden for his leadership as well as Majority Leader Schumer and Senators Manchin, Wyden, Carper, Stabenow, Hickenlooper, and Coons, their staff, and everyone who has worked to bring our country to this point. 

“EEN will continue to work to do even more to secure a safe and healthy future for our children and for God’s creation.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Federal Executive Director Denise Stranko issued this statement:

“Today we have cleared a major hurdle in securing urgently needed USDA funds to reduce farm runoff into the Bay and the local rivers and streams that feed into it. 

“Farmers in the region have less than four years left to adopt conservation practices to achieve most of the pollution cuts still needed to restore the Bay and its waterways. Many are eager to do so but lack the financial or technical resources.  

“Another $20 billion for conservation programs would enable USDA to make transformative investments in helping farmers do their part to save the Bay and reduce greenhouse gases with practices that also improve soil health, boost the local economy, and increase their bottom line.

“CBF deeply appreciates the tireless efforts of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to get this game-changing legislation through the Senate. 

“We also thank Bay state Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Joe Manchin (D-Va.) for supporting this bill. 

“We urge the House to follow suit quickly so we can put these funds to work while we still have time.”

Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania Executive Director Molly Parzen issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act–  

“The Senate has taken a massive step forward in the fight against climate change by approving the Inflation Reduction Act. 

“This landmark legislation will invest hundreds of billions of dollars to create a 21st century clean energy economy while creating family-sustaining union jobs, expanding economic opportunities for communities of color and low-income neighborhoods and helping to provide long-term energy security in the face of rising global threats, like Russia. 

“We want to thank Sen. Bob Casey for his tremendous leadership in the fight against climate change. We are now calling on every single member of Congress from Pennsylvania to support this legislation when it comes up for a vote in the House of Representatives in the coming days. 

“While more must be done, now is the time to seize this historic moment to build a more prosperous and sustainable future for Pennsylvania and our nation.” 

Resource Links:

— AP: What’s In U.S. Senate Compromise Climate, Energy Bill

— NYT: What’s In The U.S. Senate Climate, Energy Bill

— WSJ: What’s In The U.S. Senate Climate, Energy Bill

NewsClips:

— AP: U.S. Senate Approves Climate, Energy Bill; U.S. House Vote Next

— NYT: Senate Passes Climate, Energy, Tax Bill After Marathon Debate

— NPR: U.S. Senate Democrats Pass Major Climate, Energy Bill, Here’s What’s In It

— Inside Climate News: Deep In U.S. Senate Climate, Energy Bill, Analysts See More Wins For Clean Energy Than Gifts For Oil, Natural Gas 

Related NewsClips This Week:

— Wilkes-Barre Times Guest Essay: Key To Lower Energy Prices Is Renewable Energy & Storage – Sharon Pillar, PA Solar Center

— PennLive Guest Essay: Diversifying Our Energy Mix With More Renewable Energy Only Way PA Will Find True Energy Freedom – PA Solar Center

— TribLive Guest Essay: Time For Pennsylvania’s Real Energy Freedom – Sharon Pillar, PA Solar Center

— PennLive Letter: PA Needs To Invest In Renewable Energy Sources Now More Than Ever – Kathy Cook, PA League Of Women Voters

— TribLive Guest Essay: America’s Oil And Natural Gas Industry Unpatriotic – By Claudine Schneider, Fmr Republican Member Of Congress from Clairton

— Bloomberg: U.S. Natural Gas Prices Surge With Texas LNG Terminal Set For Fast Restart  [Brace For Even Higher Electricity Costs]

— Reuters: U.S. Natural Gas Prices Climb As Strong Exports To Europe Keep Inventories Below Pre-Pandemic Average

— Financial Times: Europe And Asia Intensify Battle To Secure Natural Gas Supplies Risking Further Surge In Prices 

— MarketPlace: Why Aren’t Oil Companies Drilling On Their 9,000 Federal Land Leases?

Related Articles This Week:

— Stroud Water Research Center Honors Dr. Michael E. Mann, Climate Scientist & Author, With 2022 Stroud Award For Freshwater Excellence  [PaEN]

— Sustainable Communities Network SW PA: PA Solar Center G.E.T. Solar Program; Community Energy Webinars; Sustainable PA Website  [PaEN]

— U.S. Dept. Of Energy Grant Will Support Field Test Of Next-Generation Energy Efficiency Retrofit System On Two Homes In Pittsburgh  ​​[PaEN]

Conventional Oil & Natural Gas Drilling: An Industrial Machine Moving Across The PA Countryside Leaving Behind Big Liabilities & Spreading Pollution Everywhere It Goes  [PaEN]

— Pennsylvania Eligible To Apply For Its 2nd $244.9 Million Federal Grant To Clean Up Abandoned Mines Under Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law  [PaEN]

— U.S. DOE Announces $32 Million In Funding To Develop New Monitoring Tech To Reduce Methane Emissions From Oil & Gas Wells

Republicans On House Committee Disapprove Final Reg. To Reduce VOC/Methane Emissions From Unconventional Oil & Gas Facilities Risking $500 Million In Federal Highway Funds  [PaEN]

— Evangelical Environmental Network Opposes House Resolution Disapproving Of Final Reg. Reducing VOC/Methane Emissions From Unconventional Oil & Gas Facilities  [PaEN]

— TribLive Guest Essay: EPA Must Address Natural Gas Leaks That Are Harming Our Children – By Kim Anderson, Evangelical Environmental Network  [PaEN]

— Environmental Health Project: Public Health Impacts Of Blue Hydrogen Production, Health, Environmental Protections Needed — By Alison L. Steele, Executive Director  [PaEN]

[Posted: August 7, 2022]  PA Environment Digest  |  Source

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