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Walden: This Bill Ignores the Priorities of Rural Americans


09.23.20

Washington, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) spoke on the House Floor today to share his opposition to the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, H.R. 4447.

As Prepared For Delivery

I rise in opposition to H.R. 4447. This bill does not do what is required to rebound our economy and drive clean innovation the American way.

The key to expanding clean energy and creating prosperous jobs in America is to reduce the barriers to building infrastructure and to deploying innovative new technologies that will ensure reliable, affordable energy for the economy.

This will produce the economic rebound and growth we all want—growth that maintains environmental standards, creates economic opportunities for the poor and disadvantaged, and generates the resources for communities and families to prepare for the future.

In recent years, Republicans have led successful efforts to enact laws that enable more rapid licensing of hydropower, more seamless delivery and export of clean-burning natural gas, increase private sector use of carbon capture technologies, and streamline licensing to enable advanced nuclear energy.

Good for the economy, good for the planet.

You won’t hear it from the radical left, but the United States has been leading the world in carbon reductions. It shows the largest absolute decline in emissions of all countries since 2000—more than Britain, France, Germany, and Canada combined.

The U.S. continues to improve its air quality, for all communities. Particulate matter pollution is down 25% to 44% in urban areas around the nation since 2007—tremendous news for disadvantaged communities.

All this while the United States has reemerged as an energy superpower on top of the economic boom of the shale revolution.

Our job today is to build upon, not destroy, this good fortune; and there is more to do.

In this Congress, my Energy and Commerce Republican colleagues have introduced a number of bills to encourage investment in infrastructure, remove more regulatory barriers to permitting and licensing, to ensure affordable, reliable energy and to expand access to clean energy, promote nuclear innovation, protect natural gas resources.

None of the amendments based upon these reforms were made in order for H.R. 4447. And that is a problem.

You do not achieve a prosperous economy and advance clean energy innovations without removing the barriers to building and deploying the technology.

And you certainly don’t achieve this by focusing instead on enacting more than $135 billion in new federal spending authority; scores of new federal subsidy programs; new regulations to delay siting and building; raising electricity rates; and increasing the costs of new homes and infrastructure.

Yet that is what this 900-page plus bill does. Sure, there are some bipartisan provisions, but that does not make this a workable bill for the American public.

Taken together, provisions in this bill will undermine any efforts to expand infrastructure or build the innovations.

The bill ignores the priorities of rural Americans, whose reliance on affordable energy is critical to their productivity and livelihoods. Instead, this bill gives billions for city-oriented green energy and efficiency programs, nearly $50 billion in spending and mandates to drive a transformation toward electric vehicles that are sure to drive up electricity rates and transportation costs.

Most troubling are new provisions concerning NEPA and other reviews seeded throughout the bill. These are sure to lead to delay and litigation on permitting, siting, and licensing.

The bill introduces, without any Committee review, new private causes of action that are sure to benefit trial lawyers at the expense of ordinary Americans seeking more prosperous jobs and opportunity.

All of this will keep investment sidelined and any projects funded in the bill on the lab table.

This is not energy policy. This is big government. We should not support this bill.


Subcommittees
Energy · Energy (116th Congress)
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