Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a clean energy bill that will make long-overdue reforms to U.S. energy policy and is a major step forward in addressing the growing climate crisis. The Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act (H.R. 4447) makes new investments in clean energy, improves the efficiency of our homes, schools, and businesses, modernizes outdated infrastructure, reduces our carbon footprint, and prioritizes environmental justice.
“Addressing the climate crisis, updating our crumbling infrastructure, and reigniting our economy are all connected, and this bill is a path towards collectively addressing these issues,” said Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01). “Too often America follows others on the world stage in renewable energy innovation and decreasing carbon emissions. Now it’s our turn to lead and set the standard for other nations.”
“We’re grateful to Congresswoman DelBene and her colleagues for this bill to fight climate change and improve lives by building a cleaner, more resilient, and more equitable economy,” said Mike Stevens, Washington state director for The Nature Conservancy. “Climate change is impacting Washington communities, especially in low-income areas and communities of color, where the COVID-19 pandemic and recession have also hit hardest. The Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act offers a step forward in transforming our energy systems while also addressing equity and workforce transition, which together can lead toward a healthier, brighter future for families and communities across our state.”
The Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act includes the following provisions:
- Authorizes over $4 billion for research and development to advance cutting-edge renewable energy technologies, including solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower.
- Invests in advanced nuclear energy.
- Establishes new energy storage system programs.
- Brings clean, reliable energy to marginalized communities, including $25 million in energy storage and microgrids in rural communities and $1 billion for solar installations in low-income communities.
- Enhances dam safety requirements and modernizes existing hydroelectric plants.
- Promotes additional renewable energy development on public lands.
- Sets new energy efficiency standards for buildings and provides funding for schools, homes, and commercial buildings to improve efficiency.
- Authorizes grants to local communities to improve energy efficiency, including $500 million for workforce training and $5 billion in rebates for home retrofits.
- Modernizes the electric grid through programs to improve reliability, enhance cybersecurity, protect critical infrastructure and supply chains, and improve transmission planning.
- Invests in grid-related research and development projects, including $3.5 billion for projects that harden the grid against the effects of climate change.
- Authorizes over $36 billion for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.
Reducing Carbon Pollution
- Invests in carbon capture technology, including direct air capture, to significantly reduce net emissions.
- Phases down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons by 85 percent over 15 years.
- Provides $1.25 billion to prevent methane leaks from the natural gas system and to offset rate increases for low-income communities.
- Prioritizes the needs of those on the frontlines of climate change, including low-income communities, communities of color, and other marginalized groups.
- Prioritizes clean energy projects located in low-income and marginalized communities.
- Creates new environmental justice grant and training programs to empower communities and reduce health disparities.
- Requires federal agencies to integrate environmental justice into their missions.
This bill contains several policy priorities of the New Democratic Coalition, where DelBene serves as the Vice Chair of Policy, further cementing the coalition as the forward-thinking thought leaders of the Democratic caucus.
A fact sheet on the bill can be found here and a section-by-section summary can be found here.