September 24, 2020

Casten, Huffman Statement on the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Sean Casten (IL-06) and Jared Huffman (CA-2) released the following statement on H.R. 4447, the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act. The legislation ?would provide funding for a wide variety of ?clean energy, grid modernization, and other programs. The package also includes two Casten-led bills, the bipartisan, bicameral Promoting Grid Storage Act and the Clean Industry Technology Act (CITA).

The members said, "Climate change is the existential challenge to our species, and we have spent much of our careers focusing on this crisis. H.R. 4447 is a step in the right direction and we're pleased this package includes legislation we have led -- the Promoting Grid Storage Act and the Clean Industrial Technology Act, and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement Tribal Fairness amendment. However, we are disappointed that the overall ambition of this bill is so small compared to the urgency of taking strong action to fight the climate crisis.

"We are also disappointed that the package includes over $1 billion to fund Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) which is at best, a costly distraction from solving the climate crisis and at worst a trojan horse for fossil fuel business as usual. We have long been outspoken about the problems with the economics of CCS technology and the fact that it is invariably paired with enhanced oil recovery. We have massive opportunities to profitably reduce greenhouse gas emissions using technologies that make energy cleaner, cheaper, and safer.

"As Churchill famously said, ‘The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences." We have a moral obligation to our grandchildren to leave them a stable climate. The 116th Congress has passed some legislation consistent with that obligation, but not nearly enough, and unfortunately the progress reflected in the passage of H.R. 4447 is partially offset by the backward step on CCS. We will do everything in our power to ensure that the 117th Congress meets the imperative of confronting the climate crisis with real solutions. We are out of time to settle for anything less."

The bipartisan, bicameral Promoting Grid Storage Act (introduced with U.S. Senator Tina Smith, (D-MN)?), would combat the climate crisis by boosting research and development of cutting-edge technologies to increase energy storage capabilities for America's electric grid and enable the expanded use of clean energy. The Clean Industrial Technology Act (CITA) would spur innovation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sources and make American companies more competitive in the global economy. The legislation passed out of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee in February.