Energy Bill Needs to Include Climate Impact – EDFAction

Statement of EDFAction President Elizabeth Thompson

January 27, 2016
Keith Gaby,, (202) 572-3336

“Today the US Senate begins considering a bipartisan energy package (S. 2012) developed by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA).  Ten years have passed since the Senate officially recognized the need to pass legislation to slow, stop and reverse the growth of climate pollution. Almost nine years have passed since the last major energy bill was enacted.

“The Senate is pursuing energy legislation without the benefit of a congressional plan to reduce climate pollution. Coal, oil and natural gas emissions are responsible for 84 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions which makes energy legislation an essential component of the nation’s climate strategy.

“Passing an energy bill while ignoring climate change is like passing a budget bill without knowing whether it adds to the deficit.  Without information on climate impacts and a plan to address those impacts, Congress will deliver an energy bill that could do as much harm as good.

“A responsible energy bill would include a clear goal of reforming energy policies to make it easier to innovate and achieve the nation’s climate goals.  Policies that modernize our electricity grid, improve efficiency, and increase the development and deployment of clean energy can all help ensure that the country toward its pollution reduction goals.  But even with these positive policies, we don’t know how many handouts may be stuffed into the bill at the request of fossil fuel industries as this moves through Congress.

“Members of Congress and the public have a right to know the impact of the legislation on climate pollution before members vote on the bill. Right now, we don’t have that. We have little idea whether the bill being considered by the Senate will make climate pollution levels go up or down.

“Those senators who agree that climate science requires action now to slow the rate of global warming should commit to supporting only those amendments that reduce climate pollution from energy. EDF is disappointed that in the months since the bill passed out of committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Chair did not have the bill scored for its climate pollution impacts so members could make an informed vote.  Climate pollution scoring should be required of all energy bills before they are voted on.”

– EDFAction President Elizabeth Thompson