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Industry and Nonprofit Groups Urge Senate Support for 'Clean' Energy and Climate Bills

A number of industry trade associations plus some non-profit groups sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on October 3rd urging them to bring a list of “clean” energy and climate-related bills to the floor this fall. Signers include the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, Edison Electric Institute, and American Chemistry Council. Non-profit groups signing the letter include the Nature Conservancy, ClearPath Action, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Alliance to Save Energy, and American Council for Capital Formation.

The letter states:

Our diverse organizations recognize and agree that climate change is an important national priority that demands Congressional attention. While we may not agree on everything, we believe there is much common ground upon which all sides of the debate can come together to begin to address climate change, promote American technological leadership, and foster continued economic growth. In particular, there is a growing consensus that the development and commercialization of new technologies are an important factor that will determine how quickly and at what cost greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced.

The letter recommends that seven bills be brought to the Senate floor as part of a legislative package. The bills are: S. 383, the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act; S. 903, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act; S. 1201, the Enhancing Fossil Fuel Energy Carbon Technology Act; S. 1602, the Better Energy Storage Technology Act; S. 1685, the Launching Energy Advancement and Development through Innovations for Natural Gas Act; S. 2137, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act; and S. 2300, the Clean Industrial Technology Act.

Taken together, these bills would provide taxpayer funding and incentives for a number of special interests. No doubt, more rent-seeking measures can be added to the package before it gets to the floor and as amendments on the floor. Although some supporters of these and similar bills argue that they are preferable to the Green New Deal, the letter gives no indication that the bills are meant to be an alternative to carbon taxes or regulation, leading my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis to suggest that enacting them could actually grease the skids for future regulation.