8.12.2019 Legislative Brief
The New Democrat Coalition Releases Climate Plan AUGUST 7 — A group of moderate Democrats announced a plan, seen as an alternative to the Green New Deal, to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 “at the latest” by utilizing carbon pricing and market-based solutions. The plan emphasizes bipartisanship and would be supportive of technologies like carbon capture and even nuclear power development.
Senate Democrats Urge Car Manufacturers to Reduce Emissions AUGUST 6 — 30 Democratic senators, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), signed a letter urging automakers to pledge to reduce their carbon emissions. Many contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination signed onto the letter. This comes in response to the Trump administration’s planned rollback of gas-mileage standards.
Department of Energy Moves Ahead on Nuclear Test Reactor AUGUST 6 — The Department of Energy will prepare an environmental impact statement by 2025 regarding a versatile nuclear test reactor. The Department scouted both Idaho and Tennessee as possible site locations. According to POLITICO Pro, the project’s goal is “to establish a safer and more secure nuclear power industry.”
Senate EPW Committee Marks Up Highway Reauthorization Bill JULY 30 — The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously advanced a transportation bill that would reauthorize infrastructure programs, mainly those involving road and bridge repair. The legislation includes carbon capture legislation drawn from the USE IT Act as well as other climate-related provisions to reduce emissions.
Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate Climate JULY 31 — In the second set of Democratic Presidential debates, candidates spoke about their plans to address climate change. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) notably said, “Nobody should get applause for rejoining the Paris Climate Accords.” Many candidates have either endorsed the Green New Deal or called for their own version of extensive action on the issue.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Harris Team Up For Climate Legislation JULY 31 — In a discussion draft of the Climate Equity Act, Ocasio-Cortez and Harris outlined a plan to, among other measures, establish a Climate Equity Office to demonstrate how climate change would affect “front-line” communities, including minority or low-income populations. The Hill portrayed the legislation as the “first step of the Green New Deal.”
Enhancing Geothermal Production on Federal Lands Act
What to Know: This legislation would streamline regulations for geothermal energy production on public lands, including a measure to allow geothermal production on lands that already allow oil and gas production. Read more about the bill here.
Sponsors & Co-Sponsors: Senator James Risch (R-ID) and Representative Russ Fulcher (R-ID)
Important Dates: Introduced to the House and Senate and referred to committees on July 25, 2019