9.23.2019 Legislative Brief

News Update

Youth Activists, Including ACC’s Benji Backer, Testify Before House Committees SEPTEMBER 18 — ACC Founder and President Benji Backer joined youth climate activists Greta Thunberg, Jamie Margolin, and Vic Barrett to testify before the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment. Backer emphasized the importance of innovative, bipartisan solutions to the issue of climate change. During questioning, Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY) said, "You are part of a change that's going to make us all better."

Oil Prices Climb After Attack on Saudi Soil SEPTEMBER 14Attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend promptly caused a spike in oil prices and ignited a conversation about American dependence on foreign oil. Since the attack, oil prices have gradually stabilized, and Saudi officials say production will fully recover by the end of the month.

House Votes to Block ANWR Drilling Amidst Alaskan Legislators’ Protests SEPTEMBER 12 — In a 225-193 vote, the House voted to block drilling on the shoreline of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) after the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act mandates two lease sales in the area. Alaskan legislators collaborated on a piece in the Wall Street Journal to advocate for opening the area up to drilling.

Trump Administration Announces Further Repeal of WOTUS Rule SEPTEMBER 12 — The EPA and the U.S. Army will repeal a 2015 rule that expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” in the Clean Air Act. While environmental groups have spoken out against the announcement, the federal agencies say this repeal will return authority back to the states to care for bodies of water.

Rep. Francis Rooney Pens Op-Ed Urging Republicans to Act on Climate SEPTEMBER 11 — “I’m a conservative Republican and I believe climate change is real,” wrote Congressman Francis Rooney (R-FL) in an op-ed published by Politico. The piece urged congressional Republicans to speak up and propose solutions to climate challenges, or else they would be punished at the ballot box. Rep. Rooney introduced carbon pricing legislation, the SWAP Act, in late July.

EPA Will Phase Out Animal Testing by 2035 SEPTEMBER 10 — Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a plan to eliminate EPA-sponsored testing chemicals and pesticides on animals. The plan would reduce the practice by 30 percent in 2025 and completely eliminate it ten years later. The EPA will invest $4.25 million into researching alternative methods to test products.

Legislative Tracking

American Energy First Act

H.R. 4294

What to Know: This legislation would open the eastern Gulf of Mexico to drilling and require congressional approval of closing federal lands to drilling, which the sponsors say will promote energy abundance and affordability. The bill also includes a measure to establish “priority areas” for renewable energy. Critics of the bill cite dangers to marine life and question the decision to encourage more drilling.

Sponsors & Co-Sponsors: Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Rob Bishop (R-UT)

Important Dates: Introduced and referred to committees on September 11, 2019

ACC Legislative Team