Innovation Bill Would Reduce Climate Pollution

EDF Statement from Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs

September 22, 2020
Keith Gaby, (202) 572-3336, kgaby@edf.org

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 22, 2020) This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will be considering the Clean Energy Jobs and Innovation Act. This House energy innovation package modernizes and bolsters funding authorizations for clean energy research and development programs – including solar energy, wind energy, energy storage, ARPA-E and other Department of Energy programs – for the first-time in over a decade. These science and technology advancements are crucial for scaling up solutions needed to address the climate crisis.

“The Clean Energy Jobs and Innovation Act will accelerate the science and technology development we need to tackle the climate crisis. Investment in American innovation also boosts America’s global competitiveness in the clean energy sector and creates jobs,” said Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President for Political Affairs at EDF.

This legislation, HR 4447, also includes an energy efficiency title that directs DOE to establish new model building codes for states to adopt and reauthorizes the popular Energy Efficiency Conservation and Block Grant (EECBG) program, which provides $17.5 billion in funding for schools, homes, government buildings, and manufacturing facilities to improve efficiency and deploy energy-efficient technologies.

The House energy innovation package also will make record investments in the technology and infrastructure needed to electrify and substantially reduce emissions from transportation, the largest sector for greenhouse gas emissions. This includes authorizing:

  • Over $36 billion for transportation electrification, including grants and rebates to deploy electric vehicles and related charging infrastructure,
  • $650 million to deploy low- and zero-emissions school buses, 
  • $375 million for the Clean Cities Coalition Program, and 
  • $2.5 billion for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act.

H.R. 4447 also strives to reduce polluting emissions from the industrial sector, including the phasedown of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a highly potent greenhouse gas, by 85% over 15 years. It also establishes a $1.25 billion grant program to prevent methane leaks from the natural gas distribution system.

Importantly, H.R. 4447 aims to reduce the pollution and health burdens of those on the frontlines of climate change, including low-income communities, communities of color, and other marginalized groups. It includes key provisions from the Booker-Ruiz Environmental Justice Act, which requires federal agencies to include environmental justice in their missions. Specifically, the legislation codifies and expands the 1994 Executive Order on Environmental Justice, which focuses federal attention on environmental and human health impacts of federal actions on minority and low-income communities. Additionally, the bill contains key provisions from the Harris-Grijalva-McEachin Environmental Justice for All legislation, which creates new environmental justice grant and training programs to empower communities and reduce health disparities.

# # #

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.