Democrats consider defense production law for clean energy


Hello and welcome to The Climate 202! If you were at the Capitol yesterday, we hope you avoided the fox that allegedly bit people, including Rep. Friend Bera (D-California) and Politics journalist Ximena Bustillo. 🦊 But first:

Exclusive: Bill would boost clean energy through Defense Production Act

Cori Bush Representatives (D-Mo.) and Jason Raven (D-Colo.) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will introduce legislation today to boost domestic production of clean energy technologies through the Defense Production Actaccording to details on the legislative push shared exclusively with The Climate 202.

the Energy Security and Independence Act would lay the foundations for President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to bolster domestic supply chains for heat pumps, solar panels, wind turbines and other technologies crucial to the country’s transition to clean energy.

While the co-sponsors spoke with White House aides about the legislation, it’s unclear whether Biden will again invoke the Defense Production Act, an emergency national defense law, to bolster the country’s energy security amid the war in Ukraine.

The bill comes after Biden last week invoked the law to increase U.S. production of critical minerals used in electric vehicle batteries and reduce reliance on foreign supply chains. Climate advocates have pushed Biden to go further and use the Defense Production Act to shore up US heat pump manufacturing, while being moderate Senator Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.) wants Biden to invoke the law to expedite the completion of a blocked gas pipeline.

The new measure would invest $100 billion in “reinvigorating the nation’s clean energy industrial base using the Defense Products Act,” according to a summary from Bush’s office.

  • The bill would also create a National Renewable Energy Industrial Base Working Group to engage with environmental justice communities, manufacturers, scientists, unions and others on the nation’s transition to renewable energy.
  • In addition to the $100 billion to fund the Defense Production Act, the measure would provide $30 billion for the Department of Energy to air-condition and insulate 6.4 million homes over the next 10 years, as well as $10 billion to purchase and install millions of heat pumps.

In an interview with The Climate 202, Crow said his office continued to discuss the measure with White House aides.

“We had preliminary discussions, and those are still ongoing,” Crow said. “And last week the president showed his willingness to use the DPA for those efforts with the EV battery issue.”

White House Spokesperson Vedant Patel did not respond to a request for comment on the bill.

Support from the Squad and Moderates

Lawmakers unveiling the legislation come from both liberal and moderate flanks of the Democratic Party, signaling broad support for clean energy investments across the caucus.

  • Bush is a member of “the Squad,” the group of liberal lawmakers that includes Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
  • Crow, a former Army ranger, belongs to the moderate ‘Gang of Nine’, a group of military and intelligence lawmakers who turned red districts blue when they were first elected in 2018.
  • Sanders, an independent who caucus with Democrats, is a standard bearer for the party’s progressive base.

The bill has 27 House co-sponsors, including Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and representing Mikie Sherrill (DN.J.). In the Senate, the bill has six co-sponsors, including the Liberal Brandon Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts.

The National Security Case for Clean Energy

Presidents of both parties used the Defense Production Act, which was enacted in 1950 in response to the onset of the korean warto classify certain products as critical to national security.

  • donald trump issued an executive order in March 2020 that defined ventilators and personal protective equipment as “essential to national defense” – the standard required by law – at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Biden also invoked the Defense Production Act in September to boost fire hose supplies amid wildfires in the West.

Crow, who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, argued that deploying more clean energy would boost national security by reducing America’s dependence on oil states and volatility in global oil markets.

“We see with Russia the risks of relying on autocrats and dictators for our energy,” Crow said, referring to the Russian president. Vladimir Poutine. “And we know that the climate crisis is actually the biggest national security threat we face over the long term.”

Lawyer promotes fossil fuels for poor countries he once denigrated

As countries around the world grapple with how to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels to fight climate change, conservatives are increasingly making the argument that poorer nations should go the opposite route, Maxine reports.

Alex Epstein, one of the most prominent proponents of this strategy, has testified before Congress and given public lectures saying that the clean energy shift is “unethical” because it deprives developing countries of the cheap electricity needed to lift people out of poverty. His new book, “Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas — Not Less,” will be released May 24.

His critics have previously called the fossil fuel advocacy he helped inject into the climate debate as ethnocentric and paternalistic. Now they are pointing to recently resurfaced articles he wrote in 1999 while in college that viewed non-Western cultures as inferior, saying the articles raise further questions about whether his argument is rooted in a “moral” concern for developing countries or whether it is a cynical attempt. promote the use of oil, coal and natural gas.

Epstein defended his academic writings after being contacted by The Washington Post last week.

Democrats find themselves on the defensive over gas prices

In California, Democrat Representative Mike Levin tells his constituents, who pay around $6 a gallon for gas, that the three Ps are to blame: the pandemic, the Russian president Vladimir Poutine and alleged price hikes by oil companies, Marianna Sotomayor and Tony Perry report for La Poste.

Although these factors are beyond the control of the party, some people remain convinced that President Biden and Democrats are to blame for rising gas prices, putting many congressional lawmakers in a vulnerable position ahead of midterms as people decide where to direct anger over the blow to their wallets.

Seeking solutions, Democrats have largely agreed that one way forward is to hold oil companies accountable for high gas prices despite oil prices falling below $100 a barrel. the House Energy and Commerce Committee will have the opportunity to grill senior executives from six oil companies during a hearing today.

Fred Upton, former chairman of House Energy and Commerce, will retire

representing Fred Upton (R-Mich.), former president of the House Energy and Commerce Committeeannounced on Tuesday that he would retire at the end of the session after 36 years in office, E&E News’s Timothee Cama reports.

In a moving speech on the House floor on Tuesday, Upton recounted his time as committee chairman from 2011 to 2017, during which he sought to improve pipeline safety and better protect the Great Lakes, among other things. environmental priorities.

Upton’s chairmanship of the panel overlapped barack obamathe ambitious climate program of . In 2015, he led the Republican opposition against the Environmental Protection Agencyit’s Clean Energy Plan, later resulting in the committee passing a resolution to rescind both the plan and a regulation to limit greenhouse gas emissions from newly built power plants. Upton is one of 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach the president Donald Trump.

House Democrats urge Postal Service to rein in gas-guzzling truck contract

Chairman of House Oversight and Reform Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.) on Tuesday accused the US Postal Service to ignore “its responsibility to reduce the environmental impact of its fleet” by moving forward with a contract to purchase up to 148,000 new gas-powered trucks, despite calls from the Biden administration to electrify the federal fleet, our colleague Jacob Bogage reports.

During a hearing, Maloney said there was compelling evidence the Postal Service relied on miscalculations in deciding to buy the gas-powered trucks over the battery-powered vehicles.

Victoria Etiennethe courier’s program manager for “next-generation delivery vehicles,” said the agency has purchased as many electric vehicles as its current financial terms allow.

“If funding were made available to us, we would absolutely adjust our plans,” Stephen said. “Our plans today reflect what we can afford with our own resources.”

EU proposes to ban Russian coal after killing of civilians in Ukraine

the European Commission proposes a ban on Russian coal – not oil or gas – as part of new sanctions in response to possible war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine, Emilie Rauhala and Quentin Aries report for La Poste.

While the package marks the European Union’s first step to block Russian energy imports, it falls short of the requirements for a full embargo. The reason the commission proposed coal, and not oil or gas, “is probably because it’s the easiest to substitute,” said Simone Tagliapietraprincipal researcher at Bruegela think tank based in Brussels.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday that oil could be next but offered no timeline. “We are working on additional sanctions, including oil imports,” she said.

EPA takes action to ban most common type of carcinogenic asbestos

the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed a ban on chrysotile asbestos, the most common form of toxic mineral still used in the United States. Research shows it’s a carcinogen linked to around 40,000 deaths nationwide each year, according to The Post. Anna Phillips reports.

The proposed ban could help both workers handling asbestos and people living near industrial chlorine manufacturing facilities, said Michel Freedhoffresponsible for EPA’s chemical safety and pollution prevention efforts.

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