Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) introduced the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act — ambitious new climate legislation that ensures the United States acts aggressively to tackle the climate crisis this decade and achieve net zero greenhouse gas pollution.
The CLEAN Future Act would achieve net zero greenhouse gas pollution no later than 2050, with an interim target of reducing pollution by 50% from 2005 levels no later than 2030. The targets come from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has said we must cut carbon pollution to net zero by 2050 to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. The bill presents both sector-specific and economy-wide solutions to meet those targets, offering a sweeping set of policy proposals that will put the United States on the path to a cleaner and more economically prosperous future.
“The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime, but it also presents one of the greatest opportunities to empower American workers with new, good paying jobs and return our economy to a position of strength after a long, dark year of historic job losses and pain,” said Pallone. “Today’s introduction of the CLEAN Future Act promises that we will not stand idly by as the rest of the world transitions to clean economies and our workers get left behind, and that we will not watch from the sidelines as the climate crisis wreaks havoc on Americans’ health and homes. This legislation will create millions of homegrown jobs in a climate-resilient economy, ensuring our workers and businesses can compete in the 21st century transition to clean technology that’s already happening.”
“Today, we reiterate our commitment to bold and urgent federal climate action. The CLEAN Future Act will ensure America realizes the opportunities that come from embracing and accelerating the clean energy transition,” said Tonko. “It invests in the industry and ingenuity of our people and will launch America’s next great chapter of sustainable prosperity and real economic and environmental justice. I’m proud to stand with Chairman Frank Pallone and Chairman Bobby Rush. We will continue fighting to get ambitious climate legislation signed into law and jumpstart America’s clean energy economy.”
“Through today’s introduction of the CLEAN Future Act, the Committee on Energy and Commerce is assuming its vital role in combating the growing climate crisis and accelerating federal action to meet the challenge head-on this decade,” said Rush. “Through policies that will create millions of new, good paying jobs and reduce pollution in historically overburdened communities, this legislation drives our country further down the path toward a much-needed clean energy transition — and does so with equity and social justice at its center.”
The CLEAN Future Act proposes ambitious new policies aimed at dramatically cutting greenhouse gas pollution in areas within the Committee’s jurisdiction.
The Power Sector
The CLEAN Future Act includes a nationwide Clean Electricity Standard (CES) requiring all retail electricity suppliers to obtain 100% clean electricity by 2035, in line with President Biden’s call to action for the power sector. The CES mandates that all retail electricity suppliers provide an increasing supply of clean electricity to consumers starting in 2023, rising to 80% clean by 2030 and then 100% clean by 2035. The CES further requires that workers be paid prevailing wages for the construction of participating new electricity generation, and that owners and operators of all participating qualifying generation not interfere with the right to organize and bargain. The bill also invests heavily in clean energy, distributed energy resources, grid infrastructure and microgrids — all of which build resiliency and are crucial to reducing carbon pollution. In addition, it empowers the federal government to expedite the responsible buildout of our electricity transmission system to achieve clean energy goals.
The Building Sector
The CLEAN Future Act improves the efficiency of new and existing buildings, as well as the equipment and appliances that operate within them. It establishes national energy savings targets for continued improvement of model building energy codes, leading to a requirement of zero-energy-ready buildings by 2030. The bill also sets energy and water savings targets for federal buildings and provides funding for schools, homes, and municipal buildings to improve energy and water efficiency and deploy energy efficient technologies.
The Transportation Sector
The CLEAN Future Act reduces transportation emissions, the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution, by building the infrastructure needed for a clean transportation system. The bill includes substantial investments in transportation electrification, including through grants and rebates to deploy electric vehicles and charging stations, zero-emissions school buses, and formally authorizing a Clean Cities Coalition Program. The bill also updates financing programs to expand domestic manufacturing of advanced automotive technologies. It also establishes an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant program to decarbonize and electrify ports around the country, reducing air pollution that disproportionately harms frontline communities.
The Industrial Sector
The CLEAN Future Act establishes a Buy Clean Program that sets performance targets to steadily reduce emissions from construction materials and products used in projects that receive federal funding. The bill incorporates new Climate Star labeling and provisions to ensure performance targets adequately consider the complexities of manufacturing and procuring carbon-intensive products. With the vast majority of U.S. construction projects funded by government dollars, this program would fundamentally transform and strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector, all while reducing climate pollution by promoting low-carbon materials and expanding the market for cleaner products.
A National Climate Target for Federal Agencies
The CLEAN Future Act directs all federal agencies to use all existing authorities to put the country on a path toward a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas pollution from 2005 levels by no later than 2030, and to net zero no later than 2050. To ensure federal agencies’ collective efforts remain on track, the legislation directs EPA to evaluate each agency’s plans, make recommendations and report on progress each year, and establishes a Clean Economy Federal Advisory Committee to review the plans and make recommendations.
State Climate Plans
The CLEAN Future Act empowers states to complete the transition to a net zero economy based on the existing federalism model in the Clean Air Act. States have flexibility to develop plans to meet the 2050 and interim targets based on their own policy preferences, priorities and circumstances. Each state must submit a climate plan to EPA for its review and approval. To ensure that states have ample guidance and expertise at their disposal, the bill directs EPA to develop a set of model greenhouse gas control strategies which states can choose to incorporate into their plans. The bill authorizes $200 million to help states prepare their plans.
A Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator
The CLEAN Future Act establishes a first-of-its-kind Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator — modeled after the successful green bank model deployed across the United States — to help states, cities, communities and companies transition to a clean economy. Capitalized with $100 billion in funding, the Accelerator will mobilize public and private investments to provide financing for low- and zero-emissions energy technologies, climate resiliency projects, building efficiency and electrification, industrial decarbonization, grid modernization, agriculture projects, clean transportation and the development of state and local green banks where they do not yet exist. The CLEAN Future Act requires that the Accelerator prioritize investments in communities that are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change and includes strong labor protections to ensure the fair treatment of workers.
Worker and Community Transition
The CLEAN Future Act establishes an interagency framework to ensure every worker and community has federal-level support and resources during the nation’s transition to net zero climate pollution. It creates an Office of Energy and Economic Transition in the Executive Office of the President, responsible for managing a task force and stakeholder advisory committee to coordinate programs and activities that support impacted workers and communities. As part of the bill’s commitment to leave no neighborhood behind during the energy transition, it likewise creates new programs to support dislocated workers and provide financial assistance to local governments — including by replacing lost revenue due to the closure of a major employer. This assistance, coupled with the infrastructure investments in the CLEAN Future Act, will support economic development and diversification for all affected communities.
The bill includes comprehensive environmental justice provisions to make environmental justice part of the mission of all federal agencies, and to incorporate environmental justice considerations into landmark environmental laws. It includes substantial investments to protect the health and safety of environmental justice communities, including lead service line replacement, Brownfields cleanups and Superfund cleanups. It also includes grant programs to allow impacted communities to participate in the permitting and regulation of petrochemical facilities and hazardous waste disposal facilities in their neighborhoods. It further protects these groups by implementing strong new coal ash disposal requirements and repealing oil and gas production exemptions from landmark environmental laws.
The CLEAN Future Act reduces the generation of waste before it can pollute our nation’s air, water, and communities. The bill imposes new clean air permitting requirements on industrial facilities that produce plastic — a significant, growing source of greenhouse gas pollution. It also reforms our nation’s outdated recycling and waste management system to ensure that producers minimize the amount of waste they generate, including by establishing post-consumer recycled content standards for everyday products and instituting a national bottle deposit program. The bill also establishes programs to invest in community-level zero-waste initiatives to improve education and outreach around waste reduction, as well as to modernize the collection, recycling, and reuse of electronic waste, such as batteries.
The CLEAN Future Act also features a suite of complementary policies, including proposals to remove barriers to clean energy and reduce super pollutants like methane. The legislation is the result of 27 hearings in the Energy and Commerce Committee on the climate crisis over the last two years. Today’s introduction marks the beginning of the legislative process; hearings on the CLEAN Future Act will continue in the months ahead.
News item from the House Committee on Energy & Commerce