After long negotiations, House leadership has unveiled the final version of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), to be voted on by the full House today. The bill’s author, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), introduced an amendment in the form of a substitute (H.R. 2998), which incorporates a score of amendments to the legislation. The schedule today includes five votes on the passage of this historic bill, which would national standards for clean energy and global warming pollution, with final vote expected at 5 PM:
1. H. Res. 587: Adoption of the rule to set the terms of debate, officially three hours in total.
2. H.R. 2998: Adoption of the Waxman amendment in the nature of the substitute.
3. H.R. 513: Adoption of J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) substitute, the New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence.
4. Motion to recommit.
5. Final passage.
The final version of the Waxman-Markey act includes a mixed bag of changes. Weakening amendments include Rep. Collin Peterson’s (D-MN) concessions on behalf of Big Ag. In exchange for a restriction of the Building Energy Performance Labeling Program on behalf of the National Association of Realtors, Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s (D-CO) beneficial GREEN Act to spur energy-efficient homes will be adopted. Waxman included several other beneficial changes, including the Inslee (WA)-Markey (CO) clean-grid legislation, several critical green jobs amendments, and the Titus (NV)-Giffords (AZ)-Heinrich (NM) renewable energy standard for Federal agencies.
Below is a summary of the Waxman amendment, broken down by its the component amendments:
— Waxman (CA): Makes changes to accommodate States that utilize a central purchasing model for its renewable electricity standard, and makes additional changes.
— Inslee (WA) / Markey (CO): Provides FERC with sitting authority for the construction of certain high-priority interstate transmission lines constructed in the Western Interconnection and amends the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors.
— Peterson (MN): Requires the Agriculture Secretary to establish a list of types of domestic agricultural and forestry practices that result in reductions or avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions, exempts the agriculture and forestry sectors from the bill’s emission caps, redefines “biomass,” and grandfathers existing biodiesel plants to exempt them from lifecycle analysis under the RFS.
— Polis (CO): Permits states to convey allowances in a SEED account directly to renewable energy generators.
— Kratovil (MD): Requires the Agriculture Secretary to establish a carbon incentives program to achieve supplemental greenhouse gas emissions reductions on private agricultural and forestland.
— Titus (NV)/ Giffords (AZ)/ Heinrich (NM): Establishes a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) for Federal agencies, and provides Federal agencies with the authority to enter into renewable energy power purchase agreements for up to 20 years.
— Boren (OK)/ Larson (CT)/ Sullivan (OK): Makes natural gas fueled vehicles eligible for clean vehicle incentives, the vehicle integration program, and the manufacturing incentives for alternatively fueled vehicles.
– Cardoza (CA): Limits the cost of a permit for a license for the construction of a solar energy system, and provides that noncompliance with permit cost requirements disqualifies the entity from Community Development Block Grants.
— Halvorson (IL): Authorizes a national education and awareness program for the purpose of informing building, facility, and industrial plant owners and managers and decision makers, government leaders, and industry leaders about the large energy-saving potential of greater use of mechanical insulation and other benefits.
— Hinchey (NY): Amends the definition of a “cluster,” as it applies to Energy Innovation Hub, and ensures that virtual connections qualify when defining a cluster.
— Loebsack (IA): Amends the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program to provide that funds provided to disaster victims through the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act may qualify as the building owners’ contribution toward the matching requirements of the REEP program, requires the Federal agencies administering assistance to disaster victims through the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act shall provide information to disaster victims on the REEP program, and provides 10 percent of funding under the REEP program for retrofits of public and assisted housing.
— Moore (KS): Creates a Community Building Code Administration Grant program, providing $100 million over five years in competitive, matching grants for local building code enforcement.
— Perlmutter (CO): Limits the Building Energy Performance Labeling Program in sec. 204 of the bill to new construction only.
— Perlmutter (CO): Provides incentives to lenders and financial institutions to provide lower interest loans and other benefits to consumers who build, buy, or remodel homes and businesses to improve their energy efficiency.
— Cardoza (CA): Directs HUD to issue rules to prohibit private covenants that restrict or prohibit the installation of solar energy systems.
— Holt (NJ) / DeLauro (CT) / Baldwin (WI) / Baird (WA): Authorizes the Energy Secretary to develop a research program to study the factors affecting whether consumers adopt energy conservation practices or make energy efficiency improvements.
— Sestak (PA): Requires the Energy Secretary to report to Congress on a study on the use of thorium-fueled nuclear reactors for national energy needs, including a response to the IAEA study entitled “Thorium fuel cycle – Potential benefits and challenges.”
— Polis (CO): Establishes a clean energy career training clearinghouse to aid institutions with Federal resources, expertise, information and points of contact in establishing and maintaining quality training programs.
— Jackson-Lee (TX): Adds provision seeking to ensure that minority-owned and women-owned businesses can benefit from grants aimed at stimulating business development, and requires the Labor Secretary to monitor the potential growth of impacted and displaced workers to ensure that the necessary funding continues to support the number of workers affected.
— Larsen (WA): Expresses the senses of Congress that the United States should work with the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Al Gore calls for passage:
Today is an historic opportunity to pass truly meaningful legislation to limit global warming pollution, vastly expand our use of renewable energy, and use energy far more efficiently. A victory today in the House of Representatives on the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act would represent an essential first step towards solving the climate crisis. This bill doesn’t solve every problem, but passage today means that we build momentum for the debate coming up in the Senate and negotiations for the treaty talks in December which will put in place a global solution to the climate crisis.
There is no back-up plan. There is not a stronger bill waiting to pass the House of Representatives. It’s time to get started on a plan that will create jobs, increase our national security, and build the clean energy economy that will Repower America.