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10/10/2012 03:49 PM     print story email story  

The House Record on Clean Energy And Efficiency

SustainableBusiness.com News

A report released this week, "The Republican War on Clean Energy," details the votes the House of Representatives have made against clean energy since 2010 in its Oil-Above-All Agenda.

Vice-Presidential Nominee Rep. Paul Ryan voted 100% of the time with House Republicans.

All told, House Republicans voted 223 times during the 112th Congress to undercut wind, solar and energy efficiency and provide special favors to the fossil fuel industry, says the report.

The House voted 42 times to defund or repeal clean energy initiatives, and 54 times to give gifts and subsidies to big oil and gas. 127 votes have been on dismantling regulations on fossil fuel industries, which also prevents the renewable energy industry from expanding. The votes are detailed here

The report is produced by Democrats that serve on the Natural Resources Committee, led by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), who has been making a valient attempt to expose Republican efforts that prevent attention to climate change and derail any agenda that puts the US on a path toward energy efficiency and renewable energy, and away from fossil fuels.

Here are some excerpts:

The 112th Congress has passed fewer laws than any Congress in modern history, providing little help to Americans trying to bounce back from the economic crisis. Even President Truman's infamous "Do-Nothing Congress" was more productive, passing 906 laws compared to just 174 in this Congress.

The American people may wonder what this new do-nothing Congress has been doing with its time. The votes discussed here are a large part of the answer. House Republicans wasted more than 108 hours of floor time on anti-clean-energy bills and fossil fuel giveaways they knew had no chance of passing the U.S. Senate.

House Republicans have used the failure of one company, the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra, as the basis for a broad attack on clean energy initiatives. They have done this despite -or perhaps because of - the success of these initiatives and the rapid growth of clean energy, which is providing new competition for fossil fuels.

Wind energy is now producing 4% of U.S. electricity - and more than 10% in a number of states - after producing almost nothing just a few years ago. Solar energy is doubling every year. New fuel economy standards, agreed to by automakers, are expected to save Americans $1.7 trillion at the pump. 

As House Republicans have fought to block and roll back this progress, they have also voted to dole out giveaways to the oil and gas industry and weaken health and safety protections for the American people. Even with major problems exposed by the BP oil spill, House Republicans failed to pass a single bill to improve offshore drilling safety and instead voted to cut funds for offshore safety inspections, expand offshore drilling all along the East and West coasts, waive environmental reviews for such drilling, and preserve royalty-free drilling and oil-industry tax loopholes.

Votes Against Clean Energy, Efficiency

In June, the House voted to cut renewable energy and energy efficiency funding by $428 million, while increasing funding for unnecessary fossil energy research by over $200 million. Last year, they voted to cut $491 million from dozens of clean energy and energy efficiency initiatives, including solar ($97 million); clean vehicles ($46 million); and green buildings ($61 million). They also voted to cut weatherization assistance by 90%, which primarily benefits low-income Americans, the  Advanced Research Projects Agency by 81%, which promotes clean energy innovation.

These programs are crucial to the development of a clean energy economy where cutting-edge technology is developed and built in the United States by American workers.

In stark contrast to Republicans' zealous attacks on Solyndra and other solar and renewable loan guarantees, House Republicans have turned a blind eye to even riskier nuclear projects with pending loan guarantee applications.

One example is the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), which has submitted a $2 billion loan guarantee application to the Department of Energy. Despite receiving almost $1 billion in subsidies in the past eight months, USEC has been downgraded below junk bond status, warned that it may be delisted from the NY Stock Exchange (and consequently may be at risk of becoming a penny stock and defaulting on its debts), and is worth $88 million as of Sept. 19, 2012. Republicans voted against amendments to prevent further taxpayer-funded bailouts of the company.

House Republicans have applied the same double standard to taxes. While fighting to preserve tax breaks for the oil industry, they have blocked extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind and other renewable energy production.

House Republicans voted down a number of Democratic amendments to keep oil and gas in the US for American consumption, which would control prices and increase energy independence.

And although they voted multiple times to rush approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, they voted against Democratic amendments to address environmental, public health and safety concerns related to its construction. They also voted against requiring tar sands oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline to be consumed in the US.

Read this report:

Website: http://democrats.naturalresources.house.gov/sites/democrats.naturalresources.house.gov/files/2012-10-09_RepublicanWarOnCleanEnergy.pdf



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