Energy Policy Changes (and Challenges)
House energy policy vote
This week, the House will vote on an energy bill that, according to the sponsor, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman, Rep. Fred Upton [R, MI-6], addresses “many of the nation’s energy laws [that] are rooted in the days of energy scarcity and do not take into account our newfound energy abundance.”
H.R. 8: North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act
Sponsor: Rep. Fred Upton [R, MI-6]
“Fortifies America’s energy security by reinvesting in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and by hardening and modernizing energy infrastructure to withstand21st century threats like cyber, severe weather, and EMP attacks. The legislation will also help benefit the United States by streamlining the approval of LNG exports and by providing improved coordination on energy diplomacy issues with our North American neighbors… also includes energy efficiency provisions,” according to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Section-by-Section Summary | Congressional Budget Office Score
Paris Climate Talks #COP21
On Sunday, President Obama travels to Paris to attend the United Nations “Conference of Parties” to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference or “COP21.” The stated goal of the conference was “to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate,” with over 150 heads of state participating. That goal, however, was a sticking point for the Obama Administration, which would be constitutionally-bound to submit any “treaty” to the Senate for ratification. On the eve of the talks, it was announced that French negotiators would not push for a “treaty” designation and would be open to allowing some non-binding provisions.
In Congress, Members have introduced three measures stating that the results of the Paris talks should be considered a treaty and submitted by the President for the “Advice and Consent” of the Senate.
S.Res.290: Expressing the sense of the Senate that any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change… shall be considered a treaty requiring the advice and consent of the Senate.
Sponsor: Sen. Rand Paul [R, KY]
H.Con.Res. 97: Expresses the sense of Congress that the President should submit to the Senate for advice and consent the climate change agreement … and Congress should refuse to consider any budget resolutions and appropriations language that include funding for the Green Climate Fund until COP-21 emissions commitments are submitted to the Senate.
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Kelly [R, PA-3]
S.Con.Res 25: A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the President should submit the Paris climate change agreement to the Senate for its advice and consent.
Sponsor: Sen. Mike Lee [R, UT]
Obama Administration Efforts on Climate Change
In May 2015, President Obama, in a speech at the Coast Guard Academy commencement, said that climate change poses a serious national threat:
“Around the world, climate change increases the risk of instability and conflict. Rising seas are already swallowing low-lying lands, from Bangladesh to Pacific islands, forcing people from their homes. Globally, we could see a rise in climate change refugees…
Climate change, and especially rising seas, is a threat to our homeland security, our economic infrastructure, the safety and health of the American people.”
— President Obama speech to Coast Guard Academy commencement
On August 3, 2015, President Obama and EPA announced the “Clean Power Plan” regulatory plan—“a historic and important step in reducing carbon pollution from power plants that takes real action on climate change.” It establishes “strong but achievable standards for power plants, and customized goals for states to cut the carbon pollution that is driving climate change,” according to the EPA. Learn more about the Clean Power Plan.
This Week: Congressional Efforts to “Disapprove” Obama Environmental Regulations
This week, the House will vote on two resolutions to formally “disapprove” Administration regulations under the rarely-used “Congressional Review Act.” (Read more from POPVOX on the CRA). The resolutions have already passed the Senate and are expected to be vetoed if they reach the President’s desk. (Only one CRA resolution in history has been successful.)
S.J.Res. 23: Resolution Disapproving of the New EPA EGU Carbon Pollution Standards
Sponsor: Sen. Mitch McConnell [R, KY]
Disapproves of the EPA’s “Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units.” The EPA is finalizing new source performance standards (NSPS) under Clean Air Act (CAA) section 111(b) that, for the first time, will establish standards for emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) for newly constructed, modified, and reconstructed affected fossil fuel-fired electric utility generating units (EGUs). This action establishes separate standards of performance for fossil fuel-fired electric utility steam generating units and fossil fuel-fired stationary combustion turbines.
S.J.Res. 24: Resolution Disapproving of the EPA’s Carbon Pollution Guidelines for Existing Sources
Sponsor: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito [R, WV]
Disapproves of the EPA’s “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units.” The EPA is establishing final emission guidelines for states to follow in developing plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units (EGUs).