House Select Committee releases climate report with energy, ag provisions

-The Hagstrom Report

The all-Democratic House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released its “clean energy” action plan.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who appointed the committee in response to demands from freshman progressive members of her caucus, said, “Our plan honors our obligation to address the climate crisis and embraces our opportunity to solve that crisis as we build a new, clean energy economy that creates millions of good-paying jobs with strong labor protections.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., praised Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., for chairing the committee and noted the plan calls for “100% clean, net-zero emissions across our economy by 2050.”

“This roadmap will help guide our nation in the years ahead as we seek to reclaim the mantle of leadership in addressing the challenge of the global climate crisis and seize the economic opportunities that come with meeting that challenge,” Hoyer said. “Our people deserve clean air and clean water, safety from damaging storms, and certainty that their children will inherit a livable and sustainable Earth.”

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said the report, titled Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America, “provides a roadmap for Congress to build a prosperous, worker-driven clean energy economy. The Climate Crisis Action Plan includes legislative initiatives offered by more than 100 House members, which would together transform America’s reliance on fossil fuels and put our country on a path to net-zero carbon pollution, incentivize a ‘green’ economic recovery by investing in clean energy, and address the legacy of environmental injustice in low-income communities and communities of color.”

Pingree noted that the report includes the following bills she has authored:

▪ HR 5861, Agriculture Resilience Act

▪ HR 1716, Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act

▪ HR 3981, Food Date Labeling Act

▪ HR 5607, School Food Recovery Act

▪ HR 3220, Kids Eat Local Act

▪ HR 5841, Food Recovery Act

Three House Agriculture subcommittee chairs – Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee Chair Abigail Spanberger, D-Va.; Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee Chair David Scott, D-Ga.; and Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee Chair Stacey Plaskett, D-V.I. – said it was encouraging to see the committee and House Democrats recognize that agriculture could be part of the solution to climate change.

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said the report includes her Social Determinants Accelerator Act, which would direct the Health and Human Services Department to convene an interagency advisory council on the social determinants of health, and would provide grants for state and local governments to develop “Social Determinants Accelerator Plans” to address the needs of at-risk populations and communities that have historically been disparately impacted, such as many communities of color.

Eric Deeble, policy director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, noted that the report includes a chapter on agriculture and its role in addressing the climate crisis and said, “NSAC applauds the Select Committee for acknowledging agriculture’s critical role in mitigating the climate crisis in their report. Farmers and ranchers work at the frontlines of climate change, and they hold a unique position to sequester carbon in our country’s soils through best management practices for soil health, crop and livestock integration, and agroforestry.”

Deeble said NSAC particularly appreciates the Select Committee’s endorsement of the Agriculture Resilience Act (HR 5861), “the most comprehensive agriculture and climate bill introduced in this Congress.”

The American Farmland Trust said the report “underscores agriculture’s unique role as a ‘natural climate solution’ critical to limiting the effects of global warming.”

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said it is “highly encouraged by the Select Committee’s acknowledgement that renewable fuels like ethanol can play an important role in reducing the carbon impacts of our nation’s transportation sector in the future. RFA agrees with the committee that widespread use of liquid fuels and internal combustion engines will continue for decades to come, and we welcome the recommendation to create a nationwide technology- and feedstock-neutral Low Carbon Fuel Standard.”

Solutions from the Land President Ernie Shea said the group “is particularly encouraged by the report’s advocacy of farmer-to-farmer education as a principal building block to support the role of agriculture in addressing climate change and welcomed the report’s call for investments in water storage and infrastructure.”

David Arkush, managing director of the Public Citizen’s Climate Program, said, “It’s a comprehensive plan that, in broad brushstrokes, is aligned with platforms like the U.S. Climate Action Network’s Vision for Equitable Climate Action – an equity-centered plan on the scale needed to respond to the climate emergency that is grounded in strong standards and smart investments.”

Arkush said the group is “also pleased” that Congress pass the Asuncion Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act of 2019 (HR 3668) sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., which would require the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to write a rule protecting workers from heat stress.