House Democrats are going all-in on their efforts to use the heavy hand of government to ban fossil fuels, nationalize American energy production, and waste hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on new government projects. You may think that would be Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, but there is a more dangerous proposal that has momentum and may actually become law: The CLEAN Future Act. The 1,000-page bill contains a hodgepodge of radical provisions inspired by the “GND,” so it is imperative that it comes nowhere near the president’s desk, or else it could be lights out for our prosperous American economy.
Given the consensus among those in the scientific community that high levels of greenhouse gas emissions lead to negative effects stemming from changes to the climate, it’s long overdue for lawmakers to address the issue. The prescription to combat climate change, however, relies on a market-centered approach that promotes private-sector competition through the reduction of government-erected barriers. Innovative solutions led by the free market, not big government bureaucrats, will result in better, environmentally-friendly outcomes. Thankfully, House Republicans subscribe to this approach and have introduced dozens of common-sense bills to enable America to win the energy future.
Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress believe government is the panacea to every societal and planetary ill. The CLEAN Future Act reads like a mess cobbled together from demands off of every environmentalist wish list. Jumping from one dangerous policy proposal to another, the CLEAN Future Act lumps together numerous bad ideas into a Frankenstein’s monster. No doubt, if this bill becomes law it will result in higher consumer energy prices, fewer jobs, and more government control of our lives.
The cornerstone of this comprehensive climate bill is to reduce greenhouse gas pollution to 50 percent below 2005 levels by no later than 2030 and establish a national goal for the United States to achieve a 100 percent clean economy by 2050. It directs the head of each federal agency to develop a plan to achieve the overall national goal in conjunction with all other federal agencies. Additionally, it would require electricity transmission to be 100 percent “clean” by 2035. This means decommissioning every non-renewable power generation plant out of existence over the coming decades.
Renewable energy is an important and growing part of the overall energy portfolio, but special interests should not have to use heavy-handed and unrealistic government mandates to put their competitors out of business. It’s wrong to use the power of the federal government to pick and choose which types of energy are allowed; instead, lawmakers should employ an “all of the above” strategy. Letting the market choose is the fairest and most effective way to lower prices and protect jobs. The free market works well as long as the government doesn’t meddle. Moreover, competition in free markets has benefited all consumers by lowering energy costs for ratepayers while also lowering American CO2 output. But as is usually the case, when the government intervenes in the market it creates distortions that benefit a select few at the expense of everyone else.
The authors of the CLEAN Future Act propose to spend $565 billion of American tax dollars in order to meet these targets. That figure also doesn’t include the higher electricity rates that’ll be added on to our monthly electric bills since transitioning to clean energy isn’t free.
In addition, there is a backdoor federal ban on hydraulic fracking – the innovative and safe method of extracting natural gas that has fostered an American energy renaissance. Section 623 of the CLEAN Future Act sets almost impossible standards for drilling that would effectively ban the practice. On top of that, it would strip control of oil and gas development away from the states and put that power into the hands of unelected bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency. Hydraulic fracking not only provides a livelihood for hundreds of thousands of Americans but is also responsible for a decline in environmentally harmful energy use.
Banning fracking is an assault on the American worker and a step backward for promoting clean energy. Lawmakers would be wise to remove this dangerous provision.
Unserious Green New Deal-style climate proposals should be promptly rejected – not given airtime or consideration. It’s disappointing that the CLEAN Future Act is on a trajectory to pass out the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but not surprising given the unprecedented bombardment of energy companies that have become mainstream in the Democratic Party. Let’s just hope more sensible members on the left can see through this job-crushing legislation masquerading under the guise of “clean energy” so that it doesn’t become law.