Climate Justice Components Of Build Back Better Agenda Have Been Pared Back, With Further Cuts Possible

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 28 Sep 2021 17:14:00 GMT

In its reconciliation package, the House of Representatives restored some of Biden’s requested funding for climate justice measures that had been slashed by the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan deal, but massive cuts remain.

If the White House heeds the “no double dip” deal it made with Senate centrists, the House funds will be eliminated.

Two Build Back Better climate-justice programs that were cut in the Senate’s infrastructure package (known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, or BIF) are funded at or above President Biden’s requested levels:

  • Building electric vehicle charging stations, raised $15 billion to $21 billion
  • Replacing the nation’s lead pipes, fully restored to $45 billion

However, most face massive cuts, with no prospect for improvement:

  • Reconnecting minority communities cut off by highway projects, cut 79% from $24 billion to $4.95 billion
  • Investing in electric school buses, cut 63% from $20 billion to $7.5 billion
  • Road safety, including “vision zero” programs to protect pedestrians, cut 45% from $20 billion to $11 billion (only $100 million added)
  • Upgrading and modernizing America’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems, cut 40% from $56 billion to $33.7 billion
  • Repairing and modernizing public transit, cut 36% from $85 billion to $54 billion
  • Broadband infrastructure, cut 31% from $100 billion to $69 billion
  • Investing in passenger and freight rail, cut 5% from $80 billion to $76 billion
Furthermore, the House added on additional funding for the programs that act as bailouts for polluters:
  • Capping orphan wells, increased to $18.5 billion, 16% over Biden’s request
  • Brownfield and Superfund, increased to $20 billion, three times Biden’s request

The BIF includes the Civil Nuclear Credit Program, a $6 billion bailout fund for existing nuclear plants.

The Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) is a major climate initiative in the House reconciliation package, establishing a sort of carbon cap-and-trade system for electric utilities with the goal of increasing low-carbon electricity production to 80 percent of the mix by 2030. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has indicated his desire to modify the CEPP to lower its standards to support natural-gas plants.

Full Committee Markup of Build Back Better Act

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 13 Sep 2021 15:00:00 GMT

The Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a full Committee markup on Monday, September 13, at 11 a.m. (EDT) in the John D. Dingell Room, 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building, on legislative recommendations for its budget reconciliation instructions, which were passed last month by the House and Senate.

The Committee will consider the following Committee Prints:

The Committee’s Memorandum includes a section-by-section for each of the Committee Prints and a fact sheet on key provisions is available.

Grid Decarbonization Standard: $150 billion in a Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) at the Department of Energy (DOE) The CEPP, which complements tax incentives for clean energy, will issue grants to and collect payments from electricity suppliers from 2023 through 2030 based on how much qualified clean electricity each supplier provides to customers.
  • An electricity supplier will be eligible for a grant if it increases the amount of clean electricity it supplies to customers by 4 percentage points compared to the previous year. The grant will be $150 for each megawatt-hour of clean electricity above 1.5 percent the previous year’s clean electricity.
  • Electricity suppliers must use the grants exclusively for the benefit of their customers, including direct bill assistance, investments in qualified clean electricity and energy efficiency, and worker retention.
  • An electricity supplier that does not increase its clean electricity percentage by at least 4 percent compared to the previous year will owe a payment to DOE based on the shortfall. If, for example, the electricity supplier only increases its clean electricity percentage by 2 percent, the supplier will owe $40 for each megawatt-hour that represents the 2 percent shortfall.
  • The CEPP gives electricity suppliers the option to defer a grant or a payment for up to two consecutive years.
  • Eligible clean electricity is electricity generation with a carbon intensity of not more than 0.10 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per megawatt-hour [i.e., renewable and nuclear].
Other Energy and Climate Provisions:
  • $13.5 billion in electric vehicle infrastructure
  • $7 billion in multiple loan and grant programs at DOE to support development of innovative technologies and American manufacturing of zero emission transportation technologies
  • $9 billion for grid modernization
  • $17.5 billion in decarbonizing federal buildings and fleets
  • $18 billion in home energy efficiency and appliance electrification rebates
  • $27.5 billion in nonprofit, state, and local climate finance institutions that support the rapid deployment of low- and zero-emission technologies. At least 40 percent of investments will be made in low-income and disadvantaged communities
  • $2.5 billion for planning and installing solar facilities and community solar projects that serve low-income households or multi-family affordable housing complexes
  • $30 billion for the full replacement of lead service lines in drinking water systems
  • $10 billion for the cleanup of Superfund sites
  • Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants: $5 billion to community-led projects that address environmental and public health harms related to pollution and climate change
  • methane fee on pollution from the oil and gas industry above specific intensity thresholds
  • $5 billion in replacing certain heavy-duty vehicles, such as refuse trucks and school buses, with zero emission vehicles Health
  • dental, vision, and hearing coverage for seniors under Medicare
  • expands Medicaid eligibility to millions of Americans
  • $190 billion to expand access to quality home-based services and care for millions of older adults and people with disabilities
  • permanently extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • ensure that all pregnant women on Medicaid will keep their health insurance for the critical first year postpartum
  • ensure that Medicaid coverage begins automatically 30 days prior to an individual’s release from incarceration
  • $2.86 billion in funding for the World Trade Center Health Program
  • $3 billion in funding to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)
  • $35 billion in investments to rebuild and modernize public health departments
  • $15 billion in targeted investments for pandemic preparedness
  • $10 billion in grants for the implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1 services
  • $4 billion to the Emergency Connectivity Fund to ensure students, school staff, and library patrons have internet connectivity
  • $10 billion to monitor and identify critical manufacturing supply chain vulnerabilities
Filed amendments: