McKinley, Schrader Release Draft Language for Innovate, then Regulate Energy Legislation

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Washington, September 17, 2020 | comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. —  U.S. Reps. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) released legislative language today for their energy and climate proposal. This bipartisan approach would establish an energy innovation program that invests CCUS, advanced nuclear, and renewables with storage for a decade, followed by a clean energy standard for the power sector.

“Rather than lurching back and forth depending on who is in control in Washington, we need an energy and climate plan that provides certainty,” said Rep. McKinley. “Doing this will require bipartisan consensus. Unlike other proposals, our draft legislation has bipartisan support. Our approach will not only reduce carbon emissions while ensuring affordable and resilient power, it will position the United States as a global leader in clean energy research and innovation.”

“As historic wildfires continue to rage through Oregon, displacing thousands of my constituents and leaving my home state with the worst air conditions in the entire world, the threat of climate change has never been more apparent,” said Rep. Schrader. “Climate change puts us all at risk, and in my district that includes our rural, coastal, and agricultural communities. My legislation with Mr. McKinley of West Virginia is the first of its kind: a bipartisan climate change initiative that actually has a chance of passing in the Senate, being enacted, and having a real impact. Our bill is the best way to fight climate change and reduce carbon emissions without putting people out of work. We cannot wait for the “perfect solution” – our communities need a politically viable solution to climate change now.”

Reps. McKinley and Schrader are soliciting input from stakeholders on the discussion draft, with the goal of introducing the final version before the end of the year.

Background:

Earlier this year, Reps. McKinley and Schrader outlined their approach in an opinion piece in the USA Today’s Hidden Common Ground Section urging a new, more pragmatic legislative approach. 

The plan calls for a decade of public and private investments in clean energy innovation and infrastructure development, followed by new regulatory standards to ensure environmental and energy goals are met. Innovation alone isn’t enough. We must clarify what federal law will (and will not) require, to provide a stable and predictable policy framework for investors and electric utilities in the decades ahead. Executive orders and administrative actions that prolong the political and legal battles won’t solve this problem — but bipartisan legislation can.

Click to see the language here.

Click to see a section by section here.

What They’re Saying about the McKinley-Schrader Discussion Draft:

“The McKinley-Schrader proposal marks an important milestone along the road to developing climate legislation.  It is a bipartisan effort that wisely addresses roles for both forward-looking energy innovation policy and for regulatory authority as needed.  EnergyForward is committed to clean-energy transition and the technological breakthroughs needed to make it a reality.  We look forward to working with Mr. McKinley and Mr. Schrader as they refine and advance the bill.”

        —Scott Segal, director, EnergyForward and partner at Bracewell LLP.  EnergyForward is a coalition of utilities that includes Ameren, Duke, DTE Energy, Southern, Salt River Project and Vistra.

“Representatives McKinley and Shrader have developed a thoughtful and bipartisan approach to tackling a key element of our climate challenge. Investments focused on innovative technologies for clean energy coupled with the certainty of a clean energy standard, stand to move the power sector toward net zero emissions. Significant investments in technology and infrastructure would help rebuild and grow the U.S. economy, while its clean energy standard would help put us on pathway to carbon neutrality. Representatives McKinley and Shrader are to be commended for building a bipartisan bridge that is essential for the creation of durable climate policies.”

            —Bob Perciasepe, President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

“American Electric Power (AEP) commends Representatives David McKinley and Kurt Schrader for proposing legislation that focuses on technological and regulatory innovation to address climate change. The draft legislation supports clean energy technology development, including an all-encompassing program for the demonstration and deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), combined with a new federal regulatory framework that requires low- and zero-emitting generation. The transformation of the electric power sector is important for our nation as part of an effort to achieve economy-wide clean energy objectives by 2050.”

               — American Electric Power

 “The scientific evidence is overwhelming that we must rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero. Effectively combatting the climate crisis will require significant deployment of both clean energy technologies and natural climate solutions, as well as a solid regulatory structure to provide a predictable framework for power producers to achieve emission reductions. We appreciate the leadership of Reps. McKinley and Schrader to develop this bipartisan, innovative approach to cutting energy sector climate pollution, and we look forward to working with them and other climate and energy leaders to create durable, equitable policy solutions that meet the urgency of the climate crisis.”

               —Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation

“As one of our nation’s largest energy providers, Duke Energy is committed to taking a leadership role in addressing the serious issue of climate change. Building on our significant progress of reducing CO2 emissions by 39% below 2005, we continue to work toward our ambitious goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Doing so while maintaining affordability and reliability for our customers is critical, particularly as we work with our customers and communities through this challenging time.

“Bipartisan efforts like this are critical in helping our industry deliver a clean energy future for all Americans. While Duke Energy understands and respects that there are different perspectives on how to achieve this future, we applaud Rep. McKinley and Rep. Schrader for their leadership on such a critical issue, and we remain committed to engaging in efforts that help develop a path forward.”

             —Tom Craig, Vice President of Federal Government Affairs, Duke Energy

“ACEEE is supportive of the McKinley-Schrader effort as it seeks to advance innovation while providing a backstop that ensures that substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions take place. We appreciate how this bill includes a number of energy efficiency provisions and look forward to working with the sponsors to build upon these provisions going forward.”

            —Steve Nadel, Executive Director, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

“The fastest path to an affordable, reliable, decarbonized electricity system will include nuclear energy alongside wind, solar, and energy storage. Therefore, any policy focused on reducing emissions must support the long-term operation of our nation’s 94 nuclear power reactors by appropriately valuing the emissions-free attributes of nuclear energy.

“Establishing technology-neutral policies and investing in low-carbon technology innovation would foster a level playing field for all clean energy generators, including nuclear energy. We are therefore grateful that Representatives McKinley and Schrader have developed draft legislation that would both support the nuclear reactors we operate today and accelerate the deployment of potentially game-changing new nuclear technologies to power a cleaner energy future.”

            —Maria Korsnick, president and CEO, Nuclear Energy Institute

“Reps. McKinley (R-WV) and Schrader (D-OR)’s proposal is an encouraging step forward for federal energy and climate policy. Notably, the proposal combines immediate clean energy innovation programs with long-term national decarbonization targets for the power sector. We look forward to working with Congress to advance this important bipartisan effort.”

          —Sasha Mackler, Bipartisan Policy Center Energy Project

“For more than a century, Southern Company has been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. We continue our industry-leading research and development, focusing on technologies that benefit customers and lower greenhouse gas emissions.  Representatives McKinley and Schrader have come together with a pragmatic approach for investment in clean energy innovation and infrastructure development.  We appreciate the opportunity to engage in stakeholder outreach and agree technology innovation is the solution to continued decarbonization for the economy.”

          —Southern Company


Below is an excerpt from a blog post from NRDC:

There’s a new and noteworthy bipartisan partnership on Capitol Hill pushing for action on climate. In an op ed published in USA Today, Reps. David McKinley, Republican of West Virginia, and Kurt Schrader, Democrat of Oregon, write, “We have to end the partisan battle over climate change by building a new framework that is fair to the workers, to communities, and to all American families while protecting our environment.” Doing this, they write, “will show the nation that Congress can still come together to meet the great challenges of our time.”

This bipartisan collaboration is an important step. The concept they are proposing would advance clean energy in the power sector by combining a major federal investment in low carbon technologies with national standards that ensure we reduce the carbon pollution that is driving dangerous changes in our climate.


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