“Combating climate change cannot continue to be a partisan issue. There will be no progress unless we put political messaging aside and work on real, bipartisan solutions.” Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Cathy McMorris Rodgers, U.S. Representative for Washington State's 5th Congressional District, promoted hydropower at a meeting of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee markup Jan. 8.

McMorris Rodgers said there would be “no way” to reach new goals of reducing carbon emissions “without embracing what hydropower is contributing and the potential of it to do even more.”

The Clean Future Act outlines the U.S. achieving a 100 percent clean economy by 2050 (see below).

McMorris Rodgers said hydropower is the largest renewable in America; with a huge capacity to expand hydro electricity, which is a clean, renewable and reliable source of electricity.

“We could double hydropower without even building a new dam, because only three percent of the dams actually produce hydro electricity,” said McMorris Rodgers, adding that in addition to helping the U.S. reach the goals laid out in the Clean Future Act, it would create a lot of jobs.

“Clearly hydropower is an essential component to any clean energy plan,” said McMorris Rodgers.

She emphasized that funding was not the roadblock to increasing hydropower output, but rather the licensing process.

“The licensing currently takes, on average, 10 years,” said McMorris Rodgers. “Compare that to a natural gas facility in America that takes, on average, 18 months. So we are dealing with a regulatory process that needs to be addressed.”

McMorris Rodgers said hydropower is a solution for increasing clean energy, reducing emissions and combating climate change not just in the Pacific Northwest, but all over the country.

“Almost every state utilizes some form of hydro in their energy portfolios,” said McMorris Rodgers.

She said in previous years she has introduced legislation around hydropower policy modernization which would “provide relief from these costly and time-consuming regulations,” while encouraging more incentive in hydropower.

“Last congress, this legislation was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support,” said McMorris Rodgers. “Combating climate change cannot continue to be a partisan issue. There will be no progress unless we put political messaging aside and work on real, bipartisan solutions.”

She said lead Republican Greg Walden has highlighted “many bipartisan bills that we could pass today that would make a real impact,” including hydropower re-licensing reform.

“So I urge continued focus and commitment to including hydropower,” she stated.

Created in Congress in 1795, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is the oldest continuous standing committee in the House. It was originally established as the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures to regulate interstate and foreign commerce. It is currently made up of 19 Democrats and 13 Republicans. Democrat Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) serves as the current chairman of the committee.

 CLEAN Future Act: 100 by 50

Energy and Commerce Committee leaders released the framework of the Clean Future Act Jan. 8. The act is designed to have the U.S. achieve a 100 percent Clean Economy by 2050.

The framework details deep decarbonization strategies for each sector of the U.S. economy, with new concepts for achieving nationwide net-zero greenhouse gas pollution no later than 2050.

The CLEAN Future Act proposes sector-specific and economy-wide solutions to address the climate crisis, including both proven and novel concepts.

The framework results from the Committee's ongoing work to address the climate crisis, after holding 15 hearings including seven focusing on facilitation of deep carbonization of various sectors of the economy.

Draft legislation includes the following key areas: power sector, building sector, transportation sector, industrial sector, state climate plans, national climate bank and environmental justice.

Legislative text of the draft CLEAN Future Act will be released by the end of the month.  Hearings and stakeholder meetings will continue throughout the year.

The CLEAN Future Act also features a suite of complementary policies, including proposals to remove barriers to clean energy, reduce super pollutants like methane, and investments in grid modernization and energy efficiency programs.

The Committee is requesting feedback and recommendations from all stakeholders as it continues to expand and refine the CLEAN Future Act.  To that end, hearings and stakeholder meetings will continue throughout the coming year.  Potential 2020 hearing topics include adaptation and climate resilience, workforce and community transition, recycling and waste management, and international cooperation.  Feedback can be submitted to CleanFuture@mail.house.gov.

The legislative framework is available HERE.

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