Reps. Kamlager-Dove, Ocasio-Cortez, and Ross Introduce CLEAN Energy NOW Acts
Washington, D.C. – Top Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee today introduced the CLEAN Energy NOW Acts to advance clean energy development on our public lands and waters by repealing ties to fossil fuel leasing requirements mandated by last year’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA includes $369 billion for climate and clean energy, the biggest investment in history. However, provisions that tie clean energy to fossil fuel development increase harmful carbon pollution, put our climate future at risk, and place environmental justice communities in harm’s way.
The Comprehensive Legislation for Expanding and Advancing Nonrestrictive (CLEAN) Energy Act, introduced by Vice Ranking Member Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.), repeals the IRA mandate to hold an onshore oil and gas lease sale in the 120 days prior to issuing an onshore solar or wind right of way.
The Nonrestrictive Offshore Wind (NOW) Act, introduced by Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Ranking Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), along with co-lead Rep. Deborah Ross (D-N.C.), repeals the IRA mandate to hold an offshore oil and gas lease sale in the year prior to issuing an offshore wind lease.
“We cannot save Mother Earth if we continue to do the very thing that is hurting her,” said Rep. Kamlager-Dove. “The CLEAN Energy NOW Acts will allow us to sever our tie to oil and gas and instead harness America’s clean energy opportunities. The Inflation Reduction Act delivered. For too long, Black communities and communities of color have had to disproportionately suffer from dirty air and water and other pollutants from fossil fuels. This legislation will put us on the path to a sustainable, climate-smart future while providing jobs, protecting the health of communities, and bolstering our economy.”
“The NOW Act builds upon the record-breaking climate investments made last year and puts us further down the path of moving beyond a reliance on fossil fuels and toward a more sustainable future,” said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. “The climate crisis is a national emergency for the United States and disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable communities, including indigenous communities and communities of color. In the midst of this crisis, there is no reason that we should require more oil and gas drilling as a prerequisite for building renewables. This legislation will help end the stranglehold oil and gas has kept on our country while enabling good, union jobs in renewable energy development.”
“Offshore wind energy is one the best resources in our toolbox to combat climate change and unleash the power of American clean energy,” said Rep. Deborah Ross. “I was proud that my provision to overturn the previous administration’s 10-year moratorium on offshore wind leasing in North Carolina and other states in the Southeast was included in the historic Inflation Reduction Act, but it simply was not enough. We must unlink harmful oil and gas leasing requirements from landmark clean energy provisions to ensure the United States can advance the development of offshore wind energy and accelerate our nation’s path to a cleaner energy future.”
“A quarter of the country’s carbon pollution already comes from fossil fuel development on our public lands—that’s a trend we need to reverse, not double-down on,” said Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). “Handcuffing clean energy to fossil fuel development threatens our climate goals, risks good-paying jobs, and puts environmental justice communities further in harm’s way. The CLEAN Energy NOW Acts will help us capitalize on the historic climate and clean energy investments of the IRA without forcing unnecessary sacrifices of our environment, our health, and our future. I’m grateful to Vice Ranking Member Kamlager-Dove, Ranking Member Ocasio-Cortez, and Congresswoman Ross for their hard work on these bills.”
Original cosponsors of the CLEAN Energy Act include Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Rep. Summer Lee (D-Penn.), Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-Md.), Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Rep. Don Beyer (Va.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rep. Dina Titus (Nev.), Rep. Valerie Foushee (D-N.C.), Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), Rep. Kevin Mullin (D-Calif.), and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.).
Original cosponsors of the NOW Act include Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Rep. Paul D. Tonko (D-N.Y.), Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Rep. Summer Lee (D-Penn.), Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-Md.), Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Rep. Don Beyer (Va.), Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Rep. Kevin Mullin (D-Calif.), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), and Rep. Valerie Foushee (D-N.C.).
Supporters of the CLEAN Energy Act include Creation Justice Ministries, Earthjustice, Friends of the Earth US, Interfaith Power & Light, League of Conservation Voters, National Parks Conservation Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Port Arthur Community Action Network, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, The Vessel Project of Louisiana, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and Zero Hour.
Supporters of the NOW Act include Creation Justice Ministries, Earthjustice, Friends of the Earth US, Interfaith Power & Light, League of Conservation Voters, National Parks Conservation Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana, Ocean Conservancy, Ocean Defense Initiative, Port Arthur Community Action Network, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, The Wilderness Society, The Vessel Project of Louisiana, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and Zero Hour.
Statements of Support
"The CLEAN Energy Act Bill and The NOW Act are needed urgently as we work against the ever-worsening climate crisis. The U.S needs to be unburdened by fossil fuels as we step into a new era of renewable energy that promotes the health and resilience for God's planet and God's people." - Co-Executive Directors of Creation Justice Ministries, Avery Davis Lamb and Karyn Bigelow.
“The CLEAN Energy and NOW Acts will strike harmful provisions in the IRA that hold clean energy development on our public lands hostage to continued oil and gas leasing,” said Earthjustice Senior Legislative Representative Laura M. Esquivel. “The Inflation Reduction Act is already supercharging clean energy investments and jobs, but has yet to reach its full potential due to mandatory oil and gas leasing that continues exacerbating climate change, polluting our communities, and endangering public health. These pieces of legislation will help our public lands become parts of our climate solutions while ending unnecessary lease sales that disproportionately impact communities of color, Indigenous communities, and those of low-income. We thank Reps. Grijalva, Ocasio-Cortez, Kamlager-Dove, and Ross for helping our energy transition move forward in a more equitable and just way.”
"Renewable energy is the future, but the IRA's tethering provisions force clean energy to carry dirty energy on its back while the world burns. The CLEAN Energy Act and the NOW Act are a critical step towards a safer future for our communities and climate," said Nicole Ghio, Senior Fossil Fuels Program Manager at Friends of the Earth.
“The League of Conservation Voters welcomes the introduction of the CLEAN Energy Act and NOW Act because growing our clean energy future should not be tied to more dirty oil and gas drilling on our public lands and waters. We can’t let dirty fossil fuels harm more communities and get in the way of a just energy transition that creates good-paying jobs and protects our air, our water, and our climate,” said America Fitzpatrick, Conservation Program Director at the League of Conservation Voters.
“As long as renewable energy is tied to the grip of the oil and gas industry, we cannot take decisive strides to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Daniel Hart, clean energy and climate resiliency policy director at the National Parks Conservation Association. “This legislation takes a major step towards achieving our nation’s emissions reduction goals and protecting our national parks from the impacts of climate change. We urge Congress to prioritize these bills, recognizing the potential they hold for a clean energy future.”
“Holding back wind and solar by tying them to the dirty fuels of the past is a lose-lose approach. We can’t address the climate crisis by exacerbating it – and slowing down the things that help us make progress.” - Valerie Cleland, Natural Resources Defense Council
“It is absurd and counterproductive to forcefully hold back the expansion of clean wind energy unless we continue to expand dirty and dangerous offshore drilling. Building offshore wind energy should never come at the cost of more fossil fuels, and this bill allows us to make that a reality. The climate crisis is here, now, and it’s affecting all of us through more frequent and intense weather events charged by fossil fuel use. Our oceans can and should be part of the solution, and the NOW Act is an important step in the right direction,” Oceana Acting Campaign Director Michael Messmer said.
"Oceana is proud to endorse the NOW Act, and we applaud Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and all other members of Congress who understand how important it is to prevent new offshore drilling, promote responsibly developed offshore wind, and begin to shield our communities from the devastating impacts of climate change.”
“By linking clean energy and fossil fuel expansion together, the fossil fuel industry is trying to build itself a lifeline at the cost of our ocean and health. Continued extraction of offshore oil and gas will only worsen the climate crisis, which is already devastating ocean ecosystems, and further puts at risk the health and wellbeing of frontline coastal communities,” said Anna-Marie Laura, Senior Director of Climate Policy at Ocean Conservancy. “There is no reason to allow the fossil fuel industry to continue polluting our homes and ocean when clean energy alternatives are available and ready to go. We need the NOW Act so that we can sever this perverse tie and carry out a just transition to a clean ocean energy future free from fossil fuel pollution.”
“The ocean offers powerful solutions to fight climate change, but continued offshore drilling undermines the advancement of both ocean climate action and environmental justice. The NOW Act will eliminate a problematic provision in current law that desperately attempts to perpetuate fossil fuel energy production and unfairly burden, yet again, Gulf of Mexico and Alaska communities. We are grateful for Representative Ocasio-Cortez's leadership to accelerate the nation’s rapid transition from oil and gas to responsibly-sited and justly-sourced renewable energy projects that minimize impacts to the marine environment and ocean justice communities.” -Jean Flemma, Director, Ocean Defense Initiative
"It never made sense to tie wind and solar development to oil and gas drilling, and this bill is right to end that perverse policy. The Inflation Reduction Act made historic investments to promote renewable energy, but it also included some harmful pro-fossil fuel measures, such as mandating certain amounts of oil and gas drilling on federal lands and waters,” said David Arkush, climate program director of Public Citizen. “During a summer of devastating, record-breaking climate disasters around the globe, Congress must promote a rapid transition to renewable energy and decrease—not increase—fossil fuel production.”
“From record-shattering heat waves to increasingly devastating natural disasters, the effects of the climate crisis are only getting more serious. One only has to look at public lands to see the devastating effects climate change has on our lands, our waters, our wildlife, and our communities,” said Mahyar Sorour, Director of Beyond Fossil Fuels Policy at Sierra Club. “We need to transition to a clean energy economy now, and that means ending fossil fuel lease sales on public lands and waters. Passing the CLEAN Energy Act and the NOW Act would transform public lands and waters from casualties of climate change to some of our greatest tools in facing this crisis.”
“We need the CLEAN Energy Act and the NOW Act to right the wrong of the unfortunate tradeoff in the IRA that tied renewable energy growth to oil and gas leasing for the next ten years,” said Justin Meuse, Director of Government Relations at The Wilderness Society. “We’re in an environmental justice and climate crisis now because for too long, public lands policies have skewed toward supporting an economy addicted to fossil fuels. Tying responsible renewable energy development on public lands to activities that perpetuate that toxic addiction only delays the just energy transition we so desperately need.”
“As communities across the country battle record temperatures and extreme weather events, it’s clear that our reliance on fossil fuels must end. Continued fossil fuel extraction on public lands, mandated by the Inflation Reduction Act, is incompatible with stopping the worst impacts of the climate crisis. The NOW Act and The CLEAN Energy Act are critical pieces of legislation that will allow the advancement of renewable energy without simultaneously making concessions to Big Oil,” said Aaditi Lele, Zero Hour Policy Director.
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