This time the bill was held hostage by $100 million needed for emergency disaster aid. Republicans wouldn’t approve those funds unless they were offset by spending cuts.
After a searing attack by Rep. Issa (R-CA) in a hearing on renewable energy subsidies yesterday, Republicans found their offset. The bill they passed last night strips $100 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee program for renewable energy companies.
They also stripped $1.5 billion from DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which supports car manufacturers retooling to make energy-efficient vehicles.
Also Passes TRAIN Act
Today, the House also passed the dreaded TRAIN Act (H.R. 2401 -Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation), one of the most heinous laws to date, which completely undercuts the US Clean Air Act. It delays the clean-up of toxic power plant pollution at least until 2018.
It requires analysis of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, and blocks mercury, soot and other pollutant standards for power plants from being released until the analysis is complete. Those standards were about to be released.
An amendment prevents the government’s ability to establish any new standards based on medical science, overturning a Supreme Court 9-0 decision that the EPA must consider health alone when setting standards for widespread pollutants.
Every Republican supported it, as did nine Democrats in the 245-175 vote.
The TRAIN Act is part of the GOP’s alleged jobs plan – they say corporations will create jobs if they are free from regulations. Next in the GOP’s crosshairs are protections that would limit toxic pollution from cement plants and other industrial polluters.
The bill now moves to the Senate, and President Obama says he veto it.
“Opponents of these common sense rules make the patently false argument that we can’t have both clean air and a strong economy. Actually, analysis has shown that the economic benefits of enforcing the Clean Air Act outweigh the costs 30 to 1. The same protections that the TRAIN Act strips have been widely supported by responsible corporations. Companies across the country are eagerly waiting to supply the equipment to achieve these new clean air goals – and create jobs in the process, ” says Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
“Some of the House members voting against healthy air today may really believe the misleading notion that public health protections kill jobs. But many are old enough to know better – because they voted in favor of these same common-sense environmental rules two decades ago, and they saw the ones that were put into place cut pollution ahead of schedule and at a fraction of the estimated cost – and create jobs in the process. Yet these same members are now voting against the successful regulations they championed in 1990,” continues EDF.
During yesterday’s hearing, Rep. Issa (R-CA) accused the Obama administration of waging a “war on carbon-based energy” and exaggerating claims of new “green jobs.”
Dan Shugar, CEO of Solaria Corp. and Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy told reporters during a conference call that the Solyndra investigation is creating “far too many misconceptions,” about the state of the solar industry, leading people to believe it’s struggling.
Harris countered that Solyndra is a victim of the industry’s success, which is growing at a phenomenal pace, and is thus subject to plunging prices, similar to other once-costly technologies such as cell phones and digital cameras, which are now ubiquitous.
Shugar noted that solar is now cheaper than peak-load natural-gas and is on the cusp of becoming a mainstream energy source. The industry now employs 100,000 workers, he said, “more Americans than work in coal or iron and steel manufacturing.”
Read our coverage of Solyndra-gate: