As the Senate considers a broad energy policy package that would encourage increased fossil fuel extraction and consumption, more than 350 national, statewide and local groups sent a letter to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer today calling on him to lead opposition to the bill – S. 1460, the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 – and ultimately prevent its passage.
The letter, organized by the advocacy group Food & Water Watch, states in part: “No energy legislation is better than bad energy legislation that serves to increase our dependence on dirty fossil fuel production instead of building on successful policies to expand clean energy sources… We find it astounding that any energy bill could contain a ‘Renewables’ subtitle but not include provisions on solar and wind energy.”
The letter is signed by notable national organizations including: Food & Water Watch, League of Women Voters, Our Revolution, CREDO, Working Families Party, Friends of the Earth and Center for Biological Diversity.
“This energy bill is long-term commitment pledge between America and the fossil fuel industry, and it will hasten our reckless advance toward climate chaos,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “The bill doesn’t even mention solar or wind energy. It’s simply a license to continue fracking, continue polluting, and continue cooking our planet. Senator Schumer must marshal resistance to this dangerous legislation immediately.”
Among the many pro-fossil fuel provisions in the bill are: streamlining the approval process for liquid natural gas export terminals; expediting the review of new oil and gas drilling and fracking permits; granting new authority and deference to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a rubber-stamp approver of natural gas infrastructure projects; and expanding research and development for extracting methane hydrates.
“This is a dirty bill that makes it easier for polluters to contaminate our air and water, said Chris Carson, president of League of Women Voters. “Instead of pursuing harmful legislation that will destroy our precious natural resources and move our country backward on our dependence on fossil fuels, Congress should be working to promote clean energy policies that put people before polluters.”
“We’ve come to expect Donald Trump to put frackers and big oil above the American people. What makes no sense is that Senator Cantwell is helping him advance his extreme agenda by pushing a dirty energy bill,” said Ben Schreiber, senior political strategist at Friends of the Earth. “Americans are in the streets rejecting not only Trump but also those in Congress who are enabling his extreme agenda.”
“Given the Trump administration’s blatant disregard for climate science, public health and the future of our planet, it’s more imperative than ever that Senator Schumer and Senate Democrats stand firm and resist this legislation,” said Dan Cantor, national director of Working Families Party. “The bill would deepen our dependence on dirty fossil fuels and forestall the rapid transition to clean, renewable energy which we know is critical to avoiding climate catastrophe.”
“Despite its title, the Energy Modernization Act would only increase our dependence on fossil fuels. That’s unacceptable,” said Shannon Jackson, executive director of Our Revolution. “The evidence is clear, climate change is real. For the sake of this generation and those to come, we must swiftly transition away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. Our Revolution will continue to fight for real solutions to our energy crisis and to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change.”
“This energy bill is, at its core, a bad bill that expands upon the billions of taxpayer dollars already given to the fossil fuel industry,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This special interest bonanza would take our country and our people in the wrong direction. It’s about more fracking, more dangerous exploitation of public lands and waters, and more environmental rollbacks. With all the economic and ecological opportunities provided by renewable energy, why is this bill embracing such a dirty future?”