Chair Castor, Committee Members Urge Climate Action In Coronavirus Package
WASHINGTON (March 20, 2020) - Led by Chair Kathy Castor (D-FL), the Democratic members of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis sent a letter to House Leadership and key House committee chairs on Friday to thank them for their swift action to help families in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, and to urge them to enact climate solutions and protect the clean energy sector in upcoming economic stimulus legislation.
"In responding to this crisis, we must be careful not to exacerbate the ongoing climate crisis. We must strongly oppose misguided or surreptitious attempts to boost polluters at the expense of the public health," the letter reads. "Instead, we should look for solutions that can also move us toward a clean energy economy and to a healthier, stronger and more just America. We have a few ideas."
The letter includes the following recommendations:
- Keep workers on critical jobs supporting resilient power supplies for our hospitals, distributed energy, water/wastewater systems, telecommunications and other critical infrastructure;
- Extend start construction and safe harbor deadlines for renewable energy tax credits;
- Provide a direct pay or refundability option for renewable tax credits;
- Increase federal support for public transit systems so that essential employees can get to work;
- Increase funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) as necessary;
- Strengthen supply chains for medical supplies and equipment for extreme weather and climate impacts; and
- Ensure FEMA, states, and local emergency managers have the resources needed to respond to the coronavirus and maintain capabilities to respond to disasters like the Nashville tornadoes and the Utah earthquake.
"When the worst of the COVID crisis has passed and America goes back to work, climate solutions can help drive economic recovery," the letter reads. "Congress should consider extending investment and production tax credits for clean energy and expanding them to include critical technologies like energy storage. Investing in public transit and electric vehicles would create new jobs and reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector. Protecting communities at risk from the impacts of climate change and building more resilient communities and infrastructure would spark local economic development and better prepare America for future climate-fueled disasters. Of course, we should also focus recovery efforts on creating high-quality, family-sustaining jobs and overcoming the environmental injustice that many communities suffer to this day."
The letter was signed by: Chair Kathy Castor; Rep. Ben Ray Lujan; Rep. Suzanne Bonamici; Rep. Julia Brownley; Rep. Jared Huffman; Rep. A. Donald McEachin; Rep. Mike Levin; Rep. Sean Casten; and Rep. Joe Neguse.
The letter was addressed to: Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; Appropriations Committee Chair Nita M. Lowey; Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott; Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone; Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter A. DeFazio; and Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal.
Full text of the letter is available here.