Chairman Rush Highlights Accomplishments of Energy Subcommittee

Dec 16, 2019
Press Release
The Energy Subcommittee held 10 hearings, two markups, and passed 11 bills.

WASHINGTON — With the first year of the 116th Congress coming to an end, Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), along with Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), commended the Energy Subcommittee for its work to advance energy efficiency, invest in a diverse clean energy workforce, transition the U.S. to a clean energy economy and improve public safety and security.  In total, the Energy Subcommittee held 10 hearings, two markups and passed 11 bills.

“It’s been a productive year for the Energy Subcommittee, where we tackled big, pressing challenges head-on and set the country on a path toward a clean energy economy in the process,” said Pallone and Rush.  “Together we worked to combat the growing climate crisis with multiple climate hearings and sweeping investments in both energy efficiency and a diverse clean energy workforce.  We also put public health and safety first with critical improvements to our nation’s pipeline infrastructure. In 2020, we look forward to making even more progress for the people.”

Investing in a diverse clean energy workforce:

  • Passed H.R. 1315, the “Blue Collar and Green Collar Jobs Development Act,” out of both the Subcommittee and Full Committee.  The bill invests in a diverse workforce, training a new generation in the areas of wind energy, energy efficiency, and grid modernization — the very areas in greatest need of support as we transition to clean energy.

Tackling climate change by investing in energy efficiency:

  • Passed five bills out of the Subcommittee and Full Committee to make our country’s energy infrastructure more efficient with substantial investments in weatherization and efficiency.  Several of the bills, such as the “Weatherization Enhancement and Local Energy Efficiency Investment and Accountability Act,” empowered state and local governments to improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings, helping to lower energy bills and reduce carbon pollution.

Enhancing the security of our electric grid:

  • Passed four bills out of the Subcommittee and Full Committee to enhance the security of our nation’s energy infrastructure by protecting it against cyberattacks.  Collectively, the bills modernize the electric grid by investing in much-needed upgrades, create a new Department of Energy (DOE) program to enhance the physical and cyber security of electric utilities, and establish a new DOE Assistant Secretary position with jurisdiction over all energy emergency and security functions.

Improving public safety and security by reauthorizing the federal pipeline safety program:

  • Passed out of the Subcommittee and Full Committee sweeping improvements to safeguard the environment, combat climate change, and protect the American people from unsafe pipelines.  H.R. 3432, the SAFER Pipelines Act, rebalances the law in favor of people rather than industry, including by preventing the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back methane rules critical for protecting public health.

Combatting the climate crisis and setting the U.S. on a path to a 100 percent clean economy:

  • Announced a bold new plan to combat the climate crisis.  In July, the Full Committee announced it was adopting a bold new target in its fight against climate change —achieving a 100 percent clean economy by 2050.  This ambitious target of net zero greenhouse gas pollution by 2050 is consistent with the global scientific community’s consensus that meeting this target is necessary to avoid the most catastrophic effects of the climate crisis.  To ensure this goal is met, the Subcommittee held two climate hearings on the buildings and power sectors, which focused on what technologies and changes industry must adopt in order to achieve net zero greenhouse gas pollution.  Part of the Full Committee’s overarching commitment to a 100 percent clean economy, these hearings also examined what policy tools Congress should use to assist U.S. industry in their transition.

Fighting for a clean energy future:

  • Introduced the LIFT America Act and held a Full Committee legislative hearing on the comprehensive infrastructure bill.  The legislation invests $33 billion in clean energy, including $4 billion to upgrade the U.S. electric grid to accommodate more renewable energy and make it more resilient.  It also includes $4 billion for the expansion of renewable energy use, including $2.25 billion for the installation of solar panels in low-income and underserved communities.  LIFT America also includes $23 billion for energy efficiency efforts — namely retrofitting and weatherizing buildings, including schools and homes, to ensure they produce fewer carbon emissions – and funding the nationwide deployment of more clean energy fuels. 

Demanding answers from Department of Energy on missed energy efficiency deadlines:

  • Held a hearing with DOE officials demanding to know why they are failing to finalize or update 16 different efficiency standards as required by law.  Energy efficiency standards not only save consumers money on their energy bills, they are also a critical tool in reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

Holding the Trump Administration accountable for proposed changes to nuclear reactor safety:

  • Sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) demanding answers for its proposed revision of the Reactor Oversight Process (ROP) — the program that manages the safety measures governing nuclear power plants.  Committee leaders expressed deep concern with a number of fundamental changes, including NRC’s proposal to replace independent inspector assessments with industry self-assessments and arbitrarily reducing the frequency of core inspections.  The NRC responded by walking back several of the changes and vowing to open the proposal up for public comment.