ICYMI: Republicans Voice Concerns Regarding Democrats’ Flawed and Regressive Climate Policies

Jul 16, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Select Climate Committee Republicans participated in yesterday’s hearing titled, “Advancing Environmental Justice Through Climate Action.”

In his opening statement, Ranking Member Garret Graves (R-LA) voiced concerns regarding how flawed climate policies can be regressive and exacerbate challenges that disadvantaged communities may face (WATCH HERE):

“When we talk about environmental justice, I think it’s important that we talk about disadvantaged communities. It’s important that we look at policies that have been carried out and use evidence to inform our policies, our bills, our legislation, and our strategies as we move forward to a cleaner energy future in the United States. … I want to cite California because I think it’s an example of how flawed policies can actually be regressive and can actually exacerbate challenges that some of our disadvantaged communities may be experiencing and can cause disproportionate burdens to those communities. In the state of California, a coalition of civil rights leaders have actually sued the state over the regressive impact of climate policies on their disadvantaged communities. As a matter of fact, you can look right now and these programs, these policies have resulted in Californians paying 50 percent more on average for electricity costs and about 80 cents more per gallon to fuel their cars – and that is compared to the national average. As a matter of fact, in the lawsuit that was filed against the state of California citing these regressive policies they say, ‘California’s climate change policies, and specifically those policies that increase the cost and delay or reduce the availability of housing, increase the cost of transportation fuels and intentionally worsen highway congestion and length and commute times, and further increase electricity costs, have caused and will cause unconstitutional and unlawful disparate impacts to California’s minority populations. California’s climate policies guarantee that housing, transportation, and electricity prices will continue to rise while gateway jobs to the middle class for those without college degrees, such as manufacturing and logistics, will continue to locate in other states.’ And I think we’ve seen that California’s policies have resulted in some of the highest emissions growth in the United States and that’s a disturbing trend that you’re causing disproportionate impacts that disadvantage communities and actually resulting in higher emissions."

Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) blasted a recent report of recommendations from the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council established by President Biden (WATCH HERE):

“This council stated that projects like carbon capture, nuclear power, research and development, or any road improvement would not benefit communities. Are you kidding me? These findings are against what I believe, what my colleagues across the aisle generally believe, and that we should all be concerned with that these are the principles that are supposed to guide this administration. If we continue down this same radical path we’re only going to put more people at risk.”

Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) expressed concern over how some vulnerable Americans already spend 25 percent or more of their total income on their electric bill and how under the Biden administration the price of gas has gone up over 28 percent compared to a year ago. During his questioning, he asked witness Derrick Hollie, Founder and President of Reaching America, what this effect will be on vulnerable communities and if this will increase energy poverty in America (WATCH HERE):

Hollie replied, “Absolutely because energy is a fixed price. When price goes up at the pump, you experience that everywhere. Even the cost of a head of lettuce, a gallon of milk, everything goes up when the cost of energy goes up. When you go out to dinner, if you’ve got a couple of extra dollars to spend at a restaurant, your meal is going to go up because it costs more to cook the food on natural gas. So these people will be impacted moreso than anybody else.”

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) discussed how fracking brought down the cost of natural gas in the United States, which lowered heating and cooling costs for Americans. He then cited an example of a community in Illinois where residents can’t afford their utility bills due to the lack of a natural gas pipeline (WATCH HERE):

“I’ve also found there’s another study that says that lower natural gas costs that it’s estimated that it saved about 11,000 Americans from dying during the winter every year. I think of this in the context that, … Pembroke Township in Illinois – a town of 2,100 people and 85 percent are African-American – they don’t have a natural gas pipeline. They’re heating their homes with wood burning stoves and propane because they can’t afford their utility bills.”

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) highlighted the hypocrisy of the Biden administration for labeling carbon emissions as an existential threat that would disproportionately hurt low-income and minority Americans while openly lobbying OPEC to pump more oil knowing that this will bring down the high gas prices currently hurting low-income families. He then went on to ask witness Derrick Hollie about the importance of keeping energy prices affordable for low-income and minority families (WATCH HERE):

Hollie replied, “It’s very important. I think about it – it’s just not me saying this. We have Reverend Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and [National Urban League President] Marc Morial all saying right now that we need natural gas as we transition to clean energy. If we don’t, it’s going to raise the costs for low-income individuals, period.”