The Democrats have rallied around Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) Green New Deal, a resolution calling for the radical transformation of the U.S. economy and infrastructure. Republicans are now responding with their own ideas for what environmental stewardship looks like ahead of the 2020 election.
Breitbart News asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office about the GOP’s plans on climate matters, including legislation that would capitalize on trees and their benefit to the environment, combating plastic pollution, tax incentives for carbon sequestration, and energy infrastructure, including pipelines.
A spokesperson for McCarthy said that while the legislation being introduced is timely as people get ready to vote in 2020, it is nothing new and is distinctly conservative.
“Conservatives have always cared about the environment,” the spokesperson said. “We believe in responsibly developing the resources our land offers to make sure the United States is not only energy independent but energy dominant.”
“We also take seriously our responsibility of conserving our God-given resources and land for future generations to also prosper from,” the spokesperson said. “This is our vision for a clean environment and prosperous America.”
Republicans plan to start the campaign with the Trillion Trees Act, legislation Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AK) is crafting. The bill is designed to use trees to capture carbon dioxide.
The idea has powerful backers. President Trump endorsed the concept this week, announcing the U.S. would join a 1 trillion trees initiative launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The concept spawned from remarks by an ecologist last year at a meeting held by the American Association for the Advancement of Science who said that planting 1.2 trillion trees could “cancel out” the last decade of the world’s carbon emissions.
McCarthy’s spokesperson told Breitbart News about the legislation that will be rolled out over the next few months:
The Plastics Act: “Eight million metric tons of plastic enter the rivers every year. Ten river systems carry around 90 percent of the plastic waste that ends up in the oceans from rivers – none of which are in the United States. This bill takes that problem head on by redirecting foreign aid to clean up these rivers and to encourage market solutions to involve local populations. Part of this includes prioritizing coordination with the private and public sectors to incorporate market-based solutions in these developing countries, specifically women and marginalized communities — such as plastic banks.”
Tax Incentives legislation: “Expanding and making permanent the successful 45Q program builds on success and will spur the next wave of carbon sequestration innovation. This provision adds an additional tier to the credit that recognizes the higher value of direct capture compared to other forms of sequestration.”
Legislation to address agriculture’s role in a healthy environment: “Precision farming is one of the key ways our rural and agricultural communities can be involved in reducing emissions. This provision helps farmers overcome the barriers to new farming techniques that reduce emissions and energy through public-private partnerships, infrastructure upgrades including broadband access, and increased incentives for innovative farming technology.
Energy infrastructure: “In addition to making sure the US can continue to produce cleaner, abundant, affordable natural gas, Republicans are committed building energy infrastructure to make sure pipelines can safely carry the energy families need to heat their homes and power their businesses.”
Nuclear energy: “No plan to reduce emissions is complete without looking to the next wave of innovation in nuclear energy – the only reliable zero emissions energy source. Our bill will cut through the bureaucratic red tape and incentivize next generation advanced nuclear reactors, invest in the research tools needed for next generation nuclear fuels and technologies, and incentivize the development and export of advanced nuclear reactors that will reduce emissions around the world.”
Carbon Capture Technology: “Developing affordable, efficient carbon capture technologies will maximize the use of America’s vast fossil energy resources into the future. By establishing a carbon research hub, demonstrating carbon capture and storage technologies, and reducing the barriers for industry to deploy these technologies, our bill will support the development of affordable and efficient carbon capture technologies, and encourage the use of American made technology around the world.”
The spokesperson told Breitbart News that there is a stark contrast between the Democrats’ Green New Deal — endorsed by all of the Democrat 2020 presidential candidates — and the GOP’s approach.
“The Democrats want to decimate our economy and way of life through their dangerous Green New Deal,” the spokesperson said. “Instead, with conservative policies — like lifting the oil export ban and exporting liquefied natural gas — our economy is thriving, we are energy independent, and our influence around the world is stronger – all while the U.S. has reduced emissions more than the next 12 nations combined over the past decade. This vision extends that leadership to new technologies and clean energy.”
“The American oil and gas story is the most important energy and environmental story in the last century,” the spokesperson said. “That’s happened from the technology and innovation that conservatives have championed for years.”
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