Dec 22 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, highlighted significant climate provisions included in the end of the year spending bill – known as the “omnibus” appropriations bill – that will aid in the nation’s fight against the climate crisis, improve air quality and support American manufacturing jobs.
“These provisions represent the future of climate solutions, finding ways that the federal government can help to save our planet from the climate crisis while creating hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing jobs. We can ensure American workers lead the national transition to a clean economy. We can embrace the ingenuity and innovation of American industries while protecting vulnerable communities. We can enact sweeping, national climate policies that implicate our everyday ways of life without complicating our lives. We can, we must, and we will,” Senator Carper said. “Make no mistake, these provisions will soon be some of the most significant climate legislation to pass out of Congress to date—and we’re just getting started.”
Legislation creates nationwide phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases.
Included in the omnibus is an amended version of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, Senator Carper’s legislation with Senator Kennedy (R-La.) that will implement a nationwide 85 percent phasedown on the production and importation of hydrofluorocarbons, potent greenhouse gases known as HFCs. By enabling the U.S. to join the rest of the world in phasing down HFCs, this language will help our planet avoid half a degree Celsius in global warming while supporting U.S. industries already making the next generation of HFC-alternatives, which employ more than 593,000 Americans. The AIM Act would:
- Save American consumers $3.7 billion over 15 years;
- Increase U.S. manufacturing output by almost $39 billion over seven years; and,
- Result in the creation of 150,000 more American jobs.
“HFCs can be found in nearly every home in America. They are the coolants and refrigerants used in air conditioning and refrigerators. But while HFCs keep our homes cool and our groceries cold, they heat up our planet with a global warming effect thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. The good news, though, is that the next generation of climate-friendly HFC replacements are already being made in America and sold throughout the world. The AIM Act will help us seize the opportunity that comes with building on those investments,” Senator Carper said. “By joining the rest of the world to phase down these potent greenhouse gases, the U.S. will reap nearly $39 billion in annual economic benefits while helping the planet avoid a half degree Celsius in global warming. The AIM Act will ensure American workers and businesses lead the nationwide phase down of these potent greenhouse gases, and that American industries lead the global market in HFC-alternatives. At the same time, it will help to protect and create hundreds of thousands of American jobs. This is a big deal for our economy and our planet. I thank Senator Kennedy for his partnership in rallying the Senate to get this bill across the finish line.”
Legislation provides critical new clean energy tax credits.
The omnibus legislation includes an amended version of Carper’s legislation with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act. The investment tax credit for offshore wind is extended for five years and the offshore wind investment tax credit is retroactively restored to 30 percent, similar to the Carper-Collins legislation. For ten years, Senators Carper and Collins have tried to provide long-term tax incentives for investments in offshore wind, this win will spark more investments in offshore wind power, critical for our fight against climate change and in support of economic recovery.
The omnibus legislation includes yet another clean energy tax priority for Senator Carper, support for waste heat to power. By including an amended version of Senator Carper’s legislation with Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the Waste Heat to Power Investment Tax Credit Act, the omnibus legislation creates a new tax credit incentive to support technologies that convert wasted heat to electricity is also included in the omnibus. The new tax credit– which is supported by the United Steelworkers International, steel producers, businesses and clean energy advocates – will save manufacturers billions of dollars in energy costs and create thousands of American jobs.
Other critical tax extender provisions are also secured in the omnibus. All energy investment tax credits (ITCs) under section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code are extended, including critical ITC extensions for stationary fuel cells and solar power
“To support the rapid nationwide deployment of cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy like offshore wind waste heat to power technologies, we need to ensure American companies and manufacturers have the certainty and predictability they need today to make significant investments for the long-term,” Senator Carper said. “Too often, innovators have the technology at their fingertips but daunting upfront costs discourage businesses from making the investments needed to deploy those technologies. By creating and extending these clean energy tax credits, and creating new ones, we can support the innovators that are already working to harness the power of wind, absorb the energy of the sun, and transform wasted industrial heat to clean electricity. I am especially pleased to see tax credits for offshore wind and waste heat to power technologies, I’ve fought long and hard with my colleagues to get these credits adopted.”
Legislation supports cleaner air and better climate by reauthorizing the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act.
Senator Carper’s legislation with Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, is also included in the omnibus bill. This provision will reauthorize the popular, cost-effective DERA program that helps to finance the replacement of older diesel engines with cleaner, American-made technology. The provision reauthorizes the DERA program through fiscal year 2024 at its current authorization funding levels.
“The great thing about diesel engines is that they last a long time—and the bad thing about diesel engines is that they last a long time. Newer diesel engines are reliable and efficient, but the older ones are some of our nation’s biggest contributors to smog, soot and black carbon air pollution. The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act creates financial incentives for people to replace or retrofit their older diesel engines with clean, American-made technology,” Senator Carper said. “Since I first introduced DERA with the late Senator George Voinovich 15 years ago, the law has become one of EPA’s most effective clean air program on the books today. For every dollar spent in the DERA program, our nation sees $13 in economic and health benefits. It helps to clean the air in our communities, create good-paying American jobs in domestic manufacturing and protect our planet from the climate crisis.”
DERA was first established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and was originally co-authored by Senator Carper and the late Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio).
“Since the passing of Senator Voinovich, my DERA ‘wingman’ in the Senate has been Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma,” Senator Carper continued. “I thank Senator Inhofe for his partnership on this important piece of legislation.”
In the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Fourth Report to Congress on DERA’s performance, the agency reported that, nationwide, DERA grants have funded projects to replace or retrofit 67,300 engines in vehicles, boats, trains, and other pieces of equipment. Over the lifetime of those engines, EPA estimates that those projects will:
- Prevent up to 2,300 premature deaths
- Create up to $19 billion in monetized health benefits, a return-on-investment of more than $30 for every one dollar spent
- Save over 454 million gallons of fuel; and,
- Slash harmful emissions, including:
- 472,700 tons of NOx,
- 15,490 tons of particulate matter, and,
- 5,089,170 tons of carbon dioxide.
Legislation supports investments in carbon capture, utilization and sequestration, including direct air capture.
The Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act is also included in the omnibus bill. The USE IT Act supports carbon utilization and direct air capture research.
“We need to use every tool at our disposal to rapidly reduce emissions and avoid the irreversible consequences of the worsening climate crisis. Carbon capture, utilization and sequestration, or CCUS, technologies are critical as we transition to a net-zero economy here in the United States,” Senator Carper said. “The USE IT Act will help lower the market barriers to widespread development and deployment of carbon capture. Boosting this emerging industry is one way we can support American manufacturers and industries in the national transition to a clean economy and the global movement to a carbon-free world.”
Senator Carper is an original cosponsor of USE IT Act, which was co-authored by EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).