Sep 8, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Green groups get specific on reconciliation climate ask

Illustration of a pencil morphing into a thermometer.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Environmental groups are laying out funding levels they want for energy pieces of the big spending-and-tax package Democrats hope to move on a party-line vote that faces huge political hurdles.

Driving the news: An open letter from 20 groups lays out estimates for the programs that would create a "clear path" to cutting U.S. emissions in half by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.

Some key items include:

  • $191-$265 billion for clean electricity tax credits.
  • $37-$120 billion in incentives for electric vehicle purchases.
  • At least $150 billion for the "clean electricity payment program" that would push utilities to speed up clean power deployment.
  • They estimate that a proposed fee on oil-and-gas producers' methane emissions would raise $10-$20 billion.

The big picture: CNN, which first obtained the letter, tallied the estimates and they total $577-$746 billion.

Groups including the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Environmental Defense Fund's political arm are on the open letter.

Yes, but: Senate Democratic leaders don't have a clear path for moving their $3.5 trillion plan through the 50-50 Senate.

  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) wants a "pause" on the reconciliation effort and, via Axios' Hans Nichols, wants to cut the size and scope of social spending provisions.
  • A new letter to lawmakers from oil-and-gas and business groups warns against a "punitive fee" on industry methane emissions.
  • The letter, led by the American Petroleum Institute, says it could "jeopardize affordable and reliable energy" while doing little to cut emissions, and says EPA's direct federal regulation without the new fee is the better approach.
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