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House Passes a Clean Energy Bill

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The House of Representatives passed a broad bill that intends to help the U.S. boost energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in an effort to combat climate change. The Hill says the chamber passed the 900-page Clean Energy and Jobs Innovation Act by a 220-185 vote.

The legislation intends to create research and development programs for different forms of energy, including solar, wind, advanced geothermal energy, and hydroelectric power, as well as new ways to lower pollution from fossil fuel production. The bill also establishes more rigorous building codes and bolsters energy efficiency requirements and weatherization programs.

A similar energy innovation bill was introduced in the Senate earlier this year but seemed to stall until recently. The Senate bill is moving again after lawmakers agreed on an amendment seeking to phase down the use of a type of greenhouse gas.

A senior House Democratic aide tells The Hill that if the Senate can pass its own bill, the chambers can go to conference to settle any disagreements. While Democrats support the bill, Republicans point out that it will cost over $135 billion. Three House GOP members says the bill is “full of government mandates that will make Americans pay more money for everything from the vehicles they drive to heating and cooling their homes.”

Growth Energy is happy about the inclusion of the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act contained in the clean energy legislation. The act was authored by House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson, along with representatives from other ag states like South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas.

It is designed to bring much-needed transparency to the Environmental Protection Agency’s secretive small refinery exemption process and ensure refiners meet biofuel blending requirements.

“After years of EPA mismanagement, the legislation will finally give farmers and biofuel producers a long-overdue peek at EPA’s secretive and destructive process,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.

The National Biodiesel Board is also pleased that the act is included in the House clean energy bill. The provision would set a June 1 deadline for annual small refinery exemption petitions, ensuring they’ll be accounted for in the RFS calculations. Also, the bill would require public disclosure of the volumes of biofuels potentially impacted by the petition, along with the name of the petitioner.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB VP of Federal Affairs, says, “This is a commonsense step to ensure that RFS biomass-based diesel volumes are fully met and prevent a recurrence of the demand destruction for biodiesel that we’ve seen for the last seven years.”