Legislation

LEGISLATION

In February 2019, as 100 Democratic freshmen entered the House, the “Green New Deal”, a non-binding proposal to fight climate change (originally promoted by the Sunrise Movement — a coalition of young people), was introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey. Much has been written about the “Deal” including an early editorial by the New York Times . It did not pass but climate moved to center stage.

After the 2020 election, President Biden and the 117th Congress were sworn in. The House remained in Democratic control (222-211)–with two seats vacant (in Louisiana’s 5th district and New York’s 22nd district). Control of the Senate moved to the Democrats (50-50 with the power to cast the tie breaking vote in the hands of Vice-President Kamala Harris) in a run-off election in Georgia on January 5, 2021 when Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock won their Senate races.

In 2021 the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was passed providing historic resources for upgrading the power grid, improving public transit and investing in zero-emission transit and school buses, installing a nationwide EV charging network, cleaning up legacy pollution, replacing lead pipes and delivering clean water. It also helps communities safeguard against extreme weather events, catastrophic wildfires, and other climate-related disasters.

After the 2022 election, the 118th Congress was sworn in. The House flipped back into Republic control (222-212 with one vacancy). Control of the Senate stayed in the hands of the Democrats (50-50) with the power to cast the tie-breaking vote  remaining in the hands of Vice-President Kamala Harris. 

A big win for climate legislation came when the Biden administration passed the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022, to date the most significant climate legislation in U.S. history. It offers funding, programs, and incentives to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and will likely drive significant deployment of new clean electricity resources. 

In 2023 on the heels of the Inflation Reduction Act, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) re-introduced their landmark proposal entitled the “Green New Deal.” The Green New Deal proposes to tackle the climate crisis with a 10-year mobilization that puts millions of Americans to work in good-paying, union jobs. Similar to FDR’s New Deal, these jobs would be focused on strengthening the nation’s public infrastructure as well as tackling pollution and climate damage. This has yet to pass.

Founded in 2016, the Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan United States caucus in the House of Representatives and the Senate whose members are committed to taking action in response to the risks of climate change. This group speaks out and votes as a bloc about climate change issues. This group, made up of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, has introduced legislation to achieve a carbon tax, but some members have not always stayed committed to their climate goals. They have not, as of yet, succeeded in passing any legislation.

CURRENT NEWS

Why Blue States Matter

By Bill McKibben 04/06/24
First of all, immense thanks to all who wrote with kinds words of congratulation about my new grandchild. I confess, it does seem unlikely that with 8 billion people on the planet I would personally…
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Biden Builds a Domestic Green Army

By The Editorial Board 04/02/24
Who says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has no influence? Her vision to mobilize a government Climate Corps to promote green politics is becoming a reality. President Biden wants to shrink the real Army, but his budget…
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How heavy industries contribute to climate change and what can be done to cut emissions

By William Brangham and Shoshana Dubnow 03/29/24
Electricity and transportation each contribute about a quarter of America’s carbon emissions. Thanks to the growth of renewable energy and electric cars, those sectors are starting to get cleaner. Heavy industry is also a major…
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Whitehouse Bill Would Tighten, Clarify Process of Approving Offshore Wind Projects

By Mary Lhowe 01/10/24
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island has released an early draft of a proposed bill that would streamline the process of proposing, permitting, and building offshore wind projects, as well as moving the electricity…
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House Speaker Mike Johnson’s First Big Bill Cuts Biden’s Climate Change Funding

By Ari Natter 10/27/23
The first major legislation House Republicans passed under newly installed Speaker Mike Johnson would cut billions of dollars in consumer rebates for energy efficiency upgrades included in President Joe Biden’s signature climate law...
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New House Speaker Champions Fossil Fuels and Dismisses Climate Concerns

By Lisa Friedman 10/26/23
Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana, the newly elected House speaker, has questioned climate science, opposed clean energy and received more campaign contributions from oil and gas companies than from any other industry last year.
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Update needed for 1872 mining law to boost clean energy, report says

By Timothy Puko 09/12/23
Because of a 151-year-old U.S. mining law, miners hold claims on federal land for years at little cost, work in secret and frequently submit incomplete plans to environmental regulators, according to a new report Tuesday…
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Young environmental activists prevail in first-of-its-kind climate change trial in Montana

By Amy Beth Hanson and Matthew Brown 08/15/23
Young environmental activists scored what experts described as a ground-breaking legal victory Monday when a Montana judge said state agencies were violating their constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment by allowing fossil fuel…
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The U.S. Government Will Pay to Remove Carbon from Atmosphere

By Robinson Meyer 08/04/23
The federal government is preparing to pay companies to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, launching a first-of-its-kind program that could transform the market for the nascent climate technology, according to people familiar with…
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A Republican 2024 Climate Strategy: More Drilling, Less Clean Energy

By Lisa Friedman 08/04/23
During a summer of scorching heat that has broken records and forced Americans to confront the reality of climate change, conservatives are laying the groundwork for future Republican administration that would dismantle efforts to slow…
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Corporate Cash Derails Train Safety Bill

By Matthew Cunningham-Cook and Julia Rock 08/03/23
The company that manufactured the toxic chemicals that were released and incinerated in the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment this winter gave $2 million to the primary Senate GOP super PAC as…
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America is heavily reliant on Russia for nuclear fuel. Congress might change that.

By Maxine Joselow 08/03/23
Nearly a year-and-a-half after Russia launched a brutal invasion of Ukraine, Congress appears poised to reduce America’s reliance on Moscow for uranium, the main fuel used by nuclear power plants.
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KEY RESOURCES

Inflation Reduction Act Methane Emissions Charge: In Brief

09/01/22
On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed H.R. 5376 (P.L. 117-169), a budget reconciliation measure commonly referred to as the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” (IRA). Among other provisions, IRA includes a charge on methane…

Critical Minerals in Electric Vehicle Batteries

08/29/22
Expected growth of electric vehicle (EV) sales has led to concern about securing mineral inputs used in EV batteries. Various countries and companies have stated policies to accelerate the adoption of EVs in the transportation…

Environmental Justice (EJ) Provisions of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act

08/22/22
This table includes provisions with the potential to provide federal benefits to communities with EJ concerns. Direct benefits, where the statute requires benefits to be implemented in or directed towards low-income, tribal, or overburdened communities,…

Modeling The Inflation Reduction Act Using The Energy Policy Simulator

08/18/22
On July 27, 2022, the United States Senate released legislative text for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes $369 billion in funding for climate and clean energy provisions. These emissions-reducing provisions run the gamut…

U.S. Climate Change Policy

10/28/21
The greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere trap radiant energy, warming earth’s surface and oceans. Scientific assessments conclude that GHGs very likely have been the main driver of warming of the earth’s lower atmosphere since…

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Scenarios: Background, Issues, and Policy Relevance

06/08/21
Projecting future climate change, and what drives it, is difficult,with many uncertainties. Computer models, however, can be useful tools for exploring the long-term implications of climate change and evaluating policy options. For example, models can…

Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases: Issues for Congress

06/08/21
On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment andRestoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” Itcontains directives to update the social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG),…

Aji P. v. State of Washington

02/15/21
Our Children’s Trust has supported youth plaintiffs in Washington since 2011, most recently in the youth-led constitutional climate case, Aji P. v. State of Washington. Thirteen youth plaintiffs from across the state of Washington filed…

Tracking the future of US recycling policy in Congress

10/26/20
Spurred by market challenges, the Hill has seen a historic influx of big bills. Keep up on all the latest developments with our legislative tracker.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

02/26/20
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities.

House Committee on Energy & Commerce – Accomplishments

01/29/20
The Energy and Commerce Committee is working to strengthen the economy, reduce costs for consumers, combat climate change and conduct robust oversight of the Trump Administration. Here is a look at some of the action the…

Carbon Pricing as a Solution to Climate Change

02/14/20
FCNL believes that carbon pricing is one of many essential tools that Congress should use to address climate change and shift towards a clean energy economy. While we have not endorsed any particular bill at…

Legislation Tracker

09/04/19
Keep track of bills and resolutions as they move through the House and/or the Senate on their way to passage as law.

Climate Change Laws of the World

07/24/19
Search the databases by selecting the legislation or the litigation search and applying your search criteria. You can also click here to access laws and policies on our interactive map.

MORE NEWS

Senate Democrats pass sweeping healthcare, tax and climate bill

By Jennifer Haberkorn   08/07/22  
Senate Democrats on Sunday passed a sweeping healthcare, tax and climate change bill that will allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs — a significant political win as the party tries to send a message…
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Manchin’s Donors Include Pipeline Giants That Win in His Climate Deal

By Hiroko Tabuchi   08/07/22  
After years of spirited opposition from environmental activists, the Mountain Valley Pipeline — a 304-mile gas pipeline cutting through the Appalachian Mountains — was behind schedule, over budget and beset with lawsuits. As recently as…
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Key Senate vote looms in marathon session on Democrats’ economic bill

By Joan E Grevein   08/07/22  
Democrats drove their election-year economic package toward Senate approval early on Sunday, debating a measure with less ambition than Joe Biden’s original domestic vision but that touches deep-rooted party dreams of slowing global warming, moderating…
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Senate approves Inflation Reduction Act, clinching health and climate bill

By Tony Romm   08/07/22  
The party-line vote marks a major achievement for Democrats, after more than a year of wrangling over a centerpiece of President Biden’s economic agenda. It now awaits a vote in the House.
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The Senate has a climate deal. Now comes the hard part

By Sammy Roth   08/05/22  
After decades of inaction on the climate crisis, the federal government is on the verge of enacting a sweeping plan to slash planet-warming pollution, with Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema agreeing late Thursday to support the…
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Manchin’s price for supporting the climate bill: a gas pipeline in his home state

By Ken Ward Jr. and Alexa Beyer   08/05/22  
To accommodate the West Virginia senator, Democratic leadership agreed to legislation streamlining permits for the often-stalled Mountain Valley Pipeline and removing jurisdiction from a court that keeps ruling against the project.
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What’s in Democrats’ sweeping climate, health care and tax bill

By Justin Tasolides and Angi Gonzalez   08/04/22  
After hours of debate and votes on a nearly endless stream of amendments, Senate Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping climate change, health care and tax bill that delivers on many of the…
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The Best Evidence Yet That the Climate Bill Will Work

By Robinson Meyer   08/04/22  
The Inflation Reduction Act, the surprise deal that Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer struck last week, would significantly reduce greenhouse-gas pollution from the American economy. If passed, the bill would cut…
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The Inflation Reduction Act is a Big Deal. Here’s What it Means for Birds (And You)

By Sarah Rose   08/04/22  
In a move that surprised nearly everyone on Capitol Hill (including, humbly, your friendly neighborhood National Audubon Society policy and comms shops), the Biden Administration’s effort to pass sweeping climate action is back on the…
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Climate bill could spur ​‘market transformation’ in home electrification

By Jeff St. John   08/04/22  
Donnel Baird, CEO of BlocPower, thinks the climate bill unveiled by Senate Democrats last week could transform the country’s home efficiency and electrification markets. It could certainly boost the bottom line for his company and…
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The bean counters who may get superpowers

By Andrew Ross Sorkin   08/04/22  
The Senate could vote as soon as this week on a climate and tax bill that, if passed, would hand a good deal of power to an obscure group of accountants in Norwalk, Conn. Yesterday…
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The best evidence yet that the climate bill will work

By Robinson Meyer   08/04/22  
First we got the bill. Now we have the numbers.The Inflation Reduction Act, the surprise deal that Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer struck last week, would significantly reduce greenhouse-gas pollution from…
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Electricity Is One Part of US Inflation That Congress Can Help Tame

By Nathaniel Bullard   08/04/22  
We are less than a week away from the much-anticipated release of the Consumer Price Index, the key measure of US inflation, for July. As of June, US personal spending on energy goods and services…
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Experts: Cash incentives in climate bill could revolutionize US homes, 1 HVAC at a time

By Kyle Bagenstose   08/04/22  
When key Senate Democrats agreed to a landmark $485 billion climate and health care bill last week, they gave it a name to match kitchen table conversations taking place across the country: The Inflation Reduction…
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Sinema, Democratic leaders reach deal on changes to health and climate bill

By Jennifer Haberkorn   08/04/22  
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said late Thursday she will support moving forward with Democrats’ health, tax and climate bill, a strong sign that the party will be able to advance some of its major policy priorities…
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Democrats scramble for Sinema’s support on climate, health and tax bill

By Tony Romm   08/03/22  
The senator from Arizona, a centrist fiscal hawk, previously has raised concerns with plans to revise federal tax laws.
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Senate climate deal includes NOAA spending boost

By Andrew Freedman   08/03/22  
The fragile Senate climate deal would provide a funding infusion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including for its climate and weather forecasting capabilities. Why it matters: Accurate weather and climate forecasts are even…
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How the climate deal would help farmers aid the environment

By Michael Phillis   08/03/22  
The climate deal reached last week by Senate Democrats could reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that American farmers produce by expanding programs that help accumulate carbon in soil, fund climate-focused research and lower the…
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Methane Reductions Sought by EPA Get Boost From Climate Deal

By Jennifer Hijazi   08/03/22  
The Democratic tax-and-climate economic package announced last week includes a suite of methane directives that are set to bolster the EPA’s regulatory plans to combat a leading source of planet-warming gases.
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Deep in the Democrats’ Climate Bill, Analysts See More Wins for Clean Energy Than Gifts for Fossil Fuel Business

By Marianne Lavelle and Others   08/03/22  
Although Senate leaders have included plenty of favors for the fossil fuel industry in the big climate package they hope to advance this week, most analysts have concluded these concessions amount to consolation prizes in…
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Is the Manchin deal a tipping point for CO2-heavy energy?

By David Laconangelo and Carlos Anchondo   08/03/22  
The sweeping climate and energy package negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin would funnel billions of dollars to decarbonize heavy industries like steel and cement, a…
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U.S. wildfire and heat risks to get new spending under Biden plan

By David Sherfinski   08/03/22  
A 700-plus-page "inflation reduction" bill moving through the U.S. Congress would steer significant new funds toward battling wildfires and extreme heat - climate change-related risks that are wreaking havoc across the country this summer. The…
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Here’s how much Congress’s historic climate bill would actually cut emissions

By Adele Peters   08/02/22  
The massive new climate bill isn’t perfect. But a new analysis from think tank Energy Innovation details just what a difference it would make.
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How the new climate bill would reduce emissions

By Nadja Popovich and Brad Plumer   08/02/22  
A major climate and energy package announced last week in a deal by Senate Democrats would put the United States much closer to its goal of cutting global warming pollution in half by 2030, several…
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How Biden could upend a key perception of his presidency

By Paul Waldman   08/02/22  
The prevailing perception of President Biden’s policy record has been primarily about disappointment. Biden made grand promises as a candidate but found his agenda stymied in a closely divided Congress, leading to persistent political torpor…
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Democrats’ side deal with Manchin would speed up projects, West Virginia gas

By Jeff Stein and Others   08/01/22  
A side agreement reached between Democratic leadership and Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) as part of their broader deal on an economic package would overhaul the nation’s process for approving new energy projects, including by…
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The climate bill won’t stop global warming. But it will clean the air.

By Chris Mooney   08/01/22  
The higher temperatures observed today across the world, implicated in everything from extreme heat to drought and worsening wildfires, are the result of many decades of rising greenhouse gas emissions that trap heat and warm…
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The two-week scramble that saved Democrats’ climate agenda

By Tony Romm   07/30/22  
Five days after talks collapsed around Senate Democrats’ long-stalled package to combat climate change, temperatures were rising — literally and figuratively. It was July 19, and an oppressive heat wave was blanketing the United States.…
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Climate Bill ‘Transformative’ for Auto and Energy Industries

By Jack Ewing and Others   07/29/22  
The $369 billion climate and tax package Democrats in the Senate proposed this week could have far-reaching effects on the kinds of cars that Americans drive, where those cars are made and how the country…
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Manchin’s Climate Bill Includes $27 Billion for a Green Bank. Here’s Why That’s a Big Deal

By Kristoffer Tigue   07/29/22  
For 13 years, Reed Hundt has chased the idea of a national green bank, but to no avail. As CEO of the Coalition for Green Capital, a global incubator for green banks, Hundt has long…
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Climate experts experience an odd sensation after the Manchin budget deal: optimism

By Laura Benshoff   07/29/22  
The nearly $370 billion energy and climate spending deal struck between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and conservative Democrat Joe Manchin would be the single largest federal clean energy investment in U.S. history. While it…
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Seven Key Provisions in the Climate Deal

By Elena Shao   07/28/22  
The climate and tax deal announced by Senate Democrats on Wednesday would pump hundreds of billions of dollars into programs designed to speed the country’s transition away from an economy based largely on fossil fuels…
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After Clash, Manchin and Schumer Rushed to Reset Climate and Tax Deal

By Emily Cochrane and Others   07/28/22  
Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, and Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, were both nursing resentments when they met secretly in a windowless room in the basement of the Capitol last Monday…
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How the Schumer-Manchin climate bill might impact you and change the U.S.

By Jeff Stein and Others   07/28/22  
Major changes to the Affordable Care Act. The nation’s biggest-ever climate bill. The largest tax hike on corporations in decades. And dozens of lesser-known provisions that will affect millions of Americans.
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Oil, Gas Industry Methane Fee Survives in Manchin Spending Deal

By Ari Natte   07/28/22  
The oil and gas industry would face a first-time fee on the excess emission of methane under a breakthrough spending agreement reached on Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin.
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Manchin, in reversal, agrees to quick action on climate and tax plan

By Emily Cochrane, Jim Tankersley and Lisa Friedman   07/27/22  
The West Virginia Democrat, a holdout on his party’s domestic agenda, said the package would reduce inflation, a concern he had cited in rejecting it just weeks ago.
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We’ve Had Other Climate Defeats. This One Is by Far the Weirdest.

By Robinson Meyer   07/20/22  
When I started writing about climate change a few years ago, I tried to give readers regular dollops of hope with their gruel. I focused on renewable energy (which was getting cheaper) and American carbon…
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Which elected leaders should do more on climate?

By Mira Rojanasakul and Catrin Einhorn   07/19/22  
It’ll take some time to understand how Americans view last week’s collapse of climate legislation in Congress, but previous data holds some clues. When asked which elected officials should do more on climate, Americans point…
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Dems use minibus to showcase energy, climate contrasts

By George Cahlink   07/19/22  
The House will consider a roster of energy and environmental amendments to its first package of fiscal 2023 spending bills this week aimed at painting Democrats as more committed to fighting climate change than Republicans.
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Democrats eye options for big climate action this year

By Nick Sobczyk and Others   07/19/22  
Senate Democrats tried to revive hope yesterday that they might still pass climate legislation this year, but they face significant headwinds, and many are ready to move on and take what Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)…
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Progressive campaign strategy: Make Manchin irrelevant

By Timothy Cama   07/19/22  
Progressive climate change advocates are increasingly coalescing around a midterm election strategy aimed at making Sen. Joe Manchin’s opposition to President Joe Biden’s environmental agenda irrelevant. In the days since the West Virginia Democrat shut…
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What Joe Manchin Cost Us

By Leah C. Stokes   07/16/22  
Over the past year and a half, I’ve dissected every remark I could find in the press from Senator Joe Manchin on climate change. With the fate of our planet hanging in the balance, his…
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Biden concedes defeat on climate bill as Manchin and inflation upend agenda

By Jim Tankersley, Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport   07/15/22  
Rising prices, party infighting and the aftershocks from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have undercut the president’s plans to speed an energy transition.
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An American Climate Failure

By Somini Sengupta   07/15/22  
As millions of people on three continents baked in heat waves supercharged by climate change this week, one American politician, an ardent champion of the fossil fuel industry, doused any hopes of immediate climate action…
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Democrats race to clinch deal on climate, energy with Manchin

By Maxine Joselow   07/07/22  
Lawmakers face a fast-ticking clock as they try to secure a deal that would deliver on Biden’s goals and satisfy Manchin’s concerns.
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Governor hochul signs legislative package to spur energy efficiency, consumer savings, and greenhouse gas emission reductions while supporting prevailing wage measures

07/05/22  
Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a legislative package of three bills that will strengthen New York's commitment to clean energy development and energy efficiency, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Governor signed the bills at…
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Five-Year Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program: Status and Issues in Brief

By Laura B. Comay   06/23/22  
Five-Year Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program: Status and Issues in Brief Congressional Research Service 1 nder the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), as amended,1 the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) within the…
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House Republicans to unveil conservative road map on climate, energy

By Maxine Joselow & Jeff Stein   06/01/22  
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) plans to unveil a strategy Thursday outlining how Republicans would address climate change, energy and environmental issues if their party gains control of the House in the midterm elections,…
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The U.S. Is Addicted To Gas Heating. A New Bill May Make Going Electric The Easy Choice.

By Alexander C. Kaufman   05/25/22  
When it’s cold outside, most American homes burn gas or fuel for warmth ― a big part of why buildings are the country’s fourth-largest source of climate-changing emissions. When it’s hot, an even bigger percentage…
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Democrats scramble on energy prices ahead of Memorial Day

By George Cahlink & Others   05/25/22  
Both parties have spent weeks trading blame over who is responsible for high fuel costs that threaten to be a major issue in the midterm elections. Partisan bills have been proposed that won’t pass the…
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