House Democrats Ram More Government Intervention in Energy Markets Through Congress

House Democrats Ram More Government Intervention in Energy Markets Through Congress by H. Sterling Burnett for Town Hall

While most people’s attention was focused on the presidential election or battling the coronavirus and struggling to survive the economic shutdown the pandemic inspired most states’ governors to impose, swamp creatures in the U.S. House of Representative have been working behind the scenes to impose more inside-the-beltway big-government mandates and subsidies on U.S. energy markets.

On September 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rammed through HR 4447, the Clean Economy, Jobs, and Innovation Act, without any hearings or real debate. No congressmen had time to read the entire 900-page monstrosity before a final vote was taken. Like Obamacare, Pelosi thought it better to “pass the bill in order to find out what’s in it.”

A statement of policy offered by the White House Office of Management and Budget said it would recommend President Donald Trump veto the bill, because the bill “would implement a top-down approach that would … empower the government to select favored solutions [and] lead to higher energy costs and discourage innovation and entrepreneurship.”

HR 4447 is nothing more nor less than a down payment on the multitrillion-dollar, socialist, Green New Deal (GND). Like the GND, and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s energy proposal, HR 4447 sets a goal for the country to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Also, like the GND, HR 4447 would require every federal agency to make “environmental justice,” central to its mission. The bill would establish a 26-person Environmental Justice Advisory Council to “ensure the ‘fair treatment’ of different groups based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status,” in part by incorporating environmental justice considerations into the already cumbersome National Environmental Policy Act review process.

It often takes years for critical infrastructure projects—such as bridges, pipelines, power lines, sewage lines, and roads—to get through the federal approval process, let alone built. And that is when the process is supposedly based solely on scientific and economic considerations—things that can be calculated, measured, and compared with some degree of objectivity. The process will become much more subjective, onerous, lengthy, and vulnerable to special-interest influences when amorphous, politically charged concepts such as “fairness” and “environmental justice” are made integral to it.

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