American Energy Innovation Act provides next steps to combat climate change

A view from across an extremely remote and wild region of the North Cascades in Washington. This is one of the many wilderness areas that could be affected by rapid climate change.  Credit, Marc Adamus

We applaud Senator Cantwell’s effort to advance U.S. climate change goals beyond the President’s term in her new bill.

The American Energy Innovation Act, S. 2089, which she unveiled with nearly 30 Senate supporters including Senators Heinrich and Wyden, seeks to keep America on track to its carbon reduction goals - the directive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2 percent each year through 2025.

  Alongside the carbon reduction goal, the bill would tackle lopsided incentives for energy development that cost U.S. taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year. These subsidies have been favoring oil and gas development, too often to the detriment of public health and with irreversible environmental costs, for over a century while renewable energy technologies, like wind and solar, are forced to fight for tax incentives each year. 

To reach our climate goals and preserve our environment for the next generation, we need to modernize the way we develop energy on public lands.  Venting and flaring of natural gas is just one more example of how current policy fails to address costs to our environment, to public health and wasted tax payer resources.  These unaccounted for emissions make up almost 24 percent of all U.S. energy related greenhouse gas emissions. Cantwell’s bill would begin to address this issue by requiring national guidelines to prevent and minimize the waste of our shared natural resources we lose to venting and flaring.

During Obama’s presidency we’ve seen a push for greater innovation and efficiency measures, as well as a renewable energy program for public lands.  The American Energy Innovation Act would continue advancing opportunities for renewables, including geothermal capacity on public lands, and would reflect our nation’s conservation values by permanently reauthorizing and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The American Energy Innovation Act provides practical next steps to reduce emissions. Reaffirming our commitment to renewable energy, efficient technology, and carbon management are critical steps for this administration and the next to take for the health of our country, and the rest of the world.