09/16/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/16/2020 16:55
WASHINGTON-Yesterday, House leadership announced the introduction of the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, a legislative package to fund research and development needed to work toward a clean energy economy, invest in updating American energy innovation infrastructure, and work to reduce harmful carbon emissions to net-zero pollution. The EASE Act, introduced by Congressman Tom O'Halleran (AZ-01), will be the leading bill for the larger package, incorporating new legislative initiatives within.
'This year, we've seen devastating wildfires and punishing drought across the desert Southwest; climate change is a real, immediate threat to our infrastructure and to Arizona families,' said O'Halleran. 'I am proud that my EASE Act, which helps rural areas achieve their clean energy and innovation goals, will be used as the lead bill for this larger climate and energy package put forward by the House of Representatives.'
The bipartisan EASE Act promotes the adoption of energy storage technologies for rural electric cooperatives by establishing a grant program within the Department of Energy for rural electric cooperatives to identify, evaluate, and design energy storage projects. The legislation instructs the Department to provide rural electric cooperatives with technical assistance and to provide Congress with a report detailing the cost savings and environmental benefits gained from energy storage technology integration. Electric cooperatives power more than 19 million businesses, homes, schools, and farms, and serve 42 million people across America.
'The EASE Act will substantially boost energy storage deployment in rural communities,' said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. 'I commend Representatives O'Halleran and Mullin for leading this effort, which provides grants and technical expertise to help electric co-ops implement storage technologies and encourages their deployment nationwide.'
The Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act takes aggressive action to address climate change, requires federal agencies to better understand the impact of new projects on public health and the environment, and ensures that long-overlooked sovereign tribal nations have a voice at the decision-making table.
Also included within the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act is O'Halleran's Tribal Power Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure tribal governments can access the federal resources and assistance they need to advance their energy development initiatives by reauthorizing and increasing funding for the Department of Energy's Indian Energy Education Planning and Management Assistance Program.
'While nationwide electrification began in the 1930s, many Native American communities in my district still lack basic access to electricity-as many as 15,000 families on the Navajo Nation alone,' said O'Halleran. 'Additionally, last year, the Navajo Generating Station, a coal plant and former economic force in my district, closed its doors for good. I'm pleased to see my Tribal Power Act included in this package so that tribes affected by closures like NGS can continue to thrive and can build out their electrification operations.'
WATCH O'Halleran speak in support of the legislation, here.
The Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act is scheduled for a vote on the House floor next week.