Combatting the Climate Crisis
Rep. DeGette believes the ongoing climate crisis is the single greatest threat facing our planet. In Congress, DeGette is leading the charge to cut our nation’s carbon emissions, curb methane waste and pollution, and create the nation’s first-ever federal clean energy standard.
Creating a new Federal Clean Energy Standard
As a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. DeGette recently unveiled the framework of her new legislation to create the nation’s first federal clean-energy standard that would help eliminate all net carbon emissions from our nation’s power sector by 2050.
Top climate experts agree that in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change, the U.S. needs to cut its carbon emissions in half by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.
One of the main sources of carbon emissions in the U.S. comes from the production of electricity. In fact, the nation’s electricity-producing utilities are responsible for nearly 25% of all U.S. carbon emissions.
By creating a new federal clean energy standard, Rep. DeGette’s legislation would require all U.S. electricity producers to take steps now to reduce their carbon emissions. It would also increase companies’ use of existing sources of carbon-free energy – such as wind, solar, nuclear and hydro-electric dams in the short term – while also spurring the innovation of new technologies needed to completely eliminate carbon emissions from the nation’s power sector.
Preventing Methane Waste
Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases on the planet. And when it’s released into the atmosphere, it becomes one of the leading contributors to global warming.
Nearly one-third of all methane released in the U.S. comes from oil and gas drilling operations. Climate experts agree that reducing methane emissions from these sites is essential to combatting the climate crisis.
In May 2019, DeGette introduced legislation to prevent the administration from rolling back key EPA and BLM rules that require oil and gas producers to capture methane coming from their drilling sites, instead of allowing them to release it into our atmosphere where it can destabilize our climate.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved DeGette’s legislation as part of a broader energy bill the panel advanced in November. It now heads to the full House for consideration.
Protecting communities from the threat of Hydrogen Cyanide
In 2019, Rep. DeGette introduced legislation to close a legal loophole that allows refineries in the U.S. to pump unlimited amounts of hydrogen cyanide into the atmosphere.
Hydrogen cyanide is a highly toxic chemical. Yet, because of a loophole in the law, there is no specific limit on how much hydrogen cyanide refineries can release into the air we all breathe.
DeGette’s legislation would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set a federal limit on the amount of hydrogen cyanide refineries in the U.S. can emit each year. In particular, the legislation would require the EPA to determine the potential health effects that hydrogen cyanide can have on nearby communities and set a maximum limit that will fully protect nearby residents.
Promoting Environmental Justice
When we fail to protect our environment, it is often minority and low-income communities who suffer the most.
In addition to preventing future damage to our planet, DeGette is leading the charge to help those who have already been disproportionately impacted by our climate crisis.
In 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation DeGette introduced to help communities disproportionately impacted by large amounts of pollution from nearby facilities.
Rep. DeGette’s legislation will require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to identify and clean up 100 of the most heavily-polluted communities in the country. It would also require the EPA to study the cumulative impact of multiple sources of pollution on a community and incorporate that information into agency health assessments going forward.