The Detroit News

House Dems aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2050

- BY RILEY BEGGIN rbeggin@detroitnew­s.com

Washington — Democrats in the U.S. House announced legislatio­n Tuesday that would reshape American climate policy with the aim of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The bill would require the U.S. to reduce emissions to at least 50% of 2005 levels by 2030, direct federal agencies to develop plans to achieve a “100 percent clean economy” by 2050, and create new programs and requiremen­ts for the transporta­tion, energy, building, and constructi­on industries.

This legislatio­n “promises that we will not stand idly by as the rest of the world transition­s to clean economies and our workers get left behind, and that we will not watch from the sidelines as the climate crisis wreaks havoc on Americans’ health and homes,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., a New Jersey Democrat who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and one of the sponsors of the bill.

Rep. Paul Tonko of New York and Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, also Democrats, also co-sponsored the bill.

Energy companies would need to meet new benchmarks beginning in 2023, gradually reaching 100% “clean electricit­y” by 2035 and establish national building codes requiring buildings be “zero-energy-ready” by 2030.

The package would take steps toward President Joe Biden’s electrific­ation goals, including his campaign promise of rolling out half a million electric vehicle charging stations.

It would put $100 million next fiscal year into a new program providing rebates for installing electric vehicle “supply equipment” and $2 billion for charging stations and other electrific­ation projects. It would also set minimum requiremen­ts for the percentage of federal agencies’ fleets that must be zero-emission vehicles.

The Department of Energy would be directed to accelerate domestic manufactur­ing of batteries and other technology for use in electric vehicles.

It would also expedite approval of renewable fuels, create a pilot program for retrofitti­ng heavy-duty refrigerat­ed vehicles as electric vehicles and put funding into zero-emission school buses and city programs.

Overall, the 981-page bill would authorize hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending over the next decade.

Multiple electric vehicle policies included in the bill were spearheade­d by Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell of Dearborn, according to the Congresswo­man’s office.

“For years, I have crafted legislatio­n that would invest in our communitie­s and our workers, while charting a path toward a rapid transition to a net-zero carbon future,” she said in a statement. “The inclusion of those policies in this comprehens­ive and visionary bill demonstrat­es that this Democratic Congress will work with the Biden-Harris Administra­tion to finally recognize the reality that the climate crisis is here and it cannot be ignored.”

Some Republican House members, including Rep. Fred Upton of St. Joseph, raised concerns Tuesday that the package will be costly and make the nation more reliant on mineral supplies from China.

“It’s full of more mandates and regulation­s that will raise energy prices, export jobs overseas, and weaken our national security,” Upton, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia said in a joint statement.

“We can pursue practical policies to innovate a cleaner energy future if we work together. Rather than threaten millions of jobs and hold back America’s economic recovery, we urge the Majority to join us in a bipartisan way to unleash innovation, strengthen our supply chains, and capture all the advantages of our abundant resources, which include coal, hydropower, nuclear technologi­es, and clean natural gas.”

A Sterling Heights police officer who was on leave as his department investigat­ed an image posted on his private Facebook page that appeared to mock the death of George Floyd Jr. in Minneapoli­s last year has resigned, city officials confirmed Monday.

In a statement, the city said the officer, whose name has not been released, quit “prior to disciplina­ry action.” Other details were not released.

“This incident is confirmati­on that the City must remain vigilant in identifyin­g and rooting out such behavior, which has no place in a municipal organizati­on that serves an incredibly diverse population,” the statement said. “This incident further shows the City’s commitment to making sure each and every resident, business owner, and visitor feels welcome and safe in Sterling Heights. This objective is integral to realizing the City’s vision for Sterling Heights as a community that is vibrant, inclusive, and distinctiv­e.”

The officer was placed on unpaid leave last week after WXYZTV (Channel 7) reported his alleged posting that showed a picture of Floyd with Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck, accompanie­d by a caption: “When you gotta change a tire but don’t want to get your trousers dirty.”

Floyd, an African-American, was being arrested on May 25 for allegedly passing a counterfei­t bill at a business. He died of asphyxia, according to an autopsy, and authoritie­s determined Chauvin, who is White, knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes while other officers watched.

Chauvin was fired and faces second-degree murder and manslaught­er charges. A trial starts soon, with jury selection beginning next week.

Three other fired officers are expected to go on trial in August.

A Sterling Heights representa­tive told The Detroit News last week that city employees, including in the police department, are required to adhere to a social media policy.

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