House Approps Republicans Pollute Annual Spending Bills with Attacks on Climate, Clean Energy, Water

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Republicans have loaded up the majority-drafted annual spending bills with at least 17 poison pill policy riders that fuel the climate crisis, block clean energy measures, and undermine clean water. The Clean Budget Coalition, which is tracking the poison pills added to federal spending bills, has repeatedly called on Congress to remove all of these harmful measures. They include:

Climate Poison Pills

  • The Electric Vehicles Rider would block procurement of electric vehicles, electric vehicle batteries, electric vehicle charging stations, or related infrastructure.
  • The Anti-Greening Rider would stop implementation of Section 205 of Executive Order 14008, which calls for federal agencies to achieve net-zero emissions across their portfolio of buildings, campuses, and installations by 2045 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2032 by prioritizing improvement of energy efficiency and eliminating onsite fossil fuel use.
  • The Green Climate Rider would block all funding for the Green Climate Fund, which helps developing countries achieve their emissions and climate-resilience goals under the Paris Agreement.
  • The Climate Damage Rider would prohibit funding and international disaster relief for any loss or damage attributed to climate change.
  • The Clean Technology Rider would block all funding for the Clean Technology Fund, when helps developing countries with their clean energy transformation. It provides resources to scale up low-carbon technologies including renewable energy, energy efficiency (of buildings, agriculture, and industry), and clean transport.
  • The SBA Climate Rider would prohibit the U.S. Small Business Administration from funding climate change initiatives from its Salaries and Expenses account.
  • The Climate Disclosure Rider would prohibit the use of funds to finalize or enforce the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed climate disclosure rule or any similar rule. That rule would require climate-related disclosures in corporate registration statements, periodic reports, and audited financial statements –including information about climate-related risks that are likely to have a material impact on their business, results of operations, or financial condition. This also would include disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The ESG Retirement Investing Rider would block the Thrift Savings Plan – a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees and uniformed service members similar to a 401(k) in the private sector – from investing in mutual funds that consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.
  • The Climate Attribution Rider would prevent democracy, security, gender, agriculture, water, sanitation, and hygiene programs from being linked or attributed to climate goals.
  • The Multilateral Development Banks Anti-Greening Rider would block implementation of Executive Order 14008 on tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad and U.S. Treasury Department guidance on fossil fuel energy at multilateral development banks.
  • The Power Africa Rider would prohibit funding under the Power Africa program from being used for renewable energy unless matched by other sources of energy.

Clean and Efficient Energy Poison Pills

  • The Justice40 Rider would prohibit funding related to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Justice40 initiative, which directs 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to flow to disadvantaged communities. These investments include clean energy, energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, and clean water infrastructure development.
  • The Enbridge Pipeline Rider would overturn a federal court ruling that shut down a segment of the Canadian Enbridge Line 5 pipeline that crosses tribal land in Wisconsin.
  • The Grid Transformers Rider would prohibit funding to stop the energy efficiency standard for electric grid distribution transformers.
  • The Gas Stoves Rider would prohibit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission from using funds to stop the use or sale of gas-powered stoves, cooktops, ranges, or ovens in the U.S., even if the product is proven to cause harm.

Clean Water Poison Pills

  • The California Water Management Rider would mandate the use of environmentally harmful water management plans and advances controversial California dam proposals.
  • The Waters of the U.S. Rider would block the January 2023 revised definition of “Waters of the United States.”

“These disgraceful poison pill riders are nothing short of corporate giveaways to the corrupt fossil fuel industry,” said Deanna Noël, climate campaigns director for Public Citizen. “House Appropriations Republicans are abusing the appropriations process to impose a cycle of environmental injustice – sacrificing communities of color and low-income communities who are disproportionately bearing the impacts of the climate crisis. Poison pills that stall the shift to zero-emissions transportation, block our ability to invest responsibility, and stifle climate progress at home and abroad have no place in Congress’ annual spending bills.”

“The climate poison pills Republican budget leaders proposed are unsound, and they show that GOP leadership is not serious about working with Democrats to pass a budget and prevent a government shutdown,” said Elizabeth Gore, senior vice president for political affairs at Environmental Defense Fund. “Their proposed budget, because of these poison pills and cuts to critical clean energy programs, would harm public health and raise energy costs for families and businesses. This is not a starting point for any reasonable negotiations.”

“House Republicans continue using the same tired playbook: They’re hijacking must-pass bills with harmful poison pill riders that neither the public nor Congress support but benefit their polluter donors,” said David Shadburn, senior government affairs advocate at the League of Conservation Voters. “Just as Republican leaders held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to make it easier to pollute, now they are proposing riders to greenlight pipelines, block clean air and water regulations, stall clean energy deployment, and prohibit the federal government from addressing long-standing inequities through programs like the Justice40 initiative and the Green Climate Fund. These must-pass spending bills are already loaded down with harmful poison pill riders that need to be removed – the last thing Congress should do is add more.”

Please reach out to any of the contacts listed below to speak with an expert.

Contact: David Rosen, drosen@citizen.org
Austin Matheny-Kawesch, amatheny@edf.org
Kyra Madunich-Arevalo, kmadunich@lcv.org

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