House Spending Package Includes Clear Intent to Keep Fossil Fuels Out of Clean Energy Program

WASHINGTON – As the House voted to approve a spending bill for 2020, language from an amendment passed this summer to protect a Department of Energy clean energy program was adopted in the Manager’s Report, which could create problems for massive petrochemical facilities planned for Appalachia and the Pacific Northwest.

In June, the House passed an amendment filed by Reps Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), which clarified that the Title XVII loan guarantee program was intended for projects that “avoid, reduce or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.”

This is especially relevant to a proposed $1.9 billion loan guarantee for the Appalachian Development Group’s gas storage hub, which would be part of a massive petrochemical buildout in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia that will increase fracking and plastics production in the region. Northwest Innovation Works, a subsidiary of a Chinese company, has also applied for a loan guarantee under the program in order to build the world’s largest gas-to-methanol refinery in Washington state.

Language similar to the amendment is included in the Manager’s Report that accompanies the spending package, signaling lawmakers’ intent to ensure that this loan guarantee program is not applied to fossil fuel projects.

In response, Food & Water Action Climate & Energy Program Director Mitch Jones released the following statement:

“Thanks to Representatives Omar and Jayapal, the House took an important step to stop the Trump administration from using a clean energy program to support a disastrous dirty energy project that would increase plastics pollution. There is simply no way to use a clean energy program to support the construction of a storage hub that would create a cluster of gas, petrochemical and plastics infrastructure that would transform the Appalachian region into the next Cancer Alley.”

“This amendment will help ensure that this Department of Energy clean energy program will not be used to support polluting fossil fuel projects like the Appalachian fracked gas storage hub or methanol refinery.”

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