House Republicans unveil energy and climate strategy

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House Republicans are launching a new energy and climate strategy as the party seeks to win over voters ahead of the midterm elections, though Green groups immediately criticized the plans as falling short.

Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), who leads the House GOP’s energy, climate and conservation task force, told reporters Thursday that the plans unveiled by the party are driven by affordability, reducing emissions and energy security.

“We are aggressively pursuing meeting this peak in global energy demand…with US resources. It means American innovation, it means American renewable energy technologies, and yes, it means conventional energy sources like oil and gas,” Graves said.

Part of the plan unveiled Thursday focuses on legislation favoring oil and gas, mining of critical minerals and hydropower, according to an overview obtained by The Hill.

Critical minerals are used in renewable energy technologies. Hydroelectricity is also renewable, but according to the Energy Information Association, the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted by hydroelectric reservoirs is uncertain.

Meanwhile, oil and gas are major contributors to climate change.

Republicans have long argued that the United States’ regulatory system makes its fossil fuels less harmful than those of other countries, though climate advocates have called for widespread reductions in fossil fuel use to prevent global warming climatic.

Graves said other elements of the plan include promoting innovation and conservation “with purpose,” defeating Russia and China, “letting America build itself,” and promoting climate resilience of communities.

The GOP plan was immediately criticized by environmental organizations.

“It would be laughable as a climate agenda in 2022, except there’s absolutely nothing funny about the climate crisis or Congressional Republicans’ obstruction of desperately needed solutions in the name of lining the pockets of their trade and big oil polluters who fund their campaigns,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters.

The plan comes as Republicans for months hammered the Biden administration amid high gas prices. While experts say presidents often have limited influence over prices, Republicans sought to use the issue to make their case to voters in November.

Nationally, many Republicans have avoided the climate issue, with Republicans having no climate plan as part of their 2016 or 2020 election platforms.

Many of the policies put forward by Republicans face an uphill battle garnering support from the Biden administration, and Graves acknowledged that part of the plan’s purpose is to show the American people the GOP’s plan.

“One of the goals here is to be very clear to the American public that we recognize there is an energy crisis and we recognize the causes of this energy crisis,” he said.

But he also said he thinks after the midterm elections more Democrats will join us.

“I think you’re going to see significant thinking coming out of the election and I think you’re going to see some Democrats absolutely adopting elements of our plan,” he added.

The policies come from an energy, climate and conservation task force — one of seven policy task forces created by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) .

An energy industry source told The Hill she saw the effort as a “good first step” but said it may need more regulatory components to have an impact.

“When the Trump administration surprisingly won in 2016, climate was off the party agenda. If they take over, it can’t happen again,” the source said. “And that’s a sign that it won’t.”

Updated at 3:52 p.m.

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