House Votes to Keep EPA From Assessing Climate Change Costs

House Votes to Keep EPA From Assessing Climate Change CostsAccording to Citigroup, “business as usual” despite climate change could cost the world an extra $44 trillion by 2060.

In August 2015, Citigroup released a report called “Energy Darwinism II: Why a Low Carbon Future Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth.” The report estimates that worldwide spending on energy will reach $200 trillion in the next 25 years. The report then analyzes two possibilities: one in which the world pursues a low carbon “different energy mix” approach; the other if the world continues without addressing climate change. Citigroup researchers conclude, “[T]he costs in terms of lost (gross domestic product) GDP from not acting on climate change can be $44 trillion dollars by the time we get to 2060.”

Nobody told our House of Representatives. A bill called the “Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2015 (RAPID Act; HR 348) passed in the House on September 25, 2015 and:
– “streamlines the regulatory review, environmental decision making, and permitting process for major federal actions that are construction activities undertaken, reviewed, or funded by federal agencies”;
– prohibits federal agencies from following draft guidance from the White House Council on Environmental Quality for “consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change” in environmental reviews; and
– requires that any permit request that is not addressed by the agency deadline will be automatically approved.

The second provision effectively bars the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from considering the climate change costs of carbon-related emissions during environmental reviews of permit applications. The bill can be accessed here:

The bill’s proponents claim that the RAPID Act streamlines approval of “critically important economic projects.” According to the bill’s sponsor, Representative Tom Marino (PA-10), “It streamlines, it eliminates duplicative processes, it rewards good environmental stewardship and it aids our economy.”

One of the bill’s opponents, Representative Alan Lowenthal states, “Everyone knows that climate change is urgent. The Pope knows, our young people know, even China knows, but this House is unfortunately one of the last bastions of irresponsible inaction. The clock is ticking and too many in the majority don’t get it.”

The bill was received by the Senate on September 28, 2015 and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. The White House has vowed to veto the bill if it also passes in the Senate.

By Kathy Catanzarite

Source: Kathy Cantanzarite – Staff Writer

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