Landmark Clean Energy Bill to be Introduced in House

The article from law firm Holland & Knight linked below describes proposed legislation, “the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act,” to be introduced by the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (Frank Pallone D-NJ).  The  CLEAN Future Act would require Net-Zero Emissions by 2050. If some form of this legislation were to pass, with its requirements for dramatic reductions in carbon emissions and the stimulation it would provide for clean energy production, I would hope for it to have an effect similar to that of the Public Works Administration (PWA) provision of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA). Title II of NIRA created the PWA to award $3.3 billion in contracts for the construction of public works. (The government did not directly employ workers on PWA projects, as it did in a later New Deal program with a similar name, the Works Progress Administration (WPA).) The PWA oversaw an enormous number and variety of public works projects, including schools, hospitals, post offices, courthouses, roads, bridges, water systems, and waste treatment plants. Its two most prominent projects were the construction of the Triborough Bridge in New York City and Boulder (now Hoover) Dam on the Colorado River in Arizona. Ultimately the PWA completed more than 34,000 projects around the country. Regrettably, The NIRA was not as successful in many of its other parts, and the Supreme Court invalidated the Act in 1935, but many of its provisions were included in subsequent legislation and the achievements of the PWA have been long lasting and beneficial. Even if the CLEAN Future Act were it to pass in the House, it would probably either fail or be gutted in the Senate and eventually be vetoed by the current occupant of the White House.  I sincerely hope that my pessimism is misplaced.

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