The U.S. House of Representatives has passed HR.3409 – the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act – a GOP-led effort designed to thwart what Republicans call ‘Obama's war on coal.’
The legislation, introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, would strip the federal government's authority to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions and, if passed, could devastate the renewable energy market.
Thursday, two House Democrats – Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa – each offered up an amendment that would extend the production tax credit for renewable energy, but the House Rules Committee did not allow them to move forward.
One amendment that was considered Friday, however, was a proposal floated by Rep. Ed Markey, D- Mass., to institute a tiered renewable electricity standard that would begin with an 8% mandate in 2014 and increase to a 50% renewable energy requirement by 2035. The amendment was defeated along party lines.
Immediately following the vote, Markey condemned House Republicans for passing what he calls "Polluterpalooza’ legislation.
"Republicans have been so busy manufacturing fake wars on coal and oil that they've missed the real American energy revolution in natural gas, wind, solar and other cleaner, cheaper forms of energy," Markey said in a statement. ‘Republicans are saying they aren't going to worry about the 44 percent of our electricity that comes from the natural gas, hydropower and clean energy industries.’
Meanwhile, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee hailed the bill's passage, saying the legislation would halt the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) "regulatory assault on America's power sector."
The bill will face an uphill battle, however, in the Democrat-controlled Senate. President Barack Obama has also said he will veto the legislation.