Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and a colleague are sharply critical of the Democrats' Green New Deal but say they still want to seek bipartisan solutions to climate change.
Walden, House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader, and Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Republican Leader John Shimkus (R-IL) sent a letter to Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Chair Paul Tonko (D-NY) requesting the committee work together to find bipartisan climate solutions.
The letter comes on the heels of an Energy and Commerce hearing last week where many members on both sides of the aisle expressed interest in working together to find common sense, bipartisan solutions to address current and future climate risks.
During last week's hearing, Walden stressed the need to improve forest management to reduce the catastrophic wildfires that devastate Oregon every summer and pollute the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and particulate matter. Wildfires devastated more than 800,000 acres in Oregon in 2018, and Walden has met with people on the ground who describe how recent wildfire seasons have impacted their lives.
"As we made clear during the hearing, there is broad bipartisan agreement that prudent steps should be taken to address current and future climate risks. What will be crucial going forward is rigorous examination of the costs, effectiveness, and economic impacts of any such policy steps proposed to address these risks. And we hope you will be open to scrutiny of these policies.
"Last week, some leaders of the Democratic party introduced the so-called Green New Deal, which calls for a 10-year plan to move U.S. power generation to 100 percent zero-emission energy sources. However, the Green New Deal minimizes the realities of current American and global energy systems. It ignores fundamental societal needs for affordable, reliable energy. In fact, the plan dismisses clean energy technologies essential for any future energy system, and ignores practical climate solutions that we should be working together to promote.
"But even though this proposal is billed as a solution to climate change, it also includes numerous unrelated, prohibitively expensive policy goals such as government-run health care, guaranteed income, and guaranteed employment. We have serious concerns about the potential adverse economic and employment impacts of these types of measures," Walden and Shimkus wrote.
The leaders continued, "We want America's innovators to develop the next technologies that will improve the environment and create jobs here at home. We want a healthy environment for our children, and future generations. We want our constituents and all Americans to have jobs and the opportunity to provide for their families. These are not mutually exclusive principles, and they are embedded in our approach to confronting climate risks. Let us work on them together."
Click here to read the full letter.