(Earlier this month), the Senate had an opportunity to vote on the Green New Deal — an unrealistic and impractical wish list dressed up as environmental policy. And it’s a wish list that would have serious consequences for West Virginians and Americans across the country.
For starters, it would be expensive. Very expensive. All together, the Green New Deal’s price tag is estimated at up to $93 trillion over its first 10 years. You could liquidate all of the wealth in the entire country and maybe just cover that tab.
The plan would also all but eliminate the coal and gas industries, along with the good-paying jobs they support in energy states like ours. And it doesn’t stop there. It proposes ending nuclear electricity and commercial air travel as well.
Taken together, the energy and environmental components of the proposal would cost an estimated $8.3 to $12.3 trillion dollars over the next decade. That is $52,000 to $71,000 for every American household. For that cost, we’ll be left with an energy grid that lacks the affordability and reliability to make American manufacturing competitive around the globe and meet the basic needs of our families.
Unbelievably, these energy-driven costs are only one small piece of the Green New Deal.
The plan proposes funding guaranteed jobs with tens of trillions of dollars, providing for those unwilling to work, and eliminating private health care for 170 million Americans in favor of a government-run system, to name a few.
While the list goes on, the bottom line is this: The Green New deal is unreasonable, unaffordable and unrealistic.
It’s for these reasons and so many more that colleagues from both sides of the aisle joined me in rejecting the Green New Deal.
Meanwhile, supporters of the proposal continue to completely dismiss or ignore the realistic and pragmatic environmental solutions that Congress is already working on. In fact, they claim that Congress has done nothing to address environmental concerns. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
My colleagues and I have been and will continue to work in a bipartisan way to put forth practical and realistic solutions that will put our country on the right path. Solutions that won’t kill jobs or overburden Americans with government spending and higher costs.
Take, for example, the FUTURE Act, a bill I led that won the support of a diverse and broad coalition of Senate colleagues, environmental groups, oil and gas companies, governors from around the country and labor unions. The legislation — which was signed into law last Congress — attracted such a diverse group of supporters because it addressed environmental concerns in a realistic and commonsense way.
This market-based solution extended and expanded a tax credit to incentivize the commercial deployment of carbon capture utilization and storage — or CCUS — technologies and included support for direct-air capture projects. In doing so, this bill will not only help the United States cut our carbon emissions while maintaining high-paying coal, gas, oil and manufacturing jobs; but it would also enable us to capture emissions emitted abroad and use them in value-added products. It’s the very definition of a win-win scenario.
We are already seeing new projects being proposed to benefit from the policy, and that’s why my colleagues and I are now working to build upon its success with the USE IT Act.
This legislation — which also has a broad and diverse coalition of supporters — would direct an interagency council to review current guidelines and create a “playbook” for permitting CCUS projects and associated carbon dioxide pipelines. It also includes seed money for breakthrough innovations in carbon capture — many of which are happening right here in West Virginia at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown in conjunction with outside partners like WVU.
We don’t need a $93 trillion turn toward socialism that fundamentally alters the foundations of our country. We are capable of making investments in technology and infrastructure to address our nation’s challenges in a commonsense and bipartisan way, and that is exactly what we will continue to do. Doing the hard-nosed legislating and coalition-building to achieve these goals is tough enough without all of the noise around the Green New Deal. But, despite the distraction, I am confident we can continue to notch wins in this arena.
We have to. Because there is simply too much riding on it — for our economy and for our environment.
Capito, R-W.Va., is West Virginia’s junior senator.