“To create thousands of jobs, save billions of dollars and safeguard the environment, we must invest in alternatives to HFCs,” he said.
Environmental groups have chosen to read big things into that Republican support, though it may not materialize around bills roundly opposed by other industries, especially oil and gas companies.
“Voters want action on climate, and even some Republicans want action on climate, and the Republicans leading on this HFC deal are starting to understand that,” said Matthew Davis, legislative director for the League of Conservation Voters.
In addition to the HFC bill, the larger package included a bipartisan renewable energy bill, co-sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the chairwoman and ranking Democrat of the Senate Energy Committee.
The bill would not appropriate any new government spending, but it would authorize $35 billion in existing government funding to be spent on clean energy programs over the next five years, including $1 billion for energy storage technology that could serve as batteries for wind and solar power, $1.5 billion for demonstration projects for new solar technology, $2.1 billion for advanced nuclear energy technology and $450 million for technology to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The bill would also direct federal agencies to update the government programs that oversee renewable energy spending.
“Some of these will be the first updates to these programs since the iPhone was first in use,” said Josh Freed, an energy policy analyst with Third Way, a center-left research organization. “It’s critically important because energy systems looked a lot different 10 years ago. There were almost no EVs on the road, very little solar panels on roofs, Tesla didn’t exist.”