Every day, we learn something new and horrible about the GOP tax bill.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the bill is likely to derail the nation’s encouraging move to clean energy.
Both the measure passed by the House and the more recent Senate version deal what the organization calls “devastating blows” to America’s booming clean energy industry—while (I know this will absolutely shock you) retaining the billions of dollars of oil, gas and coal subsidies in the current code.
According to the “alert” sent out,
The Senate version that passed in a frenzied vote early Saturday morning includes a “poison pill” that essentially ends the tax benefits gained by investors in clean energy—killing what has been a primary driver of the industry’s growth for decades. And the House version takes aim at incentives that have catalyzed wind energy investments, meaning wind developers in the middle of projects and counting on those credits will have the rug pulled out from under them. They will have to pay the costs themselves or abandon their projects.
The bill also continues massive incentives for fossil fuel production amounting to tens of billions of dollars over the next decade. Most insidiously, an obscure provision recently added to the Senate Tax bill would stifle development of solar and wind energy by hurting the financial viability of new projects. With no public debate or time for Americans to respond, the Senate is threatening one of the keys to a livable future for our children and grandchildren.
The House tax bill isn’t any better. It also continues subsidies for fossil fuels, eliminates incentives for electric vehicles and slashes wind energy credits by at least one-third.
Lest we attribute these analyses to over-reaction by environmental organization, an in-depth analysis from the New York Times confirms that the tax bill contains an all-out assault on renewable energy.
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by this; the Trump Administration is a collection of climate change deniers. Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke have longtime ties to fossil fuel interests, and neither has bothered to hide his contempt for environmentalists. Or, for that matter, science and scientists.
Mother Jones highlights yet another environmental assault, in “The Environmental Disaster Tucked Into the Tax Bill.” That measure would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the crowned jewels of our public lands,” Ana Unruh Cohen, the director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council tells Mother Jones. “Drilling there would totally mar this beautiful place.”
Opening up the 1.5 million acres for drilling is estimated to generate $1.1 billion over the course of a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and would provide a big fiscal windfall for the state of Alaska. Environmentalists, however, are appalled: they point out that the site is a critical habitat for hundreds of animal species, including foxes, polar bears, and caribou, and those habitats need protection.
Drilling would also threaten sacred lands for the Native Alaskan Gwich’in tribe.
Just for good measure, environmental groups charge that other provisions in the bill will wipe out polar bears. I don’t know what Republicans have against polar bears.
For a bill that is supposed to be all about tax reform, we keep finding all sorts of unrelated assaults–on the environment, on women’s reproductive rights, on Church-State separation…this bill is a Christmas gift to the rich and the crazy, two constituencies with a considerable amount of overlap, and the rest of us will be paying for it.
So will our grandchildren.