With all the distractions in the news, most of us have never heard about H.R. 861. But if you’re interested in solar energy, you’ll want to get familiar with it. Here’s the full text of the bill: “This bill terminates the Environmental Protection Agency on December 31, 2018”.
This is a really, really big deal. SimpleSolar.info doesn’t get involved in politics. However, when political decisions affect solar energy, we will bring it to your attention. But it begs answers to questions like: When was this bill introduced? Has it been passed? What are the implications if the EPA becomes extinct?
What Are The Details?
The details of the bill are exactly what was stated in the first paragraph: “This bill terminates the Environmental Protection Agency on December 31, 2018”. It’s really that simple. Here’s the timeline of the bill:
2/03/2017 Bill is introduced to the House of Representatives
2/03/2017 Bill is referred to Committee on Energy & Commerce and the Committees on Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Science, Space and Technology
2/03/2017 Bill is referred to House Energy and Commerce
2/03/2017 Bill is referred to House Agriculture
2/03/2017 Bill is referred to House Transportation and Infrastructure
2/03/2017 Bill is referred to House Science, Space and Technology
2/06/2017 Bill is referred to Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management
2/10/2017 Bill referred to the Subcommittee on Environment
Has the Bill Been Passed?
So, there hasn’t been much movement since early February. We won’t presume to imply what that might mean. What should be taken away from this is that the bill isn’t dead. What is also known is that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not released an estimate for this measure as of 3/22/2017.
President Trump’s budget proposal slashes the EPA’s budget by 31%. That means there are two possibilities:
- HR 861 is passed and the EPA is no more.
- HR 861 is not passed but the budget is approved.
The result of the first scenario is obvious. If the bill is passed, the EPA ceases to exist. If the second happens, the EPA still functions. But with a 31% budget cut, it is effectively left on the side of the road to die.
No budget has been approved. So it’s possible that neither of these hypothetical situations will come to pass. But what are the implications if the EPA ceases to exist?
What Happens If the EPA Is No More?
There is literally a world of things that will be affected if the EPA is dismantled. As a homeowner and/or clean energy advocate, what solar related things could be affected?
If you’re considering installing solar panels on your home, one of the options available to you is a PACE loan. Without the EPA, this avenue is taken off the table.
The Clean Energy Incentive Program “is a voluntary ‘matching fund’ program that states can use to incentivize early investment in eligible RE [renewable energy], as well as demand-side energy efficiency projects that are implemented in low-income communities”.
Among other things, this incentive program helps create jobs because of the expected renewable energy construction projects that are anticipated by states that participate in the program, particularly in low-income areas.
Renewable Energy Certificates allow those who generate clean energy to certify that the energy produced really did come from renewable sources. This might not sound like a big deal. But for companies who do generate energy from clean sources, the termination of the EPA means they will no longer be able to prove that they produced clean energy. That could have a serious impact on their bottom line. It would also mean that any power company could claim they generate clean energy even if they don’t.
There is a host of advantages for this program. Everything from revitalization, employment and improvement of health because of contaminated land being clean will be no more if the EPA is dissolved.
Here’s a trivia question: What government agency is responsible for nuclear weapons waste removal? Answer? The EPA. If the EPA is dismantled, another agency would have to pick up where the EPA leaves off. What happens in the interim? If the EPA is dissolved, that would remain to be seen.
We could go on and on with the repercussions of the EPA’s descent into the abyss. We focused on only a few solar related things that would be affected if the EPA was no more. There are many, many others. Some would have an even greater impact on your personal life. Think of the EPA standards that keep companies from polluting rivers and the air.
As we stated earlier, SimpleSolar.info does not get involved in politics. Nonetheless, we seek to educate our readers on issues that impact decisions you might make regarding solar energy.