[Fox News] 36 progressive House Dems vote against bipartisan green energy bill

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Three dozen progressive House Democrats, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., voted against a bipartisan bill that would streamline the federal permitting process for nuclear energy development.

The House passed the so-called Atomic Energy Advancement Act — which was authored by Reps. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., and Diana DeGette, D-Colo. — in a 365-36 vote Wednesday evening, with 199 Republicans and 166 Democrats voting in favor. However, all 36 nay votes were cast by progressive Democrats who have pushed green energy and, in the case of Ocasio-Cortez, pushed the Green New Deal.

“Nuclear power delivers reliable, affordable, and clean energy to all Americans,” Duncan said in a statement after the vote. “With America’s electrical grid powering hospitals, military bases, homes, and businesses, we must build up reliable, dispatchable energy resources that bolster American nuclear independence to keep the power on for Americans and safeguard national security through energy security.”

“Tackling the climate crisis means we must modernize our approach to all clean energy sources, including nuclear,” DeGette added. “From enhancing our energy supply chain to recruiting a highly trained and skilled workforce, this bill makes critical updates to improve safety and ensure our nuclear regulations are up-to-date, pushing us closer to a carbon-free energy future.”

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DeGette further stated that nuclear energy must be a “part of the mix” if the U.S. is to achieve goals of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

However, despite nuclear’s low carbon footprint, Ocasio-Cortez and other prominent Democrats, like Reps. Cori Bush, Jared Huffman, Pramila Jayapal, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Jamie Raskin and Rashida Tlaib, who have argued for a rapid transition from fossil fuels to green energy, voted against it.

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Fox News Digital reached out to Ocasio-Cortez’s office for comment.

“The time is now to create sustainable prosperity for all, not just the very few,” Ocasio-Cortez said earlier this month on the five-year anniversary of the Green New Deal. “And in transitioning to a clean economy, we can create millions of jobs in construction, manufacturing, education, engineering and beyond.”

The Atomic Energy Advancement Act, would require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to include efficient permitting as part of its mission, mandate that the agency provides efficient, timely and predictable reviews and proceedings for nuclear projects, reduce fees for nuclear developers, modernize environmental reviews for nuclear projects and broadly include nuclear in strategic energy policy.

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Overall, nuclear power plants — which are carbon-free and dispatchable, meaning they are not weather dependent like other green energy sources — generate 18% of the nation’s electricity, roughly the same amount generated by wind, solar and hydropower combined. 

However, nuclear projects face a costly permitting review process that takes years and just two new reactors have come online since the 1990s.

“Nuclear energy plays a critical role in decarbonization, particularly as global energy demand increases,” Evan Chapman, the U.S. federal policy director at the environmental group Clean Air Task Force, said Wednesday. “Today’s passage of the Atomic Energy Advancement Act is a welcome sign of bipartisan interest in preserving existing nuclear capacity and in deploying advanced nuclear energy technologies in the U.S.” 

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions also celebrated the bill’s passage, saying the advancement of nuclear energy is “key to ensuring Americans have access to more reliable, affordable and clean power.”

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