Senator Markey is a national leader on energy, climate change, and the environment. While serving in the House of Representatives, Markey was the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Markey also served as the Chairman of the Select Committee on Global Warming & Energy Independence. He was the House co-author of the only comprehensive climate change bill to ever pass a chamber of Congress, and was the principal House author of the 2007 fuel economy law, the Appliance Efficiency Act of 1987, and the law that established the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.
Global climate change presents one of the gravest threats to our planet’s health, and to America’s economy, national security, and public health. Landmark studies such as the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report and the U.S. National Climate Assessment Fourth Report have made it clear that we need bold action to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and we may have as few as 12 years to achieve it.
Senator Markey is a national leader on energy, the environment, and climate change and has authored legislation that address the energy, economic and national security challenges associated with increasing carbon pollution. In 2009, then-Rep. Markey partnered with Rep. Henry Waxman to introduce the landmark Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act, the only comprehensive climate change bill ever to pass a chamber of Congress. The legislation slashed global warming emissions 17 percent by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050. Markey authored the renewable electricity standard in the bill that said by 2020, 20 percent of America’s electricity should come from renewable sources.
In February 2019, Senator Markey partnered with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to introduce the Green New Deal, an historic resolution that would create millions of good, high-wage jobs in the United States, provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for Americans, and counteract systemic injustices – all while addressing the existential challenge of climate change.
Senator Markey is Chair of the Senate Climate Change Task Force. Throughout the first session of the 116th Congress, the Task Force held 31 Member-level meetings to build political momentum in the U.S. Senate on climate action. From 2007-2010, Markey served as Chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
While serving in the House of Representatives as the Chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, Markey pushed BP to disclose all that it knew about the true flow rate of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico and conducted aggressive oversight into the use of unprecedented volumes of chemical dispersants that were used to combat the effects of the oil spill. In addition, Markey pressed the Department of the Interior for information regarding their Blowout Preventer investigation.
Before being elected to Senate, Markey served as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Markey fought to ensure American taxpayers received a fair return on oil, gas and other minerals produced from public lands onshore and offshore. He pushed to reduce the federal deficit by recovering up to $53 billion dollars in lost royalty payments from oil companies who are drilling for free in the Gulf of Mexico. Markey also worked to promote clean renewable energy development on public lands while protecting our environment. He also fought to protect our nation’s most important natural treasures such as Georges Bank off the coast of New England and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as well as to fully fund our nation’s best idea, the National Parks System. Markey also introduced legislation to implement of the recommendations of the BP Oil Spill Commission. In the Senate, Markey will continue fighting to create clean energy jobs, combat climate change and to protect our environment and wildlife.
In 2006, government researchers discovered the potentially devastating “Aurora” vulnerability – through which hackers could use communications networks to physically destroy the electricity grid. This could cause billions of dollars of economic damages and render systems inoperable for months or even years. Since the utility industry has failed to take the necessary steps to protect against this and other grid security challenges, Senator Markey has led efforts to craft bipartisan legislation to require the needed upgrades. Markey's grid security legislation the “GRID Act” passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly in the 112th Congress, but the Republican controlled House failed move it forward in the 113th Congress.
In 2013, while serving in the House, Markey and Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California released a report(pictured) highlighting gaps in grid security. The lawmakers' report indicates that the lengthy, industry-driven process by which grid security standards are set results in long delays and haphazard implementation of the voluntary security recommendations the industry refuses to make mandatory. Markey will continue working to ensure grid security in the Senate.
For decades, Senator Markey has led Congressional efforts to increase the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks in order to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. President Obama announced that by 2025, the automotive fleet will average 54.5 miles per gallon. This standard will reduce the need for as much as 3.8 million barrels of oil per day by 2030, and was enabled by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which included higher fuel economy standards co-authored by Markey while serving in the House. The fuel economy legislation, combined with the 2007 Supreme Court decision of Massachusetts v. the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which affirmed the agency’s authority to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from automobiles, paved the way for these new standards.
Senator Markey has long championed the Clean Air Act and strong rules that help reduce the amount of pollution from smokestacks that harm health and warm the planet. He has fought attempts to block the Environmental Protection Agency from updating clean air safeguards to protect public health and has introduced legislation to protect clean air standards that reduce mercury, lead, dioxins and other pollutants.
Investing in America's largely untapped clean energy resources -- especially wind, solar and geothermal power -- will help create jobs, reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil, and keep the United States competitive in the global clean energy race. Markey is a Congressional champion for unleashing America’s clean energy revolution and creating the jobs that accompany increasing energy efficiency and harnessing clean energy resources. In the House of Representatives, Markey authored the renewable electricity standard in the historic American Clean Energy and Security Act. In the Senate, he introduced the American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act, which would quadruple America’s clean energy production, create 400,000 jobs and save American households $90 billion by 2030.