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Bill Would Phase Out U.S. Fossil Fuel Use By 2050

| by Robert Fowler

A Democratic senator is slated to introduce legislation calling for the U.S. to phase out its use of fossil fuels by 2050. The bill is considered a non-starter in a GOP-majority Congress and would be at odds with President Donald Trump's calls to bolster the fossil fuel industry.

On April 24, Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon will introduce a bill titled the "100 By '50 Act." The Senator believes that his bill would help Americans curb the impact of climate change by winding down the fossil fuel industry in favor of renewable energies.

"With an anti-science Congress and president in power right now, some might doubt that this is the right time to push for a bold new strategy to tackle climate change and make a massive fundamental shift in the way we produce energy," Merkley told The Huffington Post. "But the fact is, we don't have four years to wait to begin this rapid transition."

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont will co-sponsor the 100 By '50 Act. The legislation outlines how to the U.S. would generate half of its electricity with renewable sources by 2030 and entirely by 2050, and would include a plan to help transition coal miners and other workers in the fossil fuel industry into new careers.

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Energy program director Rob Sargent of Environment America believes that the legislation would be constructive for climate activists even if it does not gain traction in Congress.

"Its prospects aren't great," Sargent said. "But it absolutely is putting us on the trajectory we need to be on in order to address the environmental challenges we face. And I actually think if you step outside the Beltway for a second, it reflects where the country is headed."

Trump has been skeptical of climate change, previously asserting on social media that the negative impact of fossil fuels is a hoax.

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," Trump tweeted out in November 2012.

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On March 28, Trump signed an executive order that rescinded a series of environmental directives that had been implemented by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. The executive action also called for a review of the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era legislation that called for a nationwide reduction of carbon emissions, according to The Independent.

Trump stated during the signing ceremony that his administration was aiming to "end the war on coal."

On April 5, the attorneys general of 17 states filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration challenging the president's directive to repeal the Obama-era regulations. The legal challenge is led by Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York, the Scientific American reports.

"The law is clear: the EPA must limit carbon pollution from power plants," Schneiderman stated when announcing the lawsuit.

Americans who disagree with the president's approach to fossil fuels will have the opportunity to demonstrate so by the end of April. The People's Climate March, a protest planned by environmental organizations, is slated to take place in Washington D.C., as well as in other cities across the country, on April 29.

Sources: Donald J. Trump/TwitterThe Huffington Post (2), The Independent, Scientific American / Photo Credit: U.S. Department of the Interior/Flickr

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