CLARKE INTRODUCES GREEN COMMUNICATIONS ACT TO PROMOTE RESILIENCE AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 22, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) introduced the Generating Resilient and Energy Efficient Network (GREEN) Communications Act, legislation that will harden our communications networks against climate change and natural disasters, while simultaneously reducing the carbon footprint of communications infrastructure. The Senate companion of the GREEN Communications Act was introduced earlier this Congress by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Scientists have projected that sea-level rise will submerge more than 4,000 miles of fiber optic cables within the next 15 years. Increasing extreme weather events due to climate change – such as hurricanes, floods and wildfires – also raise the likelihood of severe outages in our communications networks. At the same time, studies estimate that the information and communications industry produces about two percent of total global CO2 emissions, which is approximately the same as the entire aviation industry.
In order to address these overlapping issues, the GREEN Communications Act will create a new program at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to fund projects that increase the resilience and energy efficiency of communications networks and infrastructure. Not only will this protect our communications infrastructure against the impacts of climate change, it will also decrease sector-wide carbon emissions and help lower overall demand on the energy grid. In addition, this legislation will instruct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a regulatory resiliency framework designed to minimize the number, length, and impact of future communications network outages.
“As the climate crisis worsens and communities like my beloved Brooklyn stand ceaselessly imperiled on its frontlines, we must focus our efforts on targeted, comprehensive legislation aimed at protecting the countless families at risk of its impact” said Rep. Clarke. “In the face of an ever-increasing number of climate threats like storms, wildfires, and rising sea levels, it is critical our communities remain reliably connected to the communication networks that are so indispensable during an emergency. Building resilient climate infrastructure is an essential component of overcoming this crisis, and I am proud to fight for legislation that does just that.”
Among its many provisions, the GREEN Communications Act will:
- Authorize $5 billion for a new program at NTIA that will provide grants and revolving loans for projects designed to strengthen the resiliency of communications networks and increase the energy efficiency of communications infrastructure
- Prioritize funding for low-income, rural, and racial or ethnic minority communities, and for projects that demonstrate the greatest overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, benefit the most vulnerable areas, or utilize green solutions to increase resiliency
- Requires recipients of energy efficiency funding to annually report on the electrical consumption – by energy source – of the communications infrastructure that is the subject of their project, as well as develop a comprehensive plan for achieving net-zero carbon emissions from their overall communications infrastructure
- Require recipients of resiliency funding to participate in the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System, submit new reports on the number and impact of network outages, and develop a comprehensive resiliency plan for protecting their overall communications infrastructure from severe weather, natural disasters, and climate change
- Direct the FCC to issue rules and establish a regulatory resiliency framework designed to minimize the number, duration, and impact of future communications network outages, as well as help plan for long-term disruptions to communications networks and support the communications needs of first responders
- Require a variety of studies and reports from relevant federal agencies, including:
- An FCC study on the feasibility of establishing a map that shows projected risks to communications infrastructure from severe weather, natural disasters, and climate change
- An annual NTIA report detailing the number of network outages and the latest risks that are attributable to severe weather, natural disasters, and climate change, as well as any shifts in the energy consumption patterns of networks and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from communications infrastructure
Read the full text of the legislation HERE.
Yvette D. Clarke has been in Congress since 2007. She represents New York’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Central and South Brooklyn. Clarke is a Senior Member of both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Committee on Homeland Security, where she serves as Chair of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation Subcommittee.