FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 1, 2022
Contact: Sumer Shaikh, Green New Deal Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, 774-545-0128
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly: Reflections on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022
Largest US climate legislation reflects decades of environmental advocacy yet maintains status quo of pandering to fossil fuel industry
Washington D.C. — Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin finally broke the gridlock in negotiations over the US’ largest climate bill, releasing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA). The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is a first step towards stabilizing our planet. However, the bill falls short on meeting the scale and urgency of transformative investments that our communities need.
For over two years, countless organizations, activists, and progressive politicians have fought for a package that tackles the overlapping crises facing our nation: climate chaos, economic instability, racial injustice, outdated infrastructure, and corporate influence over our government, The Green New Deal Network — and its 15 national organizations and 25 state coalitions — crafted the THRIVE Act, a $10 trillion climate, care, jobs, justice bill that would create enough jobs to end unemployment, build modern, reliable infrastructure, and invest in community resources while ensuring labor and justice protections.
The IRA contains key elements of the THRIVE Act and provisions that made it into the bill as a result of demands of environmental and climate justice movement advocacy, including:
Cross-cutting justice and labor standards to ensure dignified, local jobs and access to investment benefits in communities historically left behind.
Full and permanent funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund to ensure coal miners suffering from Black Lung disease have access to medical care.
Hundreds of billions of dollars investing in deployment of renewable energy through the Defense Production Act, wind and solar incentives, building and industrial decarbonization, and clean transportation.
Dozens of environmental justice programs, including a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund would, in part, finance clean energy technology for low-income and disadvantaged communities.
Environmental justice funding in IRA will support community-led efforts to clean up toxic pollution, adapt to climate change, and achieve healthier living standards in neighborhoods on the frontline of the crisis.
Unlike the THRIVE Act the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 continues to bolster the fossil fuel industry while neglecting Build Back Better Act level invest in key sectors of our economy:
The Inflation Reduction Act mandates offshore oil and gas lease sales in Alaska and the Gulf, in addition to oil and gas lease sales for every solar and wind project on federal lands and waters, continuing our reliance on dirty energy sources that poison communities and pollute the climate.
The IRA creates expenditures towards false solutions to the climate crisis that continue our reliance on fossil fuels instead of facilitating a just transition to clean energy.
The IRA fails to include crucial THRIVE and Build Back Better investments for climate and environmental justice such as funding for: safe, green and affordable housing, accessible child and home care, a monthly child tax credit that pulled so many children out of poverty, reliable public transportation, updated public school infrastructure, a Civilian Climate Corps, removal of lead pipes, and more.
In response to the release of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Green New Deal Network members share their impressions of the bill:
Gary Zuckett, director of People’s Action member organization West Virginia Citizen Action Group said, “West Virginia organizers and our allies around the country helped win this victory. For years we fought against corporate attacks on our people and our planet and worked to inform Senator Manchin on climate solutions. The climate funding in this bill is a start to protect our communities from future destruction and heal past climate injustice, but we need so much more to meet the urgency of our climate crisis. Democrats need to drop mandated drilling, bolster our wind and solar energy, and reject false approaches that undo most of the good in this bill. There is no time to lose as millions suffer through record temperatures and extreme summer flooding and fires. We will continue organizing for bigger and bolder climate justice solutions, because we know when people come together we can win.”
Elizabeth Yeampierre, CJA Board Co-Chair and Executive Director of UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization, elaborated on climate priorities for frontline communities in New York. “As an organization committed to community led solutions, we know community-controlled renewable energy ensures clean and safe energy in our neighborhoods. While this bill supports these types of community led projects, it also backhands our communities by incentivizing continued development of harmful and unhealthy fossil fuels. We applaud the effort to address frontline and environmental justice communities in this new bill but we need to do that by promoting energy security for all of us, not just the extractive industry. By pairing renewable energy expansion with massive oil and gas lease sales we are hindering a truly Just Transition. I know our elected officials want to and can do better.”
“A relentless climate movement and the brave actions of activists pushed Democrats to deliver one of the largest renewable energy investments in our country’s history. Unfortunately, the bill fails to address the out-of-control fossil fuel industry causing the climate crisis, encourages leasing of our public lands and waters, and entrenches sacrifice zones,” said John Noël, Senior Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace USA “Millions of people die every year as a result of fossil fuel air pollution, and we cannot afford any fossil fuel expansion if we’re going to avoid a climate catastrophe. Marketing a 40% reduction in emissions over 8 years while increasing fossil fuel leasing and a handshake deal to streamline permitting for fossil fuel infrastructure does not add up. ”
Julio Lopez Varona, Co-Chief of Campaigns at the Center for Popular Democracy Action said, “After nearly a year and a half of attention-seeking obstruction from two senators who placed their own interests above those of their constituents and the nation, we are finally seeing signs of progress in the Senate. The draft bill released last night will lower health costs for millions of people, including a reduction in prescription drug prices for seniors, and address the greatest crisis facing our nation and our world by investing in clean energy and reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030. It also begins to close the loopholes in the tax code that have allowed corporations and investment managers to avoid paying their share of taxes. Removing these loopholes will do far more to address inflation than the job-killing rate hikes of the Federal Reserve. Make no mistake: It took the concerted efforts of millions of people who made their voices heard and put their bodies on the line to get to this point. But moving forward requires a majority in Congress that will do more than the bare minimum to keep our planet habitable, build a just and resilient economy, and tackle corporate greed and predation.”
About the Green New Deal Network
The Green New Deal Network is a nationwide network of organizations committed to transforming our politics and economy with policies that address the climate crisis, that create good, union jobs, and that repair past harm and advance justice. The Network includes coalitions in 25 states, as well as a coordinating team of 15 national organizations: Center for Popular Democracy, Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Greenpeace, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indivisible, Movement for Black Lives, MoveOn, People’s Action, Right To The City Alliance, Service Employees International Union, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, US Climate Action Network, and the Working Families Party.