Inside the Greenhouse is a monthly newsletter about FCNL’s environmental work, ways to engage members of Congress, and stories that impact our work.
President Biden Hosts Climate Leaders Summit on Earth Day
On April 22-23, President Joe Biden convened 40 world leaders for a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate to build support to address the climate crisis. The summit is part of the Biden administration’s effort to return the United States to international climate leadership. During the summit, the administration also set an economy-wide emissions target of a 50-52% reduction below 2005 levels by 2030.
Other nations announced their emissions targets in the days before and during the summit. China indicated that it will strengthen control of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, strictly control coal-fired power projects, and phase down coal consumption.
RECLAIM Act Re-Introduced in the Senate
Sens. Joe Manchin (WV), Sherrod Brown (OH), Bob Casey (PA), Tim Kaine (VA), and Mark Warner (VA) re-introduced the RECLAIM Act and Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Reclamation Fee Extension Act on April 29. The House companion bills (H.R. 1733 and H.R. 1734) were reintroduced earlier this session. Together, these bills would fully reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Lands fund and provide needed opportunities for affected coal communities.
Abandoned coal mine lands could be recovered for community redevelopment, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation, while creating an estimated 13,000 new jobs. FCNL joins a broad coalition, including Appalachian Voices, Center for Coalfield Justice, Interfaith Power & Light, and the Sierra Club, in strongly supporting these bills.
In 2021, FCNL constituents have sent 527 messages in support of the Environmental Justice for All Act.
News and Updates
Senate Votes to Address Methane Gas Emissions
The Senate voted to restore Obama-era limits on methane gas emissions, reversing a Trump-era policy that removed these limits. The House will now vote on the measure. The UN recently released a report stressing the need to drastically reduce methane emissions to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
President Biden Emphasizes Jobs and Climate in Joint Address to Congress
President Biden’s joint address to Congress on April 29 laid out his administration’s policy priorities, and climate and jobs played a starring role. Biden emphasized that our response to the climate crisis could bolster the economy and provide meaningful opportunities for new jobs. Read an update on why the president’s American Jobs Plan represents a step forward.
Senate Passes Water Infrastructure Package
In a striking show of bipartisanship, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 (S. 914) on April 28 by a vote of 89-2. Among other provisions, the $35 billion water infrastructure bill increases funding for rural and tribal communities and grants to remove lead from drinking water.
Washington State Passes Major Carbon Tax
Washington’s state legislature passed a comprehensive cap-and-trade bill on carbon emissions. The bill gained support from major environmental groups, the Quinault Indian Nation, and the oil company BP. It is anticipated to go into effect in January 2023. Through its cap-and-trade system, Washington aims to reduce statewide emissions by 95% in 2050 compared to 1990 levels, and return at least 35% of the program’s investments to vulnerable communities.
Clarence and I had the honor of presenting at the Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) Spring Steering Committee Meeting on April 17. We had a wonderful conversation about our work, how faith inspires our climate action, and what the landscape is for passing meaningful policies in the 117th Congress.