Inside the Greenhouse is a monthly update on FCNL’s environmental advocacy and the emerging climate issues that impact our work.
Inflation Reduction Act Passes the Senate
It has been a long time in the making, but the Senate finally passed a historic bill that meaningfully addresses climate change.
After more than a year of negotiations on a reconciliation package, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on Aug. 7 by a 51-50 vote. Every Democrat and two Independents voted for the bill, while all Republicans voted against passage. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote.
The IRA, the largest climate change bill in U.S. history, allocates approximately $369 billion in funding for renewable energy technologies, clean transportation, and environmental justice programs. The IRA is projected by climate modelers to put the United States on a path to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% over 2005 levels by 2030.
It will reach this goal by providing incentives for clean energy and transportation options and investing in battery storage technology (key for solar and wind power). It also allocates $60 billion for environmental justice initiatives.
The bill, a compromise among Senate Democrats, does include some controversial provisions that help the fossil fuel industry. In particular, it opens up Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico to additional oil and gas drilling rights, and ties renewable energy projects to future oil and gas lease sales in the United States. These provisions are concerning, as their impact will fall on the marginalized communities the bill seeks to help. Overall, however, the positives in the bill outweigh its negatives.
“There is still much work to be done for environmental and economic justice, but we wholeheartedly welcome the Inflation Reduction Act as an historic and vital step forward for the United States and the world,” said FCNL General Secretary Bridget Moix.
The bill is expected to be passed by the House this week and it will then go the president’s desk for his signature.
The IRA is a critical first step on the path toward a low carbon economy, and we look forward to its passage and enactment with optimism. Write to your senators and respond to their vote on this historic bill.
Our advocacy will continue. We are especially eager to work with the administration to ensure that the environmental justice funding reaches those who most need it.
In the last month, FCNL constituents sent 4,382 letters in support of bold climate action!
News and Updates
Environmental Justice for All Act Advances
On July 27, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021/S. 872) on a party line vote. This bill would allow greater community input in the location of industrial and fossil fuel projects. These sources of pollution disproportionately impact marginalized communities and communities of color. The bill’s lead sponsor, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), will now push for the legislation to be considered by the full House.
Europe Faces Energy Crisis
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and heat waves continue to worsen Europe’s energy crisis. In early August, the European Union (EU) requested that its members reduce their gas consumption by 15%. France and the Netherlands are encouraging citizens to reduce their energy consumption, and the German government is anticipating a difficult winter and considering natural gas rationing. One potential consequence of the European energy crisis may be an acceleration of the EU’s plans for a green transition.
What We’re Reading: