Inside the Greenhouse is a monthly update on FCNL’s environmental advocacy and the emerging climate issues that impact our work.
Permitting Reform Effort Stalls
In September, we celebrated the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the largest investment in climate change mitigation ever made by the United States.
In return for his support for the IRA, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) promised Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) a vote on permitting reform. Permitting is the process for getting federal approval for energy projects.
The permitting reform text was meant to be included in a bill to keep the government funded, but congressional Democrats were not able to reach an agreement to advance the proposal. Senate Republicans also opposed it. As a result, the permitting reform bill has been momentarily shelved.
There is a clear need for permitting reform so that the United States can build a sustainable clean energy economy. However, it will be vital to ensure that any permitting reform, while accelerating clean energy deployment, protects the rights of marginalized communities.
This fall, attendees at the Quaker Public Policy Institute (Nov. 16-20) will lobby Congress to pass the Environmental Justice for All Act (S. 872/H.R. 2021), which should serve as the foundation for any further permitting policy.
Join us in November and urge your members of Congress to publicly support and pass this bill.
Hurricanes Devastate Communities in Florida and Puerto Rico
Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm, made landfall in the continental United States last week, battering southwest and central Florida before moving on to other states.
More than 100 people have died thus far. Property damage has been estimated at $60 billion in Florida alone, which is comparable to the property damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In mid-September, Hurricane Fiona devastated Puerto Rico and cut off the entire island’s power. President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration and promised aid for debris removal, power and water restoration, shelter, and food.
Hurricane Fiona is the just the latest instance of Puerto Ricans bearing a disproportionate amount of damage from natural disasters. The federal government must deliver more consistent funding for resilient renewable infrastructure that will support the island’s most vulnerable citizens.
In 2022, FCNL constituents have sent 564 letters in support of environmental justice for all.
News and Updates
Nord Stream Explosions Cause Further Energy Uncertainty
In the last week of September, the Nord Stream gas pipelines stretching between Russia and Germany were damaged by undersea explosions, releasing more than 300,000 metric tons of methane gas. The European Union and the United States have speculated that the Russian government may be responsible.
More Aid Needed in Pakistan
Pakistan has been dealing with catastrophic flooding since mid-June that has resulted in nearly 1,500 deaths and property damage estimated at more than $10 billion. To date, the United States has provided more than $50 million in aid, but far more assistance will be needed. Pakistan’s floods have highlighted the growing push for developed nations to compensate developing nations for “loss and damage” related to climate change.
What We’re Reading:
- President Biden launched a National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative to improve climate and energy security.
- Denmark pledges to pay $13 million to countries that have experienced climate change-fueled “loss and damage.”
- Development of renewable energy projects should not sacrifice farmland and cause deforestation.
- New York is considering connecting gas and oil plants to offshore wind infrastructure development.