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Inside the Greenhouse is a monthly update on FCNL’s environmental advocacy and the emerging climate issues that impact our work.   

Budget Agreement Includes Energy Permitting Legislation

The bipartsian budget agreement reached between the White House and Congress to raise the nation’s borrowing limit included several provisions related to energy infrastructure permitting.

The bill (H.R. 3746) updates the National Environmental Policy Act (Public Law: 91-190) or NEPA—a law instituted in 1970 to protect communities from environmental harm—by shortening environmental review deadlines and ensuring that impact studies do not exceed two years. This marks a significant change in how new infrastructure projects will be approved. While it will make it easier to build clean energy projects, it will also prioritize fossil fuel power generation.   

In addition, the deal authorizes the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a controversial gas project running through West Virginia. The bill removes legal challenges the project has faced since its inception and ignores water quality damage complaints.

These are steps in the wrong direction. Sustainable permitting law should uphold protections like those historically afforded by NEPA. It must prioritize the transition to renewable energy and protect communities impacted by large-scale infrastructure projects. 

G-7 Nations Fail to Commit to Bold Climate Assistance

In mid-May, Group of Seven (G-7) leaders met in Japan to discuss issues ranging from the war in Ukraine to nuclear disarmament and energy. They acknowledged that the circumstances posed by the war in Ukraine have caused global energy insecurity.

The communiqué released following the summit reflected an encouraging commitment by G-7 nations to phase-out fossil fuels and decarbonize their country’s energy systems by 2050.

During the summit, leaders reiterated the need to assist countries in the Global South in building climate resilience and stimulating their transition to green energy sources.

While statements are a good start, they must be followed by action. G-7 member nations should follow through with bold, actionable commitments to allocate a substantial amount of their foreign aid to assist impacted nations in responding to the climate crises.

News and Updates

UN Appeal for Aid Falls Short
On May 24, the United Nations received pledges of $2.4 billion to fund aid operations for some 32 million people across Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia who are struggling with the worst drought in 40 years. The United States committed $524 million. The money raised was less than half of what was requested. The climate crisis in the Horn of Africa is driving mass displacement, made worse by regional conflicts. We must better address the intersection of climate change, conflict, and migration and increase U.S. support for such crises abroad.  

Investment in Indonesian Oil Refinery Contradicts Biden’s Climate Commitment
In 2021 the Biden administration directed federal agencies to stop funding new international fossil fuel projects. On May 11, the National Export-Import Bank went against that pledge by lending almost $100 million to expand an oil refinery in Indonesia.  

FCNL Staff Travel to West Virginia to Learn about Just Energy Transition
From May 13-18, I traveled to West Virginia with Clare Carter, FCNL’s Quaker engagement program assistant. We visited several organizations working to support a just energy transition in the region and met with Friends in Charleston and Lewisburg, WV. We want to thank everyone who welcomed us on our trip. 

Jus and Clare visit Friends in West Virginia - group smiles and holds a sign that says "Love Thy Neighbor (No Exceptions)"

What We’ve Been Reading  

Staff: Jus Tavcar

Jus Tavcar

Interim Legislative Associate, Sustainable Energy and Environment (2022-2023)

Jus Tavcar is the interim legislative associate for sustainable energy and environment. In his work, Jus lobbies Congress to pass policies in favor of transitioning into a just green economy.