By Drew Costley
Billions of dollars in climate and environment investments could flow to communities in the United States that have been plagued by pollution and climate threats for decades, if the proposed Inflation Reduction Act becomes law. The bill, announced by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin last month, could also jumpstart a transition to clean energy in regions still dominated by fossil fuels.
But while there is a lot of hope for what the Inflation Reduction Act can bring to communities, there is also hesitation with parts of the bill that experts said prop up the fossil fuel industry. One of those is a provision that requires the federal government to lease a certain amount of its public lands for oil and gas extraction whenever it leases public lands for solar and wind energy generation.
“There are things in this package that are poison pills for our communities. So while there are environmental justice investments and clean energy investments, we have to be clear-eyed in our assessment,” said Adrien Salazar, policy director for the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, a climate justice nonprofit. “There are things that will harm people who live on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction, pollution and the climate crisis.”