Washington, D.C. — Today the U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on the Inflation Reduction Act. Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), a coalition of over 70 grassroots organizations that represent communities on the frontlines of pollution, fossil fuel extraction, and climate crisis opposes the bill as written, and urges members of Congress to stand with the most vulnerable whose lives will be impacted by harmful provisions in this bill.
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance joins with the Climate Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, and the many environmental justice and social justice organizations to denounce the IRA’s harmful provisions. We call on Congressmembers to amend the IRA and remove expanded oil and gas leasing handouts to the fossil fuel industry and all investments in unreliable technologies that falsely claim to fight climate change and which will bring harm to communities, including incentives for carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, nuclear energy, biofuels, and carbon offsets, among others. Side deals that serve as a wish-list for the fossil fuel industry put the environment and frontline communities at further risk, and we demand Congress stop any additional legislation that would accelerate fossil fuel projects or weaken National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) review.
Our members demanded the full scale of economic and social investments needed to jumpstart a healthy economy in the THRIVE Act. Some investments in the IRA in renewable energy, in healthcare, and in environmental justice programs are the result of advocacy from our movements. Yet these investments are being held hostage by harmful fossil fuel handouts and false solutions in this bill.
“The IRA is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The Act holds renewable energy projects hostage to new fossil fuel extraction while subsidizing corporate-supported false solutions to the climate crisis like carbon capture and storage, biofuels, nuclear energy, and blue or gray hydrogen. The IRA mandates natural gas lease sale 258 in Alaska’s Cook Inlet—a sale that was previously canceled due to lack of industry interest. Congress is pushing new fossil fuel extraction in Dena’ina and Alutiiq waters from thousands of miles away, even though industry itself is not interested in developing there. We honor the leaders pushing for a just transition to regenerative economies that aren’t dependent on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the nature of Congress is to produce disappointments like the IRA; it is the nature of Congress to make trades between corporate interests and the true needs of our communities,” said Michaela Stith, Climate Justice Director, Native Movement, lifelong Alaskan born and raised in Anchorage on unceded Dena’ina lands. (Read Native Movement’s full statement.)
“We are seeing support for the Inflation Reduction Act coming from big fossil fuel companies, such as Shell Global, because the policy continues to prop up this harmful industry through federal subsidies. Without the necessary amendments, the IRA will put states, like New Mexico, in a position of being the energy sacrifice zone to build out stranded assets like green hydrogen hubs, unproven carbon capture and storage infrastructure, and other false solutions. We don’t need another fossil fuel bailout plan. We need comprehensive climate protections for Indigenous and frontline communities that put power back into the hands of the community to build a Regenerative Economy. The IRA does not center the environment or our people and it does not declare a climate emergency. We must act now or future generations will have to live with the consequences of this piece of legislation,” said Alejandría Lyons, Environmental Justice Organizer with Southwest Organizing Project and Coordinator of the New Mexico No False Solutions Coalition.
“The Inflation Reduction Act, while achieving some gains, ultimately falls short for the people that need relief the most on the frontlines of pollution and climate chaos: working people. Here in Florida we are faced with hurricanes and rising sea levels. People are being displaced from their homes now. Reversing the climate crisis means no more fossil fuels, and a just transition of working people to an economy of regeneration and not extraction. Any investments that expand fossil fuel infrastructure and extend the life of these polluting industries are a kick in the gut for our communities that are already dealing with climate chaos today. The IRA has important investments we fought for, but we cannot accept leaving behind any of our communities, our family, our relatives to be sacrifice zones for the rest of the country,” said Jonathan Alingu, Co-Executive Director of Central Florida Jobs With Justice.
“We do not accept a version of progress that continues to relinquish certain regions, certain communities to sacrifice zones. Here in Oregon we have fought for real solutions that improve health in our communities, like accessible public transit. The Inflation Reduction Act falls short on investing in healthy solutions like public transit, while creating loopholes for fossil-fueled business as usual to continue. A real climate justice bill must undo the accumulation of harms in frontline communities. The IRA does not do this. We will continue to fight for real solutions that invest in and protect those on the frontlines of pollution. We call on our elected representatives to stand with us and demand President Biden declare a climate emergency and use every authority in his power to to stop more harm from coming down on our communities,” said Huy Ong, Executive Director of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon.
GGJ members have fought for and won real solutions that improve the lives of everyday people. We do not believe that benefits to our communities can only be won with trade-offs in harmful fossil fuel handouts and false solutions. Confronting the climate crisis requires stopping fossil fuel expansion, ending ballooning military spending when the U.S. military is the largest single polluting institution in the world, and undoing chronic racial and economic inequalities.
Congressmembers must do everything in their power to amend the IRA, stop fossil fuel corporation giveaways, and prevent expansion of harmful technologies that extend the life of polluting industries. We call on Congress to block any insidious side deals that roll back NEPA protections, fast-track dirty energy projects, and advance more fossil fuel infrastructure. We also demand real action on climate justice from President Biden, beginning with declaring a climate emergency, mobilizing every authority in his power to deploy a just transition from the fossil fuel economy, and investing in communities and workers on the frontlines of crisis.
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