For Immediate Release
Contact: Adrien Salazar, firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to the House passage of the Build Back Better Act, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance issued the following statement:
Today the House passed the Build Back Better Act, a bill that reflects critical investments, some missed opportunities, and some damaging elements for frontline communities.
This bill contains important investments in green infrastructure, public transit, affordable housing, home and community care, and environmental justice. There are significant programs in this bill that will make a difference in the lives of working class people. These investments are there because grassroots movements and communities fought for them. But the fight is far from over.
The Build Back Better Act falls short on the full scale of investments we need to lift our economy out of crisis and transition away from fossil fuels towards a renewable and regenerative economy. Moreover, the bill includes investments in false solutions and technologies that will ultimately perpetrate continued pollution and further harm frontline communities. This budget was watered down and poked with loopholes by fossil fuel lobbyists and right-wing politicians on both sides of the aisle. A historic economic transformation out of this moment of overlapping crises must not continue to throw some communities under the bus.
Just some of the investments that grassroots organizing won, that must be retained as the bill moves to the Senate include:
- Transportation and public transit funding to increase transit access in low-income communities, to electrify buses and heavy-duty vehicles, to expand high speed rail, and reduce pollution in ports,
- Funding to replace half of all lead pipes in the country, reduce toxic runoff from stormwater systems, and increase water supplies to communities experiencing drought,
- Expansion of and improvements to modernize public housing,
- Set-asides that help advance the Justice 40 initiative to invest at least 40% of all climate investments in the most vulnerable communities,
- Support for dozens of environmental justice programs,
- Massive investments in home and community-based care,
- Extension of the Child Tax Credit,
- A temporary status for undocumented immigrants,
- Universal paid leave, and
- Funding for oversight of the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the bill.
However we are disappointed that several elements that frontline communities fought for did not make it into the final House bill. These include full replacement of lead pipes across the country, funds to modernize and green public schools, parity funding for public transportation, and Free Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Tribes and communities.
Furthermore, the Build Back Better Act as written contains investments that will harm Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and low-income communities and that we will have to fight to undo. The bill provides massive incentives for the development of unproven and unnecessary technologies that allow continued pollution in already impacted communities. These include tax incentives for nuclear energy, biofuels, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and oil and gas development. The bill also does nothing to reduce the $15 billion of annual direct subsidies to fossil fuels, give-aways that prop-up the dangerous fossil fuel economy.
We cannot applaud this bill on one hand and accept investments in false solutions that will harm frontline communities with the other. These investments are here because fossil fuel lobbyists, large banks, and corporations continue to grip our political system. As the Build Back Better Act moves to the Senate we demand Senators remove investments that will harm communities.
For the final version of this bill to actually be historic, it must prioritize directly impacted communities and do no harm. We have arrived at this moment because of the power of grassroots and frontline communities demanding real solutions, not corporate give-aways and tax schemes to keep the fossil fuel economy on life support. We will continue to fight for the investments and protections needed to meet the needs of people and the planet.
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