Washington, D.C. – The Inflation Reduction Act introduced by Senate Democrats in a deal with coal baron Senator Joe Manchin is a bad deal for frontline communities. After a long and tortuous year of negotiations between Democratic leaders and the fossil fuel-funded Senator, it is no surprise that this package includes provisions that will harm communities. The worst of these include mandated offshore oil and gas lease sales in Alaska and the Gulf, mandatory oil and gas lease sales for every solar and wind project on federal lands, carbon capture and storage tax credits, and expenditures for biofuels, nuclear energy, and hydrogen. These harmful provisions will hurt communities already overburdened by fossil fuel extraction, pollution, and climate chaos.
This bill also has important renewable energy, transportation, buildings, and environmental justice investments that are a direct result of persistent advocacy from frontline environmental justice leaders. However, communities on the frontlines cannot continue to be sacrifice zones for the rest of the country’s benefit. We do not accept that some pollution is acceptable, or that some lives must be lost. Expecting environmental justice communities to compromise our health and give up our lives is the exact opposite of climate justice.
These destructive expenditures expand fossil fuel extraction and perpetuate the fantasy of false solutions to the climate crisis. While this bill includes investments our communities fought for and won, we demand Congress remove all harmful spending in false solutions and fossil fuels from the final package that reaches the President’s desk. A so-called climate bill that leaves any community behind is not a climate bill nor an environmental justice bill. It is just more business-as-usual.
The Inflation Reduction Act as written is insufficient, and we call on President Biden to utilize every tool available through executive authority, including declaring a climate emergency, to mobilize the government to respond to the climate crisis. Our members at the frontlines of environmental catastrophe will continue to fight for the bold action required for real climate justice.
# # #