So-called “Inflation Reduction Act” Involves Increasing Fossil Fuels

by Duane Nichols on July 29, 2022

We can do better, we need to do better, let’s try harder!

Hundreds of Climate, Community Groups Tell Biden, Congress: No Fossil Fuel Expansion in Reconciliation Bill

Press Release from Karuna Jaguar, Center for Biological Diversity & Peter Hart, Food & Water Watch, July 29, 2022

WASHINGTON— More than 350 conservation and community groups, representing millions of people, called on President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer today to reject fossil fuel expansion during negotiations over a reconciliation package.

The groups also urged Biden to use the full suite of his executive authority to stop issuing federal fossil fuel leases and deny permits for new fossil fuel infrastructure, and to declare a climate emergency, which would unlock powerful tools to combat the climate crisis.

“Permitting new fossil fuel projects will further entrench us in a fossil fuel economy for decades to come — and constitutes a violent betrayal of your pledge to combat environmental racism and destruction,” the groups’ lettersaid. “New fossil fuel projects will also lock workers into a dying industry and delay the growth in sectors that will support jobs of the future.”

Two provisions buried in the Inflation Reduction Act would require massive oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, reinstate an illegal 2021 Gulf lease sale and mandate that millions more acres of public lands be offered for leasing before any new solar or wind energy projects could be built on public lands or waters. These leasing provisions lock in decades of additional fossil fuel pollution and continue a racist legacy of sacrificing environmental justice communities.

Greenlighting new fossil fuel extraction is incompatible with climate science and the administration’s climate goals. The science is clear that the president cannot approve any new fossil fuel leases and still stay within the U.S. carbon budget for keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Communities at the front lines of the climate emergency are already dealing with and dying from ever-worsening fires, hurricanes, flooding, heat waves and drought. A recent analysis showed that more than 40% of Americans lived in areas hit by climate disasters last year, a number that would grow if the fossil fuel-friendly provisions in the IRA become law.

Letter signers, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Climate Justice Alliance, Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace USA, Indigenous Environmental Network, Our Revolution and Sunrise Movement, are urging Democratic leaders to reject fossil fuel expansion and stand with the communities that voted them into office.


“We can’t let the renewable energy transition be held hostage by fossil fuel companies,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Manchin bill is a devil’s bargain that ignores science and locks us into at least a decade of new oil and gas extraction. There’s a way forward that doesn’t spew more greenhouse gas pollution into the air and harm frontline communities, and it means eliminating these giveaways to the fossil-fuel industry.”

“This bill should not be considered a climate victory,” said Jim Walsh, policy director for Food & Water Watch. “Locking in more drilling and fracking on public lands and waters, billions in subsidies for the myth of carbon capture, and fast-tracking permit approvals for gas pipelines and exports are exactly the policies fueling the climate crisis and harming public health with increasing pollution in our air and water. Lawmakers who support real climate solutions should reject this deal until the fossil fuel handouts are removed.”

“The Inflation Reduction Act may be the most Washington can offer right now, but it’s a far cry from what’s actually needed to address the climate crisis,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth. “The investments in renewables, energy efficiency and Superfund clean-ups will make a difference, but communities and the climate continue to be sacrificed to Sen. Manchin’s fossil fuel demands.”

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Climate Insider July 30, 2022 at 2:30 pm

Senate Democrats Produce a Far-Reaching Climate Bill, But the Price of Compromise with Joe Manchin is Years More Drilling for Oil and Gas

By Marianne Lavelle, Nicholas Kusnetz, Inside Climate News, July 28, 2022

The legislation includes unprecedented tax incentives for renewable energy and electric vehicles but requires additional oil and gas leasing on millions of acres of federal land for a decade.

PHOTO ~ Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) speaks to reporters before a hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on July 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.

To seal their surprise climate deal with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Senate Democrats conceded that their only hope for advancing a plan for a clean energy future in Congress was to bind it up in a lifeline for fossil fuels.

The legislation they propose to bring to the Senate next week still contains the heart of President Joe Biden’s climate plan — an historic $370 billion investment in transforming the U.S. power and transportation sectors and more than $60 billion in grants to help pollution-burdened disadvantaged communities achieve environmental justice.

But the package — now called the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022″— also would invest in ensuring a future for U.S. fossil energy in a carbon-constrained world. The legislation hikes tax incentives for expensive carbon capture technology 70 percent. It also requires that, for the next decade, the federal government offer tens of millions of acres offshore for oil and gas drilling as a prerequisite to the expansion of offshore wind energy development.

And Manchin said that he has obtained a commitment from Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that they will advance separate legislation this fall that streamlines the permitting process for energy infrastructure, including pipelines and export facilities.

“It is truly all of the above, which means this bill does not arbitrarily shut off our abundant fossil fuels,” Manchin said in a statement.

Climate action advocates were poring over the 725-page draft text, coming to varying conclusions as they tried to weigh the bad against the good.

“This is the ultimate clean energy comeback—the strongest climate action yet at the moment we need it most,” said Manish Bapna, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a statement. “This is not the bill we would have written. It’s time to break, not deepen, our dependence on fossil fuels and all the damage and danger they bring. But this is a package we can’t afford to reject.”

He urged the Senate to pass it without delay, while the climate movement continues to work on other steps “to ensure a just and climate-safe future.”

Meanwhile, other environmental groups were drafting a letter urging the Senate to reject the compromises for fossil fuel development as incompatible with goals to eliminate greenhouse gases.

“This is a climate suicide pact,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity.


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