Today President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which makes historic investments to combat climate change. A 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 will help ensure we protect future generations from the worst climate impacts. This action on climate is long overdue and the momentum cannot stop here. Congress and the Biden Administration must continue to not only take additional meaningful action to reduce carbon emissions, but also help communities disproportionately impacted by fossil fuel extraction and processing. Our political leaders must dismantle racial, social, and economic injustices in our energy policy, help communities adapt to climate change impacts they are already facing, and end our reliance on fossil fuels.
Some provisions in the IRA and additional legislation that is part of a “side deal” would perpetuate fossil fuel development and would create a polluter free-for-all, irreparably harming some of our most vulnerable communities. Appalachia, the Gulf Coast, and Alaska will be at greater risk of oil and gas extraction and dangerous pipelines, increasing the harm to these already overburdened areas. We will continue to stand with impacted communities to block these injustices, protect vulnerable people, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Clean Water Action applauds the countless activists, scientists, and other community members who worked tirelessly to elevate the need for action, as well as the Members of Congress and President Biden for their leadership in getting this unprecedented climate action over the finish line. Our work is far from over. As we noted in The Chilling Effect of Oil and Gas Money on Democracy and Stranglehold: Oil and Gas Money is Choking our Democracy, the outsized influence of oil and gas money corrupts our politics and policy and perpetuates very real harm to frontline communities while putting our water, our air, and our health at risk. We will continue to work to address the harm caused by the fossil fuel economy and to encourage further action to protect overburdened communities and combat climate change.