Fresh Energy Statement: Congress makes climate history

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On Friday, August 12, 2022, the U.S. House passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a $369 billion climate and tax package that will impact all facets of our energy and transportation systems, driving down emissions by 40% by 2030, most of the way to the president’s pledge to the world that the U.S. would cut its emissions more than half this decade. This bill constitutes by the far the largest investment in climate action in U.S. history and will result in 1 billion metric tons of annual emissions reductions by 2030.

Fresh Energy applauds Minnesota Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar who both played crucial roles in finding consensus in their party and getting the IRA over the finish line in the Senate. We are also celebrating Minnesota Representatives Angie Craig, Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar, and Dean Phillips, who voted in favor of the bill in the House.

Now that the Inflation Reduction Act has been passed out of the House and Senate, it moves on to the desk of President Biden for his signature. President Biden has already spoken out in support of the bill.

“Never have I seen so many allied to get federal climate legislation done,” said Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy. “From the grassroots pressure of the youth movement to nonprofits to businesses to labor and beyond, people on all sides have been clamoring for a bill like this and I’m proud of the role that Fresh Energy has played alongside advocates far and wide.”

“The energy transition requires all hands on deck and both American manufacturers and consumers have a crucial role to play in decarbonizing our economy,” said Margaret Cherne-Hendrick, senior lead of innovation and impact at Fresh Energy. “This deal gives consumers, business leaders, and beyond the tools and incentives they need to lead by electrifying where they live, work, and how they get around.”

“In Minnesota and across the country, Black, Indigenous, and people of color, as well as under-resourced communities, are disproportionately impacted by pollution and under-investment,” said Anjali Bains, lead director of energy access and equity at Fresh Energy. “These communities also hold the solutions on advancing environmental and climate justice, and we commend lawmakers for listening to environmental justice leaders and including major investments in this federal bill for these communities who have too long been left behind.”

“This bill will leverage tax incentives to push renewables, geothermal, battery storage, and the clean energy sector as a whole to the next level,” said Allen Gleckner, executive lead of policy and programs at Fresh Energy. “This is exactly the kind of investment we need to continue modernizing energy generation and transmission and build the grid of the future here in Minnesota and across the country.”

The investments in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 are economy-wide. You can read a summary of the bill here and the full bill language here. Key elements of the bill include:

  • Lowering transportation and building energy costs across the U.S. with new incentives, rebates, and programs.
  • Increasing energy security and independence by amping up American clean energy manufacturing.
  • Increased federal support for innovative climate solutions to decarbonize the economy, including reducing emissions from electricity generation, transportation, manufacturing, buildings, and agriculture.
  • Targeted investments for under-resourced communities and environmental justice to ensure no one is left behind in the clean energy transition.
  • Support for rural communities becoming an integral part of the climate solution.

Read Fresh Energy’s blog digging into some elements of the Inflation Reduction Act here.