Friday, November 19, 2021

Evangelical Environmental Network: U.S. House Passage Of Build Back Better Budget Puts Us Closer To A Bright Inheritance For Our Children

The York County-based
Evangelical Environmental Network released this statement on the passage of the Build Back Better federal budget proposal by the U.S. House--

"The Bible instructs us to leave a good inheritance to future generations (Proverbs 13:22). With today’s passage of the Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives, we are one step closer to giving our children a bright and healthy future that we can be proud to pass down. 

“The climate and pollution crises ravaging our communities confront us with a crucial “you can pay me now or pay me later” decision. 

“While this bill bears a large price tag, it pales in comparison to the price tag of climate inaction, which carries unimaginable and inexcusable costs, in lives as well as dollars. 

“This year alone, climate-fueled extreme weather has cost our economy a record-breaking $105 billion in property and infrastructure damage and over 500 lives lost. 

“Today’s choice to pass the most ambitious and transformative climate and clean energy investments in our nation’s history will reverberate throughout the generations that follow, making our air purer, our communities safer, our economy stronger, and our families and neighbors healthier.

“As Evangelical Christians with a special care for the unborn, we especially celebrate the expanded policies for defending children’s health. 

“Together with the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Build Back Better Act ensures pure water by replacing over 5 million lead water lines and clean air by accelerating the deployment of affordable clean energy to power our homes and communities, plugging air toxins and leaks of climate-warming methane from oil and gas infrastructure, and will trade 60,000 diesel school buses for clean electric ones.

“We at the Evangelical Environmental Network thank all the supporters of this historic bill and are grateful for the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and Committee Chairs Neal (MA-01), Yarmuth (KY-03), Pallone (NJ-06), Castor (FL-14), Scott (GA-13), and Grijalva (AZ-03). 

“We lament, however, that this has become a one-party bill instead of uniting the country around defending human health and protecting God’s creation. 

“Our children’s well-being isn’t––and shouldn’t be––a partisan issue. It is a moral issue and a matter of life. 

“We call on all our leaders, regardless of their political stripe, to come together to ensure every child has the hope and expectation of a safe climate and pollution-free world.

“While the Build Back Better Act puts us on a solid trajectory to combat dangerous climate disruption, more is needed to achieve our national goals to reduce carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels and the ultimate goal of net-zero by 2050. 

“As the Build Back Better Act now goes to the Senate for consideration, we call on the upper chamber to close the gap by adding in a carbon fee with cash-back rebates to low and middle-income families and investments in frontline and energy-transition communities and for clean energy innovation. 

“This carbon-linked revenue-raiser would also ensure the Build Back Better Act is paid in full. 

“There is too much at stake to stumble at the finish line. A price on carbon will ensure we successfully meet our critical carbon reduction targets and that these transformative investments are fully paid for.”

The Pennsylvania-based Young Evangelicals For Climate Action National Organizer and Spokesperson Tori Goebel released this statement on the House action--

“As Christians, we are called to love God and love our neighbors (Matthew 22:34-40). Addressing the climate crisis is a meaningful way of doing both better. 

“With today’s passage of the Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives, we are one step closer to a brighter, more just future for everyone. 

“It is time for serious, historic climate action. We know that we do not have time to waste; our neighbors are suffering from the weight of climate change now, and our future is in danger. 

“We also know that we cannot address climate change without addressing interconnected concerns like racial and economic injustice, and so we are pleased that the Build Back Better Act would target 40 percent of investments in communities on the frontlines of climate change and also includes a new Civilian Climate Corps

“We cannot afford to ignore climate change any longer. 

“Once signed into law, Build Back Better will create jobs, improve the economy, and build more resilient communities, all while addressing the climate crisis.  

“YECA thanks all the supporters of this historic bill and is grateful for the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and Committee Chairs Neal (MA-01), Yarmuth (KY-03), Pallone (NJ-06), Castor (FL-14), Scott (GA-13), and Grijalva (AZ-03). 

“Unfortunately, caring for God’s creation and creating a better future for all has become a partisan issue with this bill. 

“The climate crisis touches every facet of our lives and highlights how interconnected we truly are. 

“We are thankful for the leaders who are boldly making the moral choice, and we call on all leaders, regardless of their political ideology, to ensure that future generations can thrive in a stable climate and pollution-free world. 

“As the Build Back Better Act heads to the Senate for consideration, we urge senators to fulfill their moral responsibility to boldly address the climate crisis and to stop playing political football with our future. 

“It is time for climate justice. Young people are watching, and we will not accept anything less.’

PennFuture President and CEO Jacquelyn Bonomo issued this statement on the passage of the Build Back Better plan--

“The Build Back Better Act approved by the House of Representatives today is a game-changer and a remarkable outcome for communities, activists and even elected officials who have been sounding climate alarms for decades without a commensurate response from policymakers - until now. 

“The $555 billion earmarked for climate and clean energy initiatives is a singular antidote to the obstruction and malaise that has stymied climate inaction. 

“For far too long, weather events made worse and more frequent by climate change have taken a toll on America’s lands, people and built infrastructure.

“These climate programs will do more to combat the climate crisis than any measure before: funding to scale up renewables and electrification, and to build natural and other infrastructure that will enable some measure of resiliency. 

“These historic investments won’t just combat the climate crisis and result in healthier and better-prepared communities, but they will put people back to work in impressive fashion by adding hundreds of thousands of quality jobs, all while slashing our carbon emissions in half by 2030. 

“The Build Back Better plan will create an exciting Civilian Climate Corps - an initiative supported by PennFuture for the last several years - that will conserve and protect our public lands, make our communities and environment more resilient against climate change, and create good-paying, family-sustaining jobs with good benefits for a diverse workforce across the nation. 

“President Biden’s Build Back Better plan will bring about transformational change that will be felt for generations to come.”

Mandy Warner, Environmental Defense Fund Director of Climate and Clean Air Policy, had this reaction-- 

“Passage of the Build Back Better Act by the U.S. House, following the recent adoption of the federal bipartisan infrastructure bill, is good news for Pennsylvania. 

“Together, these measures will create jobs, cut air and climate pollution, and help Pennsylvania meet its climate goals, including by helping make significant investments towards plugging the estimated 200,000 orphaned oil & gas wells that dot the landscape of Pennsylvania. 

 “New federal investments to boost clean energy can be leveraged by Pennsylvania to accelerate progress on reducing carbon pollution from its power sector. 

“In tandem with the cost-effective and proven Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Pennsylvania can quickly build its power sector for the zero-carbon future and ensure it remains a regional electricity generation leader. 

“These new bills can also complement investments made through RGGI, including by providing support for fossil fuel workers and communities affected by the energy transition well underway, cleaning up orphan wells and abandoned mines, offering job training and investing in new economic opportunities.”

 “These measures will help invest in Pennsylvania’s future -- rebuilding infrastructure, boosting clean energy, ensuring fairness for transitioning workers, and creating jobs in building a zero-emission economy. 

“The Build Back Better Act will also save Pennsylvania families money on their home energy bills -- growing to a national average estimated at $500 a year in savings.

 “It’s long past time we invested in our country -- and build towards a stronger economy and cleaner, safer, healthier future for our kids. Now we need the U.S. Senate to finish the job.”

Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania Federal Climate Campaign Manager Kai Mateo issued the following statement in response to the House action--

“The U.S. House of Representatives vote to pass President Biden’s transformative Build Back Better Act represents a critical step toward addressing our climate crisis and creating a stronger, more equitable and sustainable economy.

“This legislation would create millions of good-paying union jobs by investing more than half a trillion dollars to curb carbon pollution and expand clean, renewable energy — the largest such investment in our nation’s history.

“It will address other pressing environmental threats and begin to tackle generations of systemic racism and environmental inequity by investing billions of dollars removing lead water pipes, cleaning up toxic Superfund sites and creating pathways to good-paying, clean energy careers in underserved communities and communities of color through a new Civilian Conservation Corps.

“Conservation Voters of PA would like to thank every Democratic member of our congressional delegation for working to move this transformative bill out of the House, and we call on the Senate to take quick action. 

“We must meet this historic moment by getting Build Back Better to President Biden’s desk to power us into a brighter future.”

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Federal Executive Director Denise Stranko had this comment--

“Today’s vote brings us another important step closer to securing urgently needed funds to reduce farm runoff into the Bay and the local rivers and streams that feed into it. 

“Another $27 billion for conservation programs would allow USDA to make potentially transformative investments in helping farmers do their part to save the Bay and reduce greenhouse gases with practices that also create jobs and improve farmers’ bottom line. 

“CBF deeply appreciates the efforts of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), along with House Agriculture Chairman David Scott (D-Ga.), Bay delegation committee members Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who chairs the Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee, and Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.), to prioritize conservation programs in allocating USDA funds.

“Time is running out to restore the Bay, but it is still possible. CBF urges the Senate to act quickly to put these essential investments to work before it’s too late.”

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition issued the following comment from Eric Deeble, NSAC Policy Director--

“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) applauds the House of Representatives for recognizing the importance of this long-awaited climate and social spending package which addresses some of the most pressing issues facing farming and food systems today. 

“Overall, this package includes more than $90 billion in agriculture, forestry, rural development and nutrition investments. 

“In the face of a changing climate, extreme weather events impacting farmers and ranchers, and significant supply chain disruptions impacting the food system nationwide, these investments are long overdue. 

“We urge swift action by the Senate to get this legislation passed with agricultural spending intact, to help build back a resilient food and farming system and confront the climate crisis.”

What’s In the Plan?

The Build Back Better Act invests more than $550 billion to deliver the largest effort to combat climate change in American history. The Act:

-- Extends and expands clean energy tax credits to invest more than $300 billion to support clean energy investments and deployment, improve energy efficiency, and encourage vehicle electrification to help combat climate change while creating good, well-paying jobs. These incentives will not only reduce carbon pollution but also save the average American family hundreds of dollars per year in energy costs.

-- Reduces greenhouse gas pollution by providing $29 billion for a new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund that will enable nonprofit, state, and local climate finance institutions to leverage private-sector investments and rapidly deploy low- and zero-emission technologies, including zero-emission vehicle supply equipment, with at least 40 percent of investments in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

-- Accelerates the clean energy transition by funding grants, rebates, and loans to commercialize emerging clean energy technologies, reinvest in energy communities, support state and local climate pollution reduction plans, and reduce methane emissions and waste from oil and natural gas operations.

-- Transforms the transportation sector to reduce carbon pollution. Investments include: high-speed rail projects that would reduce reliance on higher-emission cars and planes; grant programs to integrate low-carbon materials into transportation projects and develop low-emission aviation fuels and technology; Community Climate Incentive Grants to help states and localities pursue carbon reduction strategies in the transportation area; and funding for sustainable port infrastructure and supply chain resilience.

-- Drives progress toward widespread zero-emissions vehicle use through $12.5 billion for grants and loans that support domestic auto manufacturing, clean heavy-duty vehicles, and zero-emissions vehicle infrastructure, as well as $9 billion for electrifying the federal and U.S. Postal Service vehicle fleets.

-- Lowers energy costs and decreases emissions across homes and factories by investing $19 billion in home energy efficiency and electrification rebates for consumers, advanced technology to reduce emissions in energy-intensive industrial and manufacturing facilities, and new high-capacity transmission lines for reliable delivery of clean energy.

-- Accelerates climate and clean energy research and development, including climate science, weather observation and forecasting, wildfire and hurricane research, climate-smart agricultural innovation and adaptation, and clean energy demonstration projects.

-- Addresses environmental and climate justice by supporting neighborhood equity, safety, and affordable transportation access; economic development for energy and industrial transition communities; community-led projects and capacity-building centers in low-income and disadvantaged areas to address the disproportionate harms of pollution and climate change; and nearly $20 billion for national service and workforce development in support of climate resilience and mitigation projects across the country.

-- Strengthens the resilience of communities, farms, fisheries, and ecosystems through historic investments in coastal restoration, public lands, forest management, wildfire threat reduction, soil health, and agricultural conservation.

-- Supports rural development and invests $16 billion to help rural electric cooperatives, rural businesses, and farmers transition to clean energy, increase energy efficiency, and improve biofuel infrastructure and market access.

-- Protects the nation’s public resources by permanently withdrawing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and federal waters in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Eastern Gulf from further oil and gas drilling.

-- Reforms oil and gas fees and royalties for the extraction of resources on public lands, to raise revenues fairly, responsibly, and without unnecessary industry giveaways.

Click Here for a summary of the complete package.

Resource Links:

-- WPost: How The House Spending Bill Addresses Climate Change

-- NYT: Everything In The House Democrats’ Build Back Better Budget Bill


-- AP: House Democrats Pass Sweeping Social, Climate Bill

-- The Guardian: House Democrats Pass Expansive Build Back Better Budget Plan

-- Utility Dive: U.S. House Passes Build Back Better, Tees Up Senate Vote On Funding For Climate, Clean Energy And Electric Vehicles

[Posted: November 19, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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