Thursday, July 28, 2022

AP: U.S. Senate Democrats, Sen. Manchin Agree On Largest Single Investment In Measures To Fight Climate Change, Assess Methane Leak Fees On Oil & Gas Facilities

On July 27, the
Associated Press reported U.S. Senate Democrats and Sen. Manchin (WV) agreed on a package of investments that would make the largest single investment in measures to fight climate change in the United States.

The package includes $369 billion over the next 10 years for--

-- $60 billion for clean energy manufacturing tax credit - solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, critical minerals processing

-- $30 billion for a wind and solar energy, energy efficiency tax credits

-- 10-Year consumer tax credits for renewable energy investments in wind and solar, efficient heat pumps, more

-- Tax breaks for buying electric vehicles- $4,000 for used, $7,500 for new

-- Production tax credits for nuclear power, clean hydrogen

Methane Leak Fees

The oil and gas industry would also be assessed excess methane emission fees for the first time from leaking oil and gas wells, pipelines and other infrastructure.  Read more here.

The agreement also includes incentives for the industry to monitor and clean up methane leaks. Read more here.

Democrats believe the strategies would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

The package would be paid for by a new 15 percent minimum tax on corporations earning more than $1 billion, which would obviously include oil and gas companies making windfall profits from the spike in prices since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The full package also includes long-sought authority for the Medicare program to negotiate prescription drug prices and help paying for health insurance.

Click Here for the full text of the agreement.

Permitting Reform

Manchin and Schumer say they have also reached an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Biden to pass a permitting reform bill by the end of the year, with the goal of easing permits for domestic energy production and transmission.  Read more here.


"PennFuture and the ReImagine Appalachia coalition laud this announcement and, if this bill becomes law, we will continue to make sure these investments are funded and directed to frontline communities in Pennsylvania that have sacrificed so much at the hands of industry for far too long.

“PennFuture applauds Sen. Manchin for reversing course and supporting climate provisions in the reconciliation package in Congress,” said Annie Regan, senior program manager at PennFuture. “While full details of the potential Inflation Reduction Act haven’t been released, we are cautiously optimistic that real action will be taken to address the climate crisis at a time when we need it most. 

“We hope Congress has finally realized that transitioning to a clean energy economy is a win for jobs. Bold climate investments are the antidote to inflation. We can mitigate the effects of climate change while creating good paying union jobs and prioritizing rural and environmental justice communities that have been left behind.” 

Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania Executive Director Molly Parzen issued the following statement--  

“Today’s announcement marks a major moment in the fight against climate change. The clean energy investments contained in the proposed legislation represent a tremendous and historic step towards meeting our emissions targets.

“These investments will help turn the existential threat of climate change into an opportunity to jumpstart the creation of a 21st century economy powered by clean, renewable energy. 

“They will create family-sustaining union jobs, expand economic opportunities for communities of color and low-income neighborhoods and help provide long-term energy security.

“This bill is a promising step and there is no doubt more work is needed as we continue the transition towards a clean energy economy. For now, we are calling on every single member of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to rally behind this historic legislation and help get it over the finish line.”

Appalachian Voices Executive Director Tom Cormons released this reaction to the U.S. Senate agreement on climate change, clean energy initiatives--

“The climate investments included in this package are crucial and urgent. The reduction in carbon emissions they’ll lead to are badly needed. But these investments — particularly those targeted at environmental justice, low-income and historic energy-producing communities — will also help the places that have powered the United States for generations finally reach their full economic potential and help them become as vital a part of the clean-energy future as they were of the fossil fuel past.

We urge Congress to act quickly to pass the Inflation Reduction Act.

As further infrastructure permitting reforms are discussed, it is imperative that Congress ensures that any process changes do not undercut bedrock protections of clean water, clean air and species habitat that have served to enhance Americans’ prosperity and quality of life for decades.”

Statement by Legislative Director Chelsea Barnes: “We’re very pleased to see the permanent restoration of the black lung excise tax at the higher, historic rate, providing peace of mind for coal miners who have fought for years for a long-term extension of the tax. The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund has been losing $2.8 million in funding every week because of the failure to reinstate that tax last year, causing miners with black lung and their families unnecessary insecurity and concern.”

Statement by Bri Knisley, Tennessee Campaign Manager: “Historically, rural communities were the last to gain access to electricity but have long borne the burden of polluting energy infrastructure, extraction and energy waste. We are thrilled to see provisions in this bill that provide funding for renewable and efficient rural energy infrastructure so that rural communities are not left behind in the clean energy transition.”

The York County-based Evangelical Environmental Network released this reaction to the compromise bill-- 

“The Evangelical Environmental Network offers high praise to Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) and Chairman Manchin (D-WV) and their staff for securing the historic agreement that tackles inflation, reduces the deficit, and invests a transformative $369.75 billion in Energy Security and Climate Change through The Inflation Reduction Act Of 2022 (IRA). 

“We are also indebted to Chairwoman Stabenow (D, MI), Chairman Carper (D, DE), and Chairman Wyden (D, OR) and their staff for ensuring that all Americans benefit from this extraordinary legislation. 

“The IRA reduces health care costs, addresses pollution in the most severely impacted frontline communities, supports America’s farmers and rural communities through natural climate solutions, and provides hope to transitioning fossil fuel regions by bringing back family-sustaining jobs.

“There is no doubt that the IRA is an investment in all of America. It is health and life insurance for our children and grandchildren and serves as a down payment on our future as well.

“While more is needed, this legislation marks a critical turning point in the fight for a safe climate and pollution-free world for all God’s children and all creation. 

“Today we can celebrate that the United States Congress is advancing forward the most significant climate change legislation to date – legislation that not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but will provide much needed relief to everyday Americans from high energy and health costs and lower our national debt. 

“While this bill is not perfect, we are extremely pleased that the IRA includes significant provisions to address fugitive methane through a fee structure, increases royalty rates and bonding requirements for oil and gas drilling on public lands, builds out our transmission infrastructure to distribute more renewable energy, tax credits for investments in renewable and carbon free energy, makes electric vehicles more accessible and affordable for all Americans, provides energy efficiency grants for home and business, and will revitalize communities across America, including former fossil fuel communities, by returning high-paying manufacturing jobs to our shores through the increased 48C tax credit.

“As the son and grandson of coal miners, I am also pleased that the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund has been permanently extended to care for those who gave their lives and health to supply America’s energy needs in the past.

“We join with President Biden in praying for the United States Senate and the House of Representatives to swiftly move the IRA to his desk without delay. America must do more but this is a giant step forward.”

Resource Links:

-- Summary Of Energy Security & Climate Change Provisions (U.S. Senate Democrats)

-- Click Here for the full text of the agreement. (WPost)

-- Click Here for the full test of the agreement. (Utility Dive)

-- AP: What’s In And Out Of Democrats’ Inflation-Fighting Package

-- Bloomberg: Here’s What’s In U.S. Senate Democrats’ $370 Billion Climate Spending Deal

-- Bloomberg: What’s In The Manchin-Schumer Deal

-- USA Today: U.S. Senate Climate, Energy Bill - What You Need To Know About Major Effort To Fight Climate Change 

-- WSJ: Senate Climate Bill Is A Boon For Fossil Fuels 

-- ClimateWire: A Federal Climate Bill With Fossil Fuel Victories


-- Post-Gazette: PA Climate Advocates ‘Excited’ After Manchin’s Sudden Turn Gets Budget Bill Compromise

-- Scranton Times Editorial: Historic U.S. Senate Climate, Energy Bill True Progress

-- PA Capital-Star: With Millions In Federal Funding, PennDOT Charges Ahead On Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Development In PA

-- AP: Manchin, Schumer Make Surprise Deal On Health, Energy, Taxes

-- WPost: How The U.S. Senate Climate, Energy Bill Might Impact You And Change The U.S.

-- NYT: U.S. Senate Climate, Energy Bill Would Be ‘Transformative’ For Auto And Energy Industries

-- Bloomberg: Manchin Wins Big Nods To Oil In Deal Ending Logjam On Climate

-- Bloomberg: Here’s How The New U.S. Climate Deal Could Make Energy Bills Cheaper

-- Bloomberg: U.S. Senate Deal’s ‘Huge’ Carbon Cuts Would Keep U.S. Climate Goals Alive

-- Utility Dive: With Manchin’s Support, Democrats Unveil Bill With $396 Billion In Energy, Climate Spending

-- Financial Times: Fears Over U.S. Energy Security Help Unlock Historic $369 Billion Climate Bill

-- WPost: Manchin Says He Has Reached Deal With Schumer On Economy, Climate Bill

-- NYT: Surprise U.S. Senate Democrat Deal Would Be Most Ambitious Climate Action Undertaken By U.S.

-- NPR: After Spiking Earlier Talks, Manchin Agrees To A New Deal On Climate, Taxes

Related Articles:

-- PennDOT, DEP Highlight Commitment To Clean Transportation By Sheetz, Pittsburgh Clean Cities, PPL; Update On Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding  [PaEN]

-- Electrification Coalition Applauds PA For Submitting Plan To Build EV Charging Infrastructure Under Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law  [PaEN]

-- PA House Committee Meets Aug. 2 To Disapprove Final Reg. Reducing VOC/Methane Emissions From Unconventional Oil & Gas Facilities; Blocking The Rule Will Mean Loss Of Federal Highway Funds  [PaEN]

[Posted: July 28, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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