WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives has passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 that includes a landmark $369 billion to fight the climate crisis through incentives for developing clean energy like solar and buying electric vehicles, or EVs.
The legislation passed the Senate earlier this month, and now it goes to President Joe Biden’s desk – he has pledged to sign the measure into law in the coming days.
The bill is the single biggest investment in clean energy and decarbonization ever adopted by Congress. The funding will give a vital boost for tackling the climate emergency by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while also lowering energy bills for households.
“The historic clean energy investments this legislation will make toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions will benefit every single American, including future generations,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “The severe impacts of the climate crisis can be felt in every region, state and community throughout the country. Congress and the Biden administration have met the moment with a sweeping plan that will inject the resources required to kick start the clean energy economy.”
The funding includes more than $60 billion to promote clean manufacturing, including tax credits for making solar panels, batteries and wind turbines, grants and loans for auto companies to produce EVs, $3 billion for the U.S. Postal Service to buy zero-emissions vehicles, income-based tax credits for private purchases of EVs, and $2 billion to accelerate research into energy breakthroughs, among other important provisions.
The package also includes more than $20 billion to tackle a growing backlog of requests from farmers who are seeking U.S. Department of Agriculture Conservation Assistance funding for efforts to address the climate emergency.
“This is the biggest investment in agricultural conservation programs since the Dust Bowl,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs. “Farmland conservation practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions also have the added benefit of reducing the amount of farm pollution that is fouling our drinking water.”
Crucially, the bill also includes more than $60 billion in environmental justice measures to reduce pollution and improve equity in disadvantaged communities. The funding includes billions of dollars in grants to pay for projects to address the disproportionate negative impacts to those communities, while promoting clean vehicles and power sources.
“Some incentives in this bill could be game changers for job creation and promoting clean energy choices that will dramatically help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also giving much-needed assistance to disadvantaged communities,” said Cook.
“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the bill’s environmental justice and energy equity provisions, for curbing air pollution in overly burdened communities and providing much greater access to clean, efficient solar and energy storage technologies.” he said.
The bill also includes welcome provisions that focus on making homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient, with tax credit support for electrification of the building sector, as well as support for customer-owned solar and battery storage.
The legislation does include a handful of problematic provisions. It continues to throw taxpayer dollars at sustaining nuclear power plants that are beyond their useful life, while also providing money for production of dirty hydrogen from natural gas, and highly expensive carbon capture projects. And there are zero steps outlined in the bill for eventually abandoning older, dirtier energy sources like fossil fuels.
“EWG will continue to fight alongside frontline groups to oppose harmful and wasteful dirty energy developments like pipelines, nuclear, and carbon capture projects,” Cook said.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.