The Senate voted Wednesday to take up a $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure package. The deal includes funding for priorities like pollution cleanup, drinking water, and wastewater infrastructure, modernizing the electric grid, and plugging orphan oil and gas wells, but it does not include sufficient funding for most of these items, including clean drinking water, energy efficiency, and weatherization, among others. It also includes problematic investments in carbon capture and fossil-fueled buses, and it contains provisions that will undermine meaningful public input and the review of health and environmental impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act for infrastructure, hardrock mining, and logging projects among others.
The following is a statement from Marty Hayden, Vice President of Policy and Legislation at Earthjustice:
“We are living in a climate emergency and plagued by environmental injustice, and the bipartisan infrastructure deal does not meet the moment with the transformative change we need. Congress must rebuild our infrastructure in a way that advances climate and environmental justice. That means significant investments in clean energy, zero-emissions transportation, homes, and buildings, clean drinking water, pollution cleanup, and land and water conservation. While the bipartisan package makes investments in some of these areas, it is not at the level necessary to meet the climate and environmental justice challenges we are facing.
“As President Biden committed, 40% of the benefits of those investments must go to disadvantaged communities, and those most harmed by pollution must have a meaningful role in decision-making. We are deeply concerned about provisions that will effectively silence these communities and undermine core principles of the National Environmental Policy Act. Congress must also ensure that the final package does not extend a lifeline to fossil fuels at a time when we must be urgently transitioning to a pollution-free, clean energy future. We urge the Senate to fix and strengthen this proposal during floor consideration. It is critical that Congress rapidly moves forward with the American Jobs Plan to deliver the big, bold, and equitable climate investments needed to actually meet the moment.”