The Inflation Reduction Act is the largest climate investment in history. The fight doesn’t stop here.

President Biden just signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. After decades of advocates, politicians, and activists pushing for legislation that matches resources to the true scale of the climate crisis, we are on our way to real climate solutions.

This is a big deal. The Inflation Reduction Act is a huge opportunity to address the climate crisis by making transformative investments in clean energy and the communities most affected by pollution and the climate crisis. It gives us the tools we need to replace our dirty and unsustainable fossil fuel economy with a clean energy future that will improve health, ensure justice, restore the planet and create new jobs in the process.

While there is much to celebrate, there is also much to mourn: The IRA contains provisions that will cause immediate harm and slow our long-term climate progress. The fossil fuel industry has convinced its allies in Congress to include poison handouts and sweet deals that threaten to further entrench fossil fuels in our economy, expose frontline communities to even more pollution, and actually delay climate progress.

As an organization that uses the power of law to achieve justice for people and our planet, it is our responsibility to ensure that we deliver on the positive potential of IRA investments and that we prevent new fossil fuel subsidies from harming communities that are already suffered too much at the hands of polluting industries. This means ensuring that federal and state governments implement IRA investments in a fair and equitable manner while combating any efforts to expand or prolong fossil fuel use. It also means vigorously opposing efforts to weaken key environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act, which protect communities.

That’s why for Earthjustice, the work is just beginning. Here’s what we’ll do:

  • We will level the playing field for renewables. The IRA provides transformative investments in clean energy, but it will take more than that to transform our economy. The fossil fuel dinosaurs have spent decades creating barriers to entry for renewables: taxes, regulations and agreements that keep them from real financial competition with the renewables industry. Why? Because when they meet on a level playing field, renewables win. Earthjustice and our partners will continue to attack these barriers in court and before state and federal energy regulators so that we can break the power of the fossil industries and provide communities with the clean energy they deserve.
  • We will fight for a fair and just energy transition that leaves no community behind. The IRA is committing $60 billion to support communities on the front lines of pollution and climate change. For too long, pollution and climate change have disproportionately impacted communities of color and low-income communities. These funds will help clean up Superfund sites, improve air monitoring capacity, reduce emissions at ports, and invest directly in community-led initiatives through Environment and Climate Block Grants. Earthjustice will help its partners secure this funding so they can address long-term environmental harm and make a positive difference in their communities.
  • We will fight like hell against fossil fuel infrastructure handouts and tax credits — including offshore drilling giveaways. Earthjustice will redouble its efforts to support community partners who are in the crosshairs as fossil fuel industries try to expand their footprint while they still can. The IRA holds offshore wind development hostage to extended onshore oil and gas leases as well as offshore oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. Drilling for more oil won’t lower gas prices, but it will increase our emissions and further harm communities — including Gulf communities whose livelihoods and lifestyles depend on clean offshore waters. Earthjustice has represented these communities to prove time and time again that offshore drilling violates our environmental laws, and we won’t stop. Gulf communities deserve a just transition to good-paying jobs and a strong economy, not more fossil fuel projects that will prolong the pollution of their air and water.
  • We will speak truth to power about what it takes to end our dependence on fossil fuels. The IRA provides support for uneconomic and problematic technologies such as carbon capture and ‘blue hydrogen’. Many of these technologies are bogus and/or expensive climate solutions that are really meant to prop up dying coal plants and create new markets for old fossil fuels. Even if the implementation of these technologies could reduce greenhouse gas pollution, it would also increase conventional pollution, exposing neighboring communities to additional harm. Will Earthjustice challenge these communities any proposal that threatens their future.
  • We will fight against attempts to weaken key environmental laws like NEPA. Sen. Joe Manchin, Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi reportedly promised a “side deal” aimed at streamlining permitting processes by relaxing NEPA’s requirements for direct engagement with people and communities affected by projects. While we need to build cleaner energy infrastructure — fast — real permitting reform requires investments in outreach and engagement with communities, not shortcuts. We will urge congressional leaders to vote against any permissive side deal that undermines public engagement, while advocating for real solutions that center community voices, like the Environmental Justice for All Act.
  • We will demand that the Biden administration use the full power of the federal government to protect community health and fight climate change. Investment in IRAs is transformative, but to meet our emissions reduction targets and protect overburdened communities, we need a whole-of-government approach. This requires President Biden to implement a set of strong executive actions that will help us achieve greater emissions reductions and help those communities most affected by our continued dependence on fossil fuels.

Investments in the Deinflation Act give us the opportunity to do what the fossil fuel industry has never done. We can build the clean energy infrastructure of the future while installing guardrails to protect the places and communities most affected by development. We can work to ensure that the Biden administration implements the climate provisions of this new law in the most impactful, fair way possible, while fervently fighting any bad provision that threatens the lives, livelihoods, and health of frontline communities . For the sake of our future, we cannot afford to wait.

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