According to the New York Times the bill passed the Senate August 7. It next goes to the House, which is in recess now but will reconvene on August 12. It is likely to pass the House as well. Keep tuned to this site to track the progress of the bill.

The two Democratic Senators who had previously opposed parts of the bill changed their positions when their concerns were accommodated. As of August 4, the New York Times reported that Senator Sinema (D – AZ) supported the bill after a number of changes she requested were made. (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/04/us/politics/sinema-inflation-reduction-act.html) Senator Manchin (D – WV) changed his position on July 27 and released the following statement:

Rather than risking more inflation with trillions in new spending, this bill will cut the inflation taxes Americans are paying, lower the cost of health insurance and prescription drugs, and ensure our country invests in the energy security and climate change solutions we need to remain a global superpower through innovation rather than elimination,” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/27/us/politics/manchin-climate-tax-bill.html

While the bill includes a number of incentives for clean energy and electric cars, there is concern among environmentalists that some of the provisions will encourage further fossil fuel development. “But energy analysts and many of the country’s biggest environmental groups said that any additional emissions from fossil fuel leasing would be dwarfed by the clean-energy provisions in the bill.” Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D – WA) commented on the bill: “Does it have a couple of bad provisions? Yes,” she said. But, Ms. Jayapal added, “I think at the end of the day we’re going to look at this and say that it’s a big step forward.” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/30/climate/manchin-climate-deal.html

For a listing of the reactions of environmental groups, click here. There are quotes from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Rocky Mountain Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, and some solar industry groups, all indicating support with some reservations. The Sunrise Movement supports the bill, with a caveat: “this bill isn’t the Green New Deal. It gives way too many concessions to fossil fuel executives and treats communities as sacrifices to the industry. It’s clear we haven’t yet broken the political power of the fossil fuel lobby.” (email message, August 8) In the faith community, Interfaith Power and Light indicated its support (email message, August 8). The Unitarian-Universalists for Social Justice in Washington DC also endorsed the bill. (email message, August 8) Bill McKibben of 350.org has indicated his support (email message, August 8). Climate Reality Project, founded by Al Gore, endorsed it with some reservations (email message, August 8). The Sierra Club urged its passage, also with some reservations.

A numerical analysis, from Energy Innovation, a climate and energy think tank, indicates “that for every ton of emissions generated by the new fossil fuel provisions, the other provisions in the bill will help avoid 24 tons of emissions.” Another analysis indicates that the bill would reduce emissions by 41% in 2030, somewhat short of the US commitment under the Paris Agreement:

source: NY Times, August 2, 2022

For an in-depth analysis of some of the issues with oil, gas and climate provisions of the bill by the Western Environmental Law Center, click here.

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