President Joe Biden signed into law on Tuesday the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes roughly $370 billion in tax credits and other programs to expand clean energy and reduce planet-warming pollution. The law invests in:
- Clean energy: The United States has enough wind and solar resources to power the country many times over, according to a report by Environment America Research & Policy Center. The Inflation Reduction Act includes $9 billion in consumer home energy rebate programs to electrify home appliances and for energy efficient retrofits; 10 years of consumer tax credits to make heat pumps, rooftop solar, electric HVAC and water heaters more affordable so homes can be more energy efficient and run on clean energy; and a $10 billion investment tax credit to build clean technology manufacturing facilities, including facilities that make electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels.
- Electric vehicles: More than a dozen states require a rising share of new cars to be electric. The Inflation Reduction Act provides a $4,000 tax credit for consumers to buy used electric vehicles and up to a $7,500 tax credit for consumers to buy new EVs; $3 billion for electric U.S. Postal Service trucks; $1 billion for electric heavy duty vehicles, such as school buses and garbage trucks; and $3 billion for zero-emission technology at U.S. ports.
- Pollution reduction and natural climate solutions: The law includes a reinstated “polluter pays” tax to increase funding to clean up Superfund toxic waste sites. A report by U.S. PIRG Education Fund found clean-up efforts stalled when polluters were not responsible for funding cleanup. Also enacted: a methane emissions reduction program and $50 million to inventory and protect old-growth forests, which absorb global-warming carbon emissions, on National Forest System land.
The bill represents a compromise and includes some provisions that will benefit fossil fuel development, including requiring lease sales for offshore drilling and tax incentives that would help coal and gas plants. However, modeling by Energy Innovation found emissions increases from these provisions are offset 24 to 1 by the bill’s climate-friendly provisions. The researchers also found that implementing the bill could prevent 3,700 to 3,900 deaths and 100,000 asthma attacks each year by 2030.
Lisa Frank, executive director of Environment America’s Washington Legislative Office, released the following statement:
“We should be powering our lives with 100% clean, green, renewable power. We have plenty of it, in every state in the union. Our success in meeting our generation’s biggest challenge, climate change, depends on making the switch away from fossil fuels. The tax credits in this law will supercharge our progress towards more solar power, more electric vehicles, and energy-efficient and electric homes. President Biden just gave us a big boost by signing this law, and we thank all members of Congress who voted for it.
“This climate legislation is a huge step. But it’s a start to, not the culmination of, our work to reduce global warming pollution and ensure clean air, clean water and the preservation of open spaces. Progress towards a greener, healthier America depends on our bedrock environmental protections, including the National Environmental Policy Act. We oppose the growing legislative attempts to weaken core environmental protections and call on our lawmakers to do the same.”
U.S. PIRG Environment Campaigns Director Matt Casale issued the following statement:
“America won’t have a safe, secure future if we don’t rein in the pollution that’s harming our health and wreaking havoc with our climate. The Inflation Reduction Act makes great strides on both fronts. It will make polluters pay to clean up toxic waste, which is good news for the one in six Americans living near a toxic Superfund site. And the tax credits will help make it affordable for consumers to switch to electric vehicles, put solar panels on our roofs and purchase cleaner, healthier electric appliances that don’t pump pollution into our homes and air.
“U.S. PIRG thanks President Biden and Congress for enacting this law. But, it’s far from perfect. The law’s subsidies for fossil fuel companies are counterproductive and a waste of taxpayer dollars. And, some members of Congress now want to gut environmental protections to make it easier to build pipelines and other fossil fuel projects–which would be a big leap in the wrong direction. Instead, we should double down on climate solutions, from electric buses to heat pumps, that are a win for our health, consumers, and the planet.”