Ahead of Senate Hearing, Environmentalists reject “Energy Infrastructure Act”

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing on Senator Manchin’s Energy Infrastructure Act. Below, policy experts and environmental activists react to the legislative proposal.

“Sen. Manchin’s proposal spells nothing short of a climate catastrophe, and it must be rejected,” said Brett Hartl, Government Affairs Director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Throwing breadcrumbs to renewable energy while spending billions to prop up fossil fuels and nuclear energy is worse than doing nothing at all. Our planet faces a climate crisis, and Sen. Manchin is fiddling while it burns.”

“The Energy Infrastructure Act not only fails to address climate change, the Act will worsen climate change,” said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Over 50 pages of the Act are dedicated to funding Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) through public funding further entrenching extractive industry violence on Native and environmental justice communities. The Act includes a multitude of false solutions including nuclear and hydropower. We do not have time for these distractions to climate action.”

“If you want to be ineffectual in the face of climate change you could do nothing like the Republicans or you could introduce the Energy Infrastructure Act,” said Mitch Jones, Policy Director at Food & Water Watch. “This legislation is a laundry list of fossil fuel industry desires for crutches to prop up their flailing industry at the expense of a habitable planet. It isn’t meaningful climate action; it’s more delay tactics against a transition we know must happen. Congress must reject this legislation and pass real, robust climate legislation that centers a fair and just transition and directly confronts the fossil fuel industry and all forms of dirty energy and false climate solutions such as carbon capture, blue hydrogen, and so-called advanced nuclear.”

“This bill is a dangerous distraction,” said Karen Orenstein, Director of Climate and Energy at Friends of the Earth U.S. “President Biden and Democratic Congressional leadership need to push forward with a budget and reconciliation process that has climate, economic, and racial justice at its core.”

“This legislation is short on climate action and even more parsimonious as it pertains to climate justice – the phrase environmental justice doesn’t even appear once. It could be argued that the largesse of nuclear, mineral extraction, and false solutions contained in this bill make it more toxic than the pollution we’re fighting to keep out of air, land, and water,” said Anthony Rogers-Wright, Director of Environmental Justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “Not even one week after many of the Senators who support this bill celebrated themselves for approving Juneteenth as a federal holiday, they produced a package that would exacerbate legacy pollution and environmental racism disproportionately impacting Black communities and other communities of color. This isn’t an energy package, it’s a pipe dream that will create more petroleum pipelines, and if you listen closely you can hear the fossil fuel cartels expressing jubilation and gratitude for this latest act of Big Oil succor, all the while EJ communities are treated like suckers.”

Expert contacts: Brett Hartl, [email protected]
Tom Goldtooth, [email protected]
Mitch Jones, [email protected]
Karen Orenstein, [email protected]
Anthony Rogers-Wright, [email protected]

Communications contact: Kaela Bamberger, [email protected]

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