Friends of the Earth Urges Senate Passage of Stronger Build Back Better Act
WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better (BBB) Act. This landmark legislation makes historic investments in environmental and social programs. The bill will next make its way to the U.S. Senate, where it will have to survive procedural tests and amendments.
Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth, issued the following statement in response:
The Build Back Better Act is both an historic achievement and nowhere near enough. The investments in renewable energy, education, the care economy, and other invaluable priorities are significant. However, given the chronic underinvestment in caring for people and fighting climate change, the Build Back Better Act is still far from being transformational.
It’s now up to the Senate to strengthen and immediately pass a Build Back Better Act that prioritizes people and the planet instead of corporate profits and dirty industries. Democrats were elected with a clear mandate and the only way they can fulfill the promises they made to the American people is to pass monumental legislation that improves their lives and our environment.
Friends of the Earth worked with members of Congress for months to ensure that provisions on child nutrition, zero-emission ports, and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies were included in the House’s final package.
The legislation currently includes language that would:
- Relieve historic debt for farmers.
- Expand access to free school meals through the Community Eligibility Provision and Summer EBT nationwide for students who receive free or reduced-price school meals.
- Create a new $250 million Healthy Food Incentives demonstration program and $30 million for school kitchen equipment grants that will support schools in serving healthy, climate-friendly menus.
- Provide $3.5 billion for port electrification and the reduction of toxic diesel soot, smog-forming chemicals, and carbon dioxide from freight transport across the nation.
- Ban new offshore drilling in Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
- End the oil and gas leasing program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and buy back existing leases.
- Remove giveaways to Big Oil in the federal leasing program, including raising royalties and ending noncompetitive leasing.
- Eliminate the Foreign Oil and Gas Extraction Income (FOGEI) exemption from the Global Intangible Low-Tax Income (GILTI), a tax exemption included in the 2017 Trump–Republican tax package that carves out a major profit stream benefiting a mere handful of larger companies.
- Eliminate the risk of tax avoidance by oil, gas, and mining companies that misrepresent royalties and other payments to foreign governments as income taxes. This practice, now foiled through a “dual capacity taxpayers” provision, previously allowed fossil fuel and mining companies to “game” the foreign tax credit system.
Despite the inclusion of important environmental provisions, Friends of the Earth remains concerned about the following:
- The failure to repeal $35 billion in domestic fossil fuel subsidies.
- The “super 45Q” credit to bailout the existing coal fleet.
- The bailout of the existing nuclear fleet at the expense of renewable uptake and consumers.
- The omission of the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean from the proposed offshore drilling ban.
- The removal of hardrock mineral royalties and fees to raise revenue and clean up abandoned mining lands.
- The omission of guardrails on conservation funding to ensure the money goes to family farmers building healthy soils instead of polluting CAFOs and other factory farms.
Friends of the Earth will continue to urge Congress to address these issues before the Build Back Better Act is signed into law.
Communications contact: Kerry Skiff, [email protected], 202-772-0723