Over 100 Groups Oppose Democrats’ Energy Bill as Insufficient

Array of progressive, climate, and environmental orgs call for more meaningful climate action, oppose ‘false solutions’

WASHINGTON, DC — Over 100 groups — including major environmental, climate and progressive organizations — released a letter urging members of Congress to oppose the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act (HR 4447), the massive energy bill that Democrats are pushing forward for a vote this week.

As the impacts of the climate crisis are evident from coast to coast, the heaviest burdens continue to fall on low-income communities and communities of color. While the bill advances some helpful environmental justice protections, it fails to offer a plan that would directly curtail fossil fuel production.

The letter — signed by Food & Water Action, Climate Justice Alliance, Friends of the Earth, Sunrise Movement, Public Citizen, 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, GreenLatinos, League of Women Voters, Breast Cancer Action, Center for Biological Diversity, People’s Action, Endangered Species Coalition, Oil Change, Global Witness, GreenFaith, Seeding Sovereignty and Zero Hour — comes at a critical moment, as Democrats balance a desire to pass climate legislation with growing calls from grassroots movements to deliver a more ambitious strategy.

“As we have said repeatedly, the continued extraction, processing, and burning of fossil fuels is incompatible with passing a habitable planet to future generations,” said Food & Water Action Policy Director Mitch Jones. “Unfortunately, House Democratic leadership has decided that they’d rather score a ‘win’, than pass truly innovative energy legislation. But this would be a pyrrhic victory. The House should reject this legislation and pursue meaningful climate action that will be centered on the twin pillars of a fair and just transition for workers and frontline communities and the end of our addiction to fossil fuels.”

“At a time when the West is burning, the Gulf South is being assaulted by climate change-fueled storms, and frontline communities nationwide are reeling from a global pandemic that’s stolen over 200,000 lives, mostly Black, Brown and Indigenous, it’s extremely disheartening to see the House Democrats pushing a dirty energy bill littered with false solutions and fossil fuel subsidies,” said Angela Mahecha Adrar, Executive Director of the Climate Justice Alliance. “The environmental justice provisions contained therein are nothing more than an afterthought- aimed to serve as a shiny ribbon wrapped around a dirty package. If passed as written, this bill will decrease environmental justice and increase environmental racism. How many more of our communities need to be sacrificed before we stop playing politics and start defending people and the planet?”

“With wildfires and hurricanes devastating families across the country, the need for bold action from Congress to fight climate change is clearer now than ever. But we must ensure that those actions are also just and equitable. Expensive and failed false solutions like carbon capture and storage will only exacerbate the already disproportionate impact that fossil fuel projects have on marginalized communities,” said Nicole Ghio, Fossil Fuel Programs Manager for Friends of the Earth.

“As we continue to see the impacts of the climate crises across our country and world, we cannot afford to promote false solutions. This bill does not do what science says is necessary to avoid irreversible climate catastrophe,” said Natalie Mebane, Associate Director of U.S. Policy at 350.org. “We need to fully invest in an ambitious and bold, just transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy. The Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act (H.R. 4447) is nowhere near what we need it to be.”

The groups point out that the legislation advances false solutions like carbon capture sequestration (CCS), a much hyped technology that is the backbone of many of the weak plans that aim to achieve ‘net zero’ emissions. This year, one of the most highly touted carbon capture plants in the country was shuttered after falling well short of expectations. The letter points out that relying on this ‘ineffective gimmick” means the bill would likely fail to reduce carbon emissions.

“Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) encourages all members of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote against HR 4447. We applaud the environmental justice measures in this bill, but cannot support legislation that extends our country’s reliance upon fossil fuels,” said Alan Minsky, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America.

As the letter states: “We cannot perpetuate false solutions to the climate crisis that keep our reliance on fossil fuels–as this legislation proposes to do–and have any hope of ending the climate or environmental justice crises brought about by dirty energy. We hope we can count on you to stand against this legislation and embrace policies that will truly support a just and equitable transition to clean renewable energy.”

Communications contact:  Erin Jensen, (202) 222-0722, [email protected] 

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