We read the 495-page Energy Infrastructure Bill: it’s a kick in the gut to climate justiceThe bill proposes spending 70 times as much on dirty and extractive energy than renewables
WASHINGTON – Friends of the Earth just released an analysis of the full 495-page Energy Infrastructure Act of 2021. The analysis reveals that the bill, worth $95 billion in investments across the multiple sectors, authorizes $28.8 billion in nuclear, carbon capture, and dirty hydrogen compared to only $410 million in direct authorizations for wind, solar, geothermal, and tidal, for a ratio of 70:1 dirty to clean energy. When combined with the bill’s storage and efficiency programs, Manchin’s proposal still amounts to twice the spending on dirty energy than on clean.
“The Biden Administration promised to center climate in its infrastructure investment. Manchin’s proposal does the opposite, lining the pockets of polluters with zero regard for the seriousness of the climate crisis” said Sarah Lutz, Climate Campaigner at Friends of the Earth.
Key spending includes:
- $12.6 billion on carbon capture and storage
- $7 billion for dirty hydrogen to be produced from fossil and other dirty sources
- $9.2 billion for nuclear, including a $6 billion bailout for existing reactors
- $1.9 billion giveaway to logging interests
The Energy Infrastructure Act of 2021 was introduced by Senator Joe Manchin and will undergo a markup session tomorrow in Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The proposal is one part of the pending infrastructure package, falling within the American Jobs Plan.
“We can’t rely on those who created the problem to fix it, but that is exactly what this legislation would have us believe,” said Basav Sen, Co-Chair of the Energy Democracy Working Group at the Climate Justice Alliance, about the proposal at large. “Instead of funding non-polluting alternatives, it throws public money at expensive, unproven technologies that will allow the fossil fuel industry to continue poisoning frontline communities and trashing the planet. ”
A notable change between the newest iteration of the bill and its original text centers on the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) fund, which pays for the restoration of lands damaged by coal. The bill authorizes $11.3 billion for the AML fund, but it is accompanied by a sharp cut to the AML’s only source of revenue—a fee paid by companies for every ton of coal they extract. The program exacts a different fee for surface, underground, and lignite coal, but the proposal from Manchin would cut all the existing fees across the board by 20 percent, endangering the long-term viability of the program.
“It’s hard to call something climate legislation when it hands money directly to coal corporations,” added Lutz.
Communications contact: Kaela Bamberger, 202-222-0703, [email protected]