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Congress, the Climate, and You

Photo: Jeff Mertz

Great news! The House of Representatives passed the Inflation Reduction Act and President Biden is expected to sign it soon. Thanks to all who contacted your Congress members and urged them to support this historic legislation that stands to reduce U.S. emissions 40% by 2030. Its key funding for natural climate solutions — including $20 billion to conserve farmland and $5 billion to safeguard the nation’s forests — will directly support Scenic Hudson’s work.

Some good news about the climate crisis is a welcome relief to the litany of grim reports – heat waves, devastating floods, and wildfires across the country and around the world, and the ruling by the U.S Supreme Court that eviscerated the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to fight this existential threat. In a breakthrough development, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Charles Schumer have forged a compromise bill that combines inflation relief, healthcare measures, and dramatic action and funding — $369 billion in total — to curb the country’s carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030. 

Among the provisions that will advance work by New York State and Scenic Hudson to fight climate change:

  • $20 billion to cut carbon and methane emissions from the agricultural sector;
  • $5 billion to preserve and support natural resources, including grants to sustain healthy forests, forest conservation, and urban tree planting;
  • $2.6 billion in grants to conserve and restore coastal habitat;
  • $30 billion in grant and loan programs for states to advance the transition to clean energy;
  • $60 billion to address environmental injustice — to correct the longstanding and inequitable effects of pollution on low-income communities and people of color; and
  • Tax credits for individuals to buy electric vehicles.

These measures could directly support Scenic Hudson’s actions to fight climate change — advancing agriculture measures that stem and even reverse climate-warming emissions, conserving and restoring the valley’s coastal natural resources, fighting the proposed fossil-fueled Danskammer power plant while pressing for battery storage and thoughtfully sited solar energy, and advancing the cause of environmental justice.

Passage also would put the U.S. in a leadership position to inspire other nations to take similarly bold action. 

You can take action now to move this legislation forward. Arizona U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema has not signaled whether she will back the bill. As a Democrat, her support is crucial to assure passage on a party-line vote in this reconciliation measure. If you have friends or colleagues who live in Arizona, please urge them to contact Senator Sinema’s office to call for her support. A vote is expected as early as this weekend, so immediate action is critical to affect the outcome.
Also, please let your own Congress members know this is a priority for you. Contact your legislators and urge them to support the Manchin-Schumer inflation and climate bill.

The effects of climate change are no longer just in the future. They are here and now and escalating rapidly. While many of the impacts are already “baked in” and irreversible, scientists tell us that actions we take now can stem the worst impacts for our children and future generations. Let’s build on the bold actions of Senators Manchin and Schumer, get this bill passed, and take action in our own lives and communities to make a difference.