With today’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) by the U.S. House of Representatives, we are just one signature away from the single largest legislative investment in climate, health, and access to clean energy in American history. As evangelicals, scripture calls us to be good stewards of all God’s creation – this includes both the natural world as well as each other. The IRA opens up new doors and avenues for American families and businesses to do just that.
Through financial rebates and tax incentives, the IRA will make it easier for lower and middle-income families to choose clean energy; save money by weatherizing their homes; upgrade to energy efficient appliances, heat pumps, and all-electric cars; and install rooftop solar.
These actions, together with the other provisions in the IRA, are estimated to lower household energy bills by up to $220 per year, prevent over 3,000 premature deaths and 100,000 asthma attacks per year by cutting life-threatening air pollution, create over 9 million clean energy and manufacturing jobs, and get America more than two-thirds of the way toward our carbon reduction goals by 2030.
The IRA will also enable America’s farmers and foresters to improve soil and forest health, sequester carbon, and increase their resilience to climate-fueled extreme weather, while enabling rural communities and electric co-ops to access and benefit from renewable energy.
The IRA will also prompt oil and gas companies to be better stewards of America’s precious natural resources through the Methane Emission Reduction Program - the first direct federal fee on greenhouse gas emissions. This fiscal incentive will encourage industry to perform adequate infrastructure maintenance and stop wasteful leaks of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – and other associated gases that pollute and poison our air and water. We also thank Congress for taking the fiscally responsible step of increasing the royalty rate for commodities extracted on Federal land, which had not been changed in over 100 years, costing the American people up to an estimated $300 million per year in lost revenue.
EEN also applauds the IRA’s historic investments in frontline communities and coal mining communities alike, who have both suffered disproportionately under the burden of pollution in the name of meeting America’s energy and industrial needs.
At EEN, we envision a world free from the burden of pollution where all children, regardless of zip code or background, have the hope and expectation for a safe climate and healthy future. The Inflation Reduction Act is a pivotal step toward achieving that reality. Yet so much more is left to be done. So while today we celebrate this history-shaping legislation, we also take this moment to recommit ourselves to partnering with Christ in his mission to bring abundant life to all people and to restore all of God’s creation. We recommit ourselves to working tirelessly to defend life from all environmental harm, especially those most at risk but least responsible for air pollution and climate volatility.
As this legislation heads to the President’s desk, we thank President Biden for his leadership and are grateful to House Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and Chairs Castor, Neal, Grijalva, Pallone, and Scott, their staff, and the many others involved in seeing this transformative bill cross the finish line.
Any public statements or publications to the contrary do not reflect the official policy position of EEN.