The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is A Good Step, but Much More is Needed on Climate

The bipartisan infrastructure bill, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is being debated and voted on in the Senate. While the bill touches on many urgent infrastructure needs, it does not directly address climate change at nearly the scale needed. That is why Congress must also pass a larger package that tackles climate change head on.

  • The bipartisan bill does have some good things for climate:
    • Helps reduce climate pollution from cars and trucks and funds electric vehicle charging infrastructure
    • Upgrades the electric grid and transmission system to prepare for new wind and solar as well as smart metering and EVs
    • Helps plug orphan oil and gas wells that are major sources of methane pollution and reclaim abandoned mine lands so they can be restored for nature
    • Invests in carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) and direct air capture (taking CO2 out of the air directly so it can be used or stored underground) and the pipelines and other infrastructure needed to move CO2 from where it is captured to where it will be stored or turned into a useful product like concrete
    • Puts some needed funding into ecosystem restoration, wildfire prevention and management, and Western water management.

However, while measures like EV infrastructure, grid upgrades, and CCUS investments help enable future climate gains, there is a lot more needed from Congress to address climate now.  On August 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to come out with another update on our warming planet, and will sound the alarm that climate impacts are already widespread and severe in the U.S. Emissions must come down swiftly for the globe to have a chance at keeping within a 1.5-degree warming limit – the point after which impacts become disastrous.

  • Climate items that are not included in the bipartisan bill that are badly needed through a larger budget reconciliation package include:
    • A plan to move electric utilities off of coal and gas in favor of clean power sources by 2035
    • A robust extension of tax credits for installing and producing clean and renewable energy, energy efficiency upgrades, and electric vehicle purchases
    • Tax credits for new transmission lines that will carry electricity from new wind and solar plants to the communities where it will be used
    • Tax incentives for the production of clean energy machinery and electric vehicles so America is leading the way in manufacturing these things at home
    • Investments in ecosystem restoration and resilience that fully meet the need and empower nature to thrive and help draw down CO2
    • A 21st century Civilian Conservation/Climate Corps to tackle climate change, restore our lands and waters, make our communities more resilient, and create jobs

The science is clear: We need to act now if we are going to prevent a climate disaster. This moment is the time to go big and act decisively. Congress must pass the bipartisan bill that sets the stage, then move on to the main event.

Tell Hoosier senators to act on climate now by supporting the inclusion of these items!

EMAIL SENATOR YOUNG
CALL: 202-224-5623
TWEET @SenToddYoung

EMAIL SENATOR BRAUN
CALL: 202-224-4814
TWEET @SenatorBraun

 

Photo credit: Maria Overlay

New Bill Would Galvanize Wildlife Conservation, Help Prevent Extinctions in Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

National Wildlife Federation Logo     

New Bill Would Galvanize Wildlife Conservation, Help Prevent Extinctions in Indiana

 

Indianapolis, IN (July 21, 2021) — New bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate will fund locally-led efforts to help prevent extinctions and help wildlife thrive nationwide. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will send approximately $14.5 million to Indiana each year, which the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN-DNR) will use to help the over 150 species of concern in Indiana, such as the Whooping Crane, Lake Sturgeon, and our own Indiana Bat.

“We are facing a looming wildlife crisis. This commonsense, bipartisan bill will allow us to get ahead of the problem by stepping in to help at-risk wildlife early with collaborative, voluntary measures,” said Indiana Wildlife Federation executive director, Emily Wood. “This will also create jobs restoring our constantly threatened wetlands, prairies, and forests.”

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was just introduced in the Senate by Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) introduced a similar version of the  Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in the House in April.

“The historic, bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is by far the most important piece of wildlife legislation in the past half century,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “At a time when more than one-third of wildlife species are at heightened risk of extinction, this critical legislation will help recover thousands of at-risk species through proactive, collaborative efforts in every state, territory, and Tribal nation, creating jobs while preventing extinctions. We applaud the incredible bipartisan leadership of Senator Heinrich and Senator Blunt, and their House partners Rep. Dingell and Rep. Fortenberry, who are all demonstrating once again that wildlife conservation can unite all Americans.”

Nationwide, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act dedicates $1.4 billion annually to locally-led wildlife restoration efforts, with most of the money going to wildlife agencies like IN-DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife who will use the money to implement existing plans for at-risk wildlife. At least 15 percent of the funds will be used to help species that are already considered endangered or threatened. Additionally, Tribal Nations would share $97.5 million annually to fund wildlife conservation efforts on the tens of millions of acres under Tribal management nationwide.

More than 1,500 businesses and organizations have signed on in support of the legislation, including Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Bass Pro Shops, Ducks Unlimited, Indiana Conservation Alliance, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation and Wild Birds Unlimited.

 +++

The Indiana Wildlife Federation has played a part in conserving Indiana’s natural resources since 1938. As the nonprofit, grass-roots affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation; IWF mission is to promote the conservation, sound management and sustainable use of Indiana’s wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy and action. 

 The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly-changing world.

###