FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2022
Chelsea Barnes, (614) 205-6424, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, released a new budget reconciliation deal — the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 — to address climate and energy, the price of prescription drugs and tax reform.
The package includes $369 billion in climate and energy spending and permanently restores a tax on coal to support the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which helps provide medical care and a living stipend to miners with black lung if the coal company they worked for goes bankrupt. Also included is more than $10 billion to support rural electric cooperatives and the rural communities they serve with transitioning to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Because of Senate procedures, the package can be passed with a simple majority instead of the 60-vote threshold needed to stop a filibuster. In announcing the deal, the senators also indicated a commitment to passing a permitting reform bill for domestic energy projects before the end of the year, but no details have been released regarding this aspect of the deal.
Statement by Appalachian Voices Executive Director Tom Cormons:
“The climate investments included in this package are crucial and urgent. The reduction in carbon emissions they’ll lead to are badly needed. But these investments — particularly those targeted at environmental justice, low-income and historic energy-producing communities — will also help the places that have powered the United States for generations finally reach their full economic potential and help them become as vital a part of the clean-energy future as they were of the fossil fuel past. We urge Congress to act quickly to pass the Inflation Reduction Act.
As further infrastructure permitting reforms are discussed, it is imperative that Congress ensures that any process changes do not undercut bedrock protections of clean water, clean air and species habitat that have served to enhance Americans’ prosperity and quality of life for decades.”
Statement by Legislative Director Chelsea Barnes:
“We’re very pleased to see the permanent restoration of the black lung excise tax at the higher, historic rate, providing peace of mind for coal miners who have fought for years for a long-term extension of the tax. The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund has been losing $2.8 million in funding every week because of the failure to reinstate that tax last year, causing miners with black lung and their families unnecessary insecurity and concern.”
Statement by Bri Knisley, Tennessee Campaign Manager:
“Historically, rural communities were the last to gain access to electricity but have long borne the burden of polluting energy infrastructure, extraction and energy waste. We are thrilled to see provisions in this bill that provide funding for renewable and efficient rural energy infrastructure so that rural communities are not left behind in the clean energy transition.”
Appalachian Voices is a leading nonprofit advocate for a healthy environment and just economy in the Appalachian region, and a driving force in America’s shift from fossil fuels to a clean energy future.