The Senate passes a major infrastructure bill, turning focus to anti-poverty and climate plans


Elizabeth Miglin | August 11, 2021

The U.S. Senate, on Tuesday, passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill which would provide funding for climate related infrastructure resiliency if passed by the House.  

After previous weeks of intense debate over one of the largest federal investments into the nation’s outdated public works system, the Senate voted 69 in favor with 30 opposed to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The legislation has the possibility of impacting nearly every aspect of the American economy with projects ensuring rural access to broadband and clean drinking water, modernizing roadways and environmental sustainability projects, according to the New York Times. Regarding the climate, the bill focuses on investmenting in clean energy, environmental clean-up projects and making infrastructure more resilient, according to The White House

Alongside the infrastructure bill, Senate Democrats agreed to an outline of an $3.5 trillion antipoverty and climate plan, on Monday. The climate legislation aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, fund research focused on climate change’s effect on agriculture, create a Civilian Climate Corps to enact climate-based public works projects and improve the durability of coastlines. Funding for both the antipoverty and the climate plan are expected to come from tax increases on wealthy individuals and corporations.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is expected to be debate by the House at the end of August, with the antipoverty and climate plan expected to be passed by the Senate by the end of this week.

Democrats look to tax big polluters


Via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | August 5, 2021

Democrats in Washington D.C. are looking to tax a handful of major gas and oil companies who are causing harm to the environment.

Senator Chris Van Hollen from Maryland has drafted legislation in recent days that would have the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Environmental Protection Agency identify companies that have released large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in recent years. After determining the biggest polluters, the bill would assess a fee for companies based on what kind and the amount of emissions they’ve released since 2000.

The collected fees would go to research and development of clean energy solutions as well as to the communities across the county suffering from climate crises, like flooding and wildfires. The proposal comes on the heels of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that allocates billions of dollars to prepare and recover from climate change events. The infrastructure legislation has yet to be passed, but shows a commitment to funding initiatives that address climate change.

Scientists have linked increased flooding, more frequent wildfires, and other prominent disasters to the burning of fossil fuels. The drafted bill would attempt to holds fossil fuel companies accountable for the cost of such weather events.

Van Hollen told The New York Times on Wednesday that the drafted bill would collect $500 billion in the next decade. He is optimistic that the draft would have support from his Democratic colleagues if he introduced it in the U.S. Senate. Some of the companies that would be fined would be Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

Shahenn-Portman Energy Bill Stalls


Photo by CTPEKO3A; Flickr

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act is intended to spur the use of energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of the economy.

According to a new study, Shaheen-Portman is estimated to create 136,000 new jobs by 2025. By 2030, the bill will also net annual savings of $13.7 billion and lower CO2 emissions and other air pollutants by the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road. Continue reading

Law to prevent EPA from regulating greenhouse gases fails in Senate


A law pushed by Republicans to strip authority from the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases linked to climate chance has failed in the U.S. Senate.

The law would have repealed a 2009 finding by federal scientists that greenhouse gas-induced climate change poses significant threats to public health. Continue reading