Merkley Urges President: Invest Climate-Friendly

With climate chaos
flooding states, burning communities across the West, and driving crippling
droughts, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley along with Senators Sheldon
Whitehouse (D-RI), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie
Sanders (I-VT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Cory Booker
(D-NJ) sent a letter to President Biden requesting his Administration build on
the?Inflation Reduction Act?(IRA) investments for climate-friendly
technology and policies by declaring a climate emergency to expedite the
transition to clean energy. 

“Enacting the
historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is the most important step that the
United States has taken to combat climate chaos since the passage of the Clean
Air Act,”?wrote the lawmakers.?“The IRA has over $300 billion in investments
for climate-friendly technology and policies that will help expedite the
transition to clean energy. Many of the investments will ensure that America is
a leader in the clean energy economy and help build high quality jobs here at

In their letter, the
Senators urge the President to make the passage of the IRA the start of the
Biden Administration’s ambitious climate agenda, not the end of it. 

“We urge you to take
the important next step of declaring a climate emergency and unlocking the full
tools at your disposal to address this crisis,”?they continued.?“Declaring a
climate emergency could unlock the broad powers of the International Emergency
Economic Powers Act and the Stafford Act, allowing you to immediately pursue an
array of regulatory and administrative actions to slash emissions, protect
public health, support national and energy security, and improve our air and
water quality.” 

The Senators
acknowledge the importance and responsibility of what it means to enact
emergency powers, citing their disapproval of the previous Administration’s
efforts to misuse executive powers, but note: 

“A president’s emergency
powers should not be used wantonly. What we cannot afford, however, is to shy
away from tackling the climate crisis just because President Trump misused the
National Emergencies Act. If ever there is an emergency that demands ambitious
action, climate chaos is it.” 

The Senators’ letter
calls upon various departments of the Administration to act swiftly and boldly

rules and policies to reduce carbon dioxide, methane, and other pollutants from
coal-and gas-fired power plants, cars and light trucks, heavy-duty vehicles,
and oil and gas facilities; 

updated social cost of carbon and require its use throughout government
decision-making, including in areas where it can be particularly effective,
such as in establishing procurement standards and royalty rates; 

carbon pollution from fossil fuels produced on public lands and waters, and
update various energy efficiency rules and promote the deployment of
energy-efficient technologies that will reduce carbon pollution and save
consumers money; 

the adoption of electric vehicles, push states to reduce their
transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, and support the
electrification of our mass transit; 

the Department of Defense non-tactical vehicle fleet to electric and
zero-emission vehicles, install solar panels on military housing, and take
other aggressive steps to decrease its environmental impact; and 

the fossil fuel industry for its decades of lying about its products and
consider bringing a civil suit against the industry the way it successfully sued
the tobacco industry. 

“The climate crisis
is one of the biggest emergencies that our country has ever faced and time is
running out. We need to build off the momentum from the IRA and make sure that
we achieve the ambition this crisis requires, and what we have promised the
world. We urge you to act boldly, declare this crisis the national emergency
that it is, and embark upon significant regulatory and administrative
action,”?their letter concludes.