Merkley Urges President: Invest Climate-Friendly

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 home.” 

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 to: 

·         Establish 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; 

·         Promote 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; 

·         Limit 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; 

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

·         Transition 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 

·         Investigate 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.