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U.S. Senate Reaches Major—and Surprising—Climate Action Agreement

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin made a surprise announcement that brings a much needed sigh of relief — the Senate has reached an agreement to add the ‘Inflation Reduction Act of 2022’ to the reconciliation bill, which will make major investments in climate action and reduce carbon emissions by close to 40 percent by 2030. Simply put, this is huge.

As the climate crisis worsens by the day, the announcement just under two weeks ago from Sen. Manchin to refuse a deal on climate action seemed to cement a bitter reality that support on climate justice at the federal level was impossible. But now, that fear has been transformed to hope. (For a summary of the Energy Security and Climate Change Investments in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, read more here.) 

Brian Shupe, Executive Director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council stated, “With the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in West Virginia vs. Environmental Protection Agency that limited the Biden administration’s ability to combat climate change, Congressional action is more critical than ever. If this bill passes and is signed into law, it will be a long overdue reason for hope that the U.S. can follow the lead of other nations, and several states’, who are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create greater energy independence and environmental justice.”

Lauren Hierl, Executive Director of Vermont Conservation Voters added, “Vermont has committed to dramatically cut our climate pollution, and we need the federal government’s partnership so all Vermonters can access clean and affordable energy options. I’m thrilled that the Senate has crafted a package with the most significant climate investments in history, and urge them to pass them into law as quickly as possible.” 

“This package represents a long-overdue commitment to ensuring our nation builds a 21st century clean energy economy and, finally, takes substantive steps toward cutting the carbon pollution that is exacerbating the climate crisis,” said Johanna Miller, Energy & Climate Program Director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council. “We will be watching closely and look forward to celebrating this historic investment when the ink on the deal is dry. The reality is that we cannot afford further delay on climate action, and we cannot sit back while other countries worldwide step in to embrace the moral obligation and significant equity and economic opportunities of meeting this moment.”