With wildfires burning in the western U.S. and the Gulf Coast facing the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 1 joined a group of 10 governors calling on Congressional leaders to ensure the federal infrastructure package includes key programs and funding to tackle the climate crisis.
“Climate change is intensifying the wildfires that burn in the West, hurricanes that threaten the East and extreme heat that endangers people and animals throughout the country. Now is the time for bold climate action,” the letter reads. “It is vital for Congress to adopt both the bipartisan infrastructure deal and a bold and comprehensive reconciliation bill to achieve the goals of the Build Back Better Agenda. …As governors of states on the front line of the climate crisis, we place particular emphasis that the combined package includes the most impactful actions to protect our climate.”
The governors called for 40% of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to be directed to disadvantaged communities and requested that the package invest in communities impacted by the market-based transition to clean energy. Citing the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the governors emphasized the imperative to move swiftly.
Specifically, the letter requested a clean electricity performance program and the expansion of tax credits for clean energy generation and storage, as well as funding for new and upgraded electricity transmission; tax credits for manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles; incentives for consumers, especially low-income consumers, to purchase zero-emission vehicles; funding for zero-emission infrastructure; and elimination of statutory obstacles to charging on federal rights of way.
Furthermore, the governors sought funding to plug orphan wells and adoption of a methane polluter fee for the venting or burning of excess methane, investment in climate-smart agricultural and forest management programs for farmers and rural communities, investment in protections for communities and transportation infrastructure from the impacts of climate change, as well as robust funding for a new Civilian Climate Corps.
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