Infrastructure Bill Sets the Stage for Build Back Better Vote
WASHINGTON – President Biden will sign the landmark bipartisan infrastructure bill today, clearing the way for Congress to advance the core of his climate agenda, the Build Back Better Act.
Manish Bapna, president and CEO of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), made the following statement:
“This is scene one of a two-act play. It sets the stage for Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act. That’s the centerpiece of President Biden’s strategy to drive equitable recovery with climate action in a moment the country urgently needs both.
“The bipartisan infrastructure bill makes the largest investment ever to replace lead pipes that threaten drinking water and endanger the health of millions of families; improve passenger rail and public transit; speed the shift to electric vehicles by putting new charging stations within reach for drivers coast to coast; and cap abandoned oil and gas wells that put communities and public health at risk.
“The infrastructure bill contains harmful provisions that weaken essential protections under the National Environmental Policy Act. We’re counting on the administration to uphold the commonsense safeguards that foundational statute enshrines. It’s essential that the bill’s highway investments go primarily to repair existing roads, not expansions that could worsen climate change or threaten vulnerable neighborhoods.
“The infrastructure bill does not confront the climate crisis. To do that, Congress must pass the Build Back Better Act, the core of a broader strategy to cut greenhouse gases 50-52 percent by 2030.
“To get there, we’ll need ambitious new carbon pollution and health standards, at the state, local and national levels. We’ll need to make sure every agency of the federal government is part of the climate fix - not the problem. And we need to make sure at least 40 percent of the benefits of the clean energy investments go to disadvantaged communities, many of which are suffering frontline climate hazard and harm.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.