Charleston, WV (WVDN) – The WV Climate Alliance has come together to release a joint statement in support of the Inflation Reduction Act as a “Good First Step”. Passage by the House Friday puts this historic legislation on president Biden’s desk for his signature. This legislation will now begin to move our nation forward in addressing our ever escalating Climate Crisis.
“We’d like to recognize Senator Manchin’s leadership for co-sponsoring this legislation,” said Gary Zuckett, Executive Director of WV Citizen Action Group, “and for his efforts to advance these reforms even in the face of total Republican opposition, outright lies broadcast 24-7 by dark money groups over social and regular media, and intense lobbying from Big Pharma, oil companies and other corporate special interests. In these tough times, West Virginians have been waiting long enough for these common-sense improvements.”
“Once enacted, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will help more West Virginians take control of where their energy comes from at a time when it’s needed most,” said Leah Barbor, West Virginia Program Director, Solar United Neighbors. “These clean energy investments will put us on track to reduce emissions, reduce energy bills, create good jobs and improve equity by expanding the opportunities to bring the benefits of solar to all West Virginians.”
“We want to thank Senator Manchin for ensuring the IRA passage. The IRA is truly a historical step forward,” said Lead West Virginia Veteran and Climate Justice Organizer Lakiesha Lloyd with Common Defense. “However, we must recognize that there is still much to do. We have a long way to go to ensure a renewable energy future where West Virginia veterans will not only survive but thrive. Thus, we’ll keep organizing–this bill is the step we need on our path to full climate justice.”
“The Inflation Reduction Act is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in climate solutions that will help protect West Virginia from the impacts of the climate crisis for generations to come. The WV Environmental Council (WVEC) thanks Senator Manchin for supporting this legislation. West Virginia now has a chance to fight climate change, create jobs and be a part of a clean energy future. WVEC is committed to continuing our advocacy for solutions that promote environmental protection across the state and advance environmental justice,” said Linda Frame, President of the West Virginia Environmental Council.
“We thank Senator Manchin for his support and leadership on the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Lucia Valentine, West Virginia Organizer of Moms Clean Air Force. “This historic investment in our future comes at a crucial time in Appalachia, as devastating floods remind us of the urgency to act for the safety of our children and for future generations. The Inflation Reduction Act puts us on a path to a cleaner, safer, and healthier future.”
“This legislation includes a permanent extension of the Black Lung Excise Tax – an unprecedented investment in the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. This is a huge victory for every miner and mining family that is worried about how to pay for their bills and medication in light of the uncertainty around the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. In West Virginia alone, 4,423 miners and their families are currently receiving federal black lung compensation. The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund provided $38 million in black lung compensation to West Virginia miners in 2021, or nearly 25% of the total funds disbursed nationally,” said Dana Kuhnline, Campaign Director for ReImagine Appalachia.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is an important measure towards ensuring the livability of our planet. For West Virginians who have been fighting for just transitions, economic diversity, and growth, we believe this to be a giant step in the right direction”, stated Kathy Ferguson, Interim Executive Director with Our Future West Virginia. “However, we must acknowledge the trade-offs and we lament that the MVP will be bolstered at the expense of the IRA passage. We will certainly keep pushing for Sen. Manchin to go further in ensuring that people are prioritized over profits and that all our communities are protected and environmentally sound.”
“The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act puts our nation on the pathway toward unprecedented greenhouse gas emissions reduction,” said Autumn Crowe, Program Director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “While we celebrate this milestone, our work is not done. We recognize that some provisions within the IRA call for additional fossil fuel development which perpetuates the harm to frontline communities. We will continue to advocate for healthy communities and work toward ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions.”
While the Climate Alliance is hopeful about this historic step forward in climate policy, much more is needed to be done. We will continue advocating for the advancement of climate solutions that focus on our three pillars of reform: climate justice for communities that have borne the brunt of our current fossil-fuel economy; a true transition for coal miners and other fossil fuel workers likely to be impacted by the transition to a low-carbon economy; and a significant reduction in greenhouse gasses in accordance with the findings of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.