Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill A First Step In The Right Direction
Now We Must Pass Bold Investments in Tackling Climate Crisis In Companion Budget Reconciliation Bill
The United States Senate just gave bipartisan approval to a $1 trillion infrastructure bill to rebuild the nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges and fund new climate resilience among other things.
Mark Magaña, the Founding President & CEO of GreenLatinos, released the following statement about the passage of this bipartisan infrastructure bill.
“The bipartisan infrastructure deal is an incredible achievement in and of itself, but it does not go far enough to make the critical climate and clean energy investments scientists tell us are necessary to address the rising climate crises our communities are facing everyday. These significant climate investments must be included and pass in the upcoming budget reconciliation bill.
Latino communities are suffering across the country right now, not in the future, and we cannot wait for action. Congress must commit itself to going bigger and bolder in the companion budget bill that meets the moment by making the ambitious investments needed to coherently tackle our climate crisis, achieve true environmental justice, and accelerate the transition to clean energy.
Just yesterday a report put out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change raised the stakes for what must be done to fight climate change head-on. This infrastructure package does not meet the moment facing our planet nor adequately address the urgency presented in the IPCC. Congress has a responsibility to protect our communities from extreme climate degradation.
Congress must move the country toward achieving a 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030, driving innovation, job creation, and growth while tackling and curbing climate change and the dangerous pollution that can accompany growth. We need an economic plan to build back better that includes everyone in its benefits.”
What we like:
Makes the largest investment in clean drinking water and wastewater in American history, including replacing all of the nation’s lead service pipes to deliver safe and clean drinking water to families and children – including the communities of color who are at the highest risk for lead exposure.
Makes the largest federal investment in public transit to modernize our transit and replace thousands of transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero-emissions vehicles – reducing commute times and creating more opportunity for communities of color. Bus and transit workers are 31% Black and 19% Latino, compared to 12% and 18% respectively of the workforce overall.
Delivers thousands of electrical school buses nationwide, including in rural communities, while helping school districts buy clean, American-made, zero-emissions buses and help make sure kids can breathe clean air since polluted air disproportionately impacts kids of color.
Makes the largest investment in the country’s history to address legacy pollution, cleaning up Superfund sites, Brownfields, coal and hard rock mines and abandoned oil and natural gas wells to create good-paying, union jobs and advance environmental justice – including in rural communities and communities of color. 26% of Blacks and 29% of Latinos live within 3 miles of a Superfund site, a higher percentage than for Americans overall.
What we need next:
$60 billion is needed to replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines according to some analysts. Brass tacks, although the Bipartisan bill investment is huge; To replace all lead pipes we need to allocate more funding and offer more equitably built financial support systems. Far more needs to be done to ensure there is a permanent, national-level, low-income water assistance program and more grants (rather than loans) available to significantly upgrade our systems. Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right.
The science is clear: We need a 100% clean energy economy by 2030. Congress must pass big, bold climate legislation to stave off the worst of the #ClimateCrisis. The infrastructure deal isn’t enough and Congress needs to #ACTNow on a climate-focused reconciliation.
A big problem calls for big investments and climate change is no exception. A companion budget reconciliation bill that significantly reduces carbon pollution and makes a major transformational investment in fighting the climate crisis would be a strong start to fill in the climate gaps found in the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
We demand a budget reconciliation package that adequately answers the everyday needs of our communities and protects our most vulnerable communities, our public health, and our economy while tackling the #ClimateCrisis to ensure that everyone has a safe and equitable future. #ACTNow
GreenLatinos is an active comunidad of Latino/a/x leaders, emboldened by the power and wisdom of our culture, united to demand equity and dismantle racism, resourced to win our environmental, conservation, and climate justice battles, and driven to secure our political, economic, cultural, and environmental liberation.