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In the last year, the U.S. secured historic clean energy plan investments from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and CHIPS and Science Act. This funding – nearly $550 billion for climate investments – can position our country to drive transformational progress on pollution, energy security and jobs in clean energy and manufacturing. Getting those laws through Congress to President Biden’s desk was no easy feat — they have been decades in the making — and this next chapter may be just as challenging: implementing those clean energy investments swiftly and fairly across the nation.

We have an unprecedented opportunity to redesign our energy system. These historic government investments give us the tools we need to replace our dirty and unsustainable fossil fuel economy with a clean energy future that will reduce harmful pollution, improve our health, make us more energy secure and heal the planet. But that does not stop fuel companies and their allies from trying to undermine the progress made to protect record-breaking profits at our expense

Health equity

Our health depends on a healthy planet. The clean energy plan invests in air monitoring, cleaner ports and community-led initiatives to confront the worst harms of air pollution and improve health. 

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates there are nine million lead pipes currently delivering drinking water into homes and businesses across the United States—putting millions at risk for devastating harms, including permanent neurological damage and coronary heart disease. Replacing these pipes is an essential public health need. 

By 2026, more than $15 billion (about $46 per person in the US) will flow to states and local water utilities—bringing both safer drinking water to millions of Americans and jobs for workers in affected communities. This is a result of funding for lead pipe replacements is available through the IIJA, which President Biden signed into law in November 2021.

In addition to air monitoring, cleaner ports and community-led solutions, a suite of strong executive actions for common pollutants like soot, vehicle tailpipe emissions, and industrial resources will help us close the gap on the cumulative impact of climate change on Black and Latin communities, the communities most harmed by our continued reliance on fossil fuels.

Family-sustaining jobs for the 21st century

Developing and producing clean energy and transportation in the U.S. is creating family-sustaining jobs in big cities and small towns—jobs for geologists, engineers, scientists, construction workers and more. These new clean energy and infrastructure jobs are American jobs that solve American challenges. 

Meanwhile, jobs in oil, gas and coal have not recovered to their pre-pandemic levels. Fossil fuel companies have spent decades creating barriers to entry for renewables: tax policy that favors dirty energy, special rules for oil, gas, and coal, and sweetheart deals that protect them from real financial competition with clean energy. Our communities do not have to be “sacrifice zones,” we can limit this pollution through the legal and regulatory process.

The industrial and manufacturing sector itself is also responsible for a quarter of U.S. emissions. This includes investments for clean energy technology manufacturing that will help maximize jobs building electric vehicles, solar, wind and more, while minimizing supply chain disruptions and driving down pollution from the industrial sector that disproportionately impacts Black and Latin Americans.

Environmental justice

The clean energy plan gives us the opportunity to build out the infrastructure of the future while also installing guardrails to protect the places and communities most impacted by this development. 

Black, Hispanic and Indigenous communities and low-income areas face an enormous and unjust burden of pollution because fossil fuel industries are more likely to be located near them. They also face the greatest hazards from climate change while contributing the least, and they have the fewest resources to recover from its harm.

We must ensure that federal and state governments implement the clean energy plan’s investments in an equitable and just way while opposing any effort that adds pollution to overburdened communities.

Every action

We can and must heal our world for all of us and for future generations. Every action our leaders take should move us toward abundant clean energy. By developing innovative technologies, modernizing our electrical grid, making ourselves less dependent on the global market for fossil fuels and driving down the cost of clean sources of energy, everyone will benefit.

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