WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act with a decisive 69-30 vote on Tuesday morning, teeing up the House to consider the package later this year. The Act clears the decks in the Senate for Democrats to begin working in earnest on a budget reconciliation bill that could address other climate issues not resolved in the bipartisan framework.
“The bipartisan infrastructure bill is a necessary first step towards substantive and durable climate action this Congress,” said Lindsey Baxter Griffith, Director of Federal Policy at Clean Air Task Force. “The infrastructure bill contains needed investments that will help the U.S. achieve its emissions reduction goals and create jobs, but as the recent IPCC report makes clear, further policy action is critical. The Senate must now advance a reconciliation package that boosts the deployment of clean energy technologies through efforts like the Clean Electricity Payment Program and other incentives that send clear market signals and deliver long-sought business certainty.”
Perspectives from Clean Air Task Force experts:
Sarah Smith, Program Director, Super Pollutants:
“As the IPCC underscored this week, cutting methane pollution is the biggest and fastest opportunity we have to slow warming over the next 20 years. This bill provides critically needed funding to help plug orphaned oil and gas wells and stop them from releasing harmful methane into the atmosphere. This is a positive step, and we look forward to strong, comprehensive standards from EPA this fall to rein in methane emissions across the entire oil and gas sector.”
Lee Beck, International Director, Carbon Capture:
“Carbon capture has a critical role to play in decarbonizing the U.S. and global energy system, and we need vital carbon management infrastructure to deploy it at scale. This bill will kick-start a carbon management economy through funds for carbon capture and direct air capture demonstrations, permitting, and CO2transport and storage infrastructure via the SCALE Act, putting us on the road to large-scale commercialization of carbon capture, removal, and storage. Policymakers must now enhance the 45Q tax credit with a direct pay mechanism, increased values, and an extended sunset date.”
“The SCALE Act is a key piece of policy to unlock carbon management at scale, filling an essential infrastructure gap by allowing emitters and direct air capture (DAC) plants to access commercialized CO2 storage, regardless of geographic location. Moreover, the provisions in this bill to support the establishment of DAC hubs will accelerate commercialization of DAC technologies and integrate them into the larger U.S. carbon management system that also includes CO2 storage hubs enabled by the SCALE Act, and hydrogen and industrial decarbonization hubs. By unlocking further options for emitters to reduce their emissions and funding a range of demonstrations, the provisions in this larger bill help pave the path to net-zero, while also creating regional economic opportunities and safeguarding jobs.”
Mike Fowler, Director, Advanced Energy Technology Research:
“The Senate today made clear that hydrogen is an important part of the decarbonization toolkit by proposing important policy actions, including federal support for initial hydrogen supply and utilization hubs and electrolyzer research and development. These measures could start jump–start the scale-up of hydrogen in hard-to-abate sectors within the next several years.”
Brett Rampal, Director of Nuclear Innovation:
“There are important provisions in this bipartisan infrastructure bill that work towards maintaining our existing nuclear assets while supporting innovation and demonstration of future advanced nuclear technology. These measures are a critical part of a multi-pronged and technologically-inclusive approach to quickly achieving a future zero carbon economy.”
About Clean Air Task Force
Clean Air Task Force (CATF) is a non-profit organization working to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid global development and deployment of low-carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies. We work towards these objectives through research and analysis, public advocacy leadership, and partnership with the private sector. With nearly 25 years of nationally and internationally recognized expertise on clean air policy and regulations and a fierce commitment to fully exploring all potential solutions, CATF is an environmental advocacy group with the bold ideas needed today to solve the climate crisis. CATF is headquartered in Boston, with staff working virtually around the U.S. and abroad. For more information, please visit catf.us.