SANTA FE – Earlier this week, the ‘Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022’ was announced in Congress, which allocates a historic $370 billion for energy and climate programs to reduce carbon emissions nationwide by close to 40 percent by 2030. The announcement follows months of negotiations between Sen. Joe Manchin III and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on a reconciliation package that also centers President Biden’s climate commitments.
The IRA makes record investments in critical climate and environmental justice programs and infrastructure, including the following:
- Clean energy tax credits that prioritize domestic energy production and living equitable wages for workers;
- Investments to make community solar projects more accessible, including direct grants to support projects;
- Over $60 billion in environmental justice priorities – by far the largest such investment in the nation’s history – to drive investments into frontline communities, including:
- $3 billion to launch a new Environmental Protection Agency program to support environmental justice grants and resources;
- Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants to support frontline and under resourced communities; and
- $1 billion in clean heavy-duty vehicles, like school and public transit buses.
- $9 billion in funding for home energy retrofits and rebates; and
- $1 billion in funding for National Environmental Policy Act implementation
“The climate provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are a testament to the persistence of pro-conservation champions in Congress – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernandez and Melanie Stansbury – in striving to meet this critical moment,” said CVNM Campaigns and Civic Engagement Director Ragan Matteson. “This bill represents by far the largest investment in climate action and in environmental justice in the nation’s history. Paired with aggressive state action to address the climate crisis, the IRA gets us a long way toward meeting President Biden’s climate goals. It also reminds us that even though we still face significant challenges, we also have the power to create new opportunities and build a path to a clean energy future.”
The IRA is being introduced at a time when New Mexico’ families are still grappling with the state’s most devastating wildfire, flood, and drought seasons to date, exacerbated by the climate crisis. However, as currently drafted the IRA also makes its landmark renewable energy investments contingent on advancing additional leasing of federal lands for oil and gas development.
“New Mexico has already committed to transitioning our economy away from natural resource extraction in the long term with the passage of Senate Bill 112 in 2021,” states Samantha Kao, CVNM Climate and Energy Advocate. “This legislation established the Sustainable Economy Task Force and Advisory Council with a directive to develop a strategic plan for the state to shift our economy away from fossil fuels. As the IRA goes through the policy process, we urge Congress to leverage New Mexico’s SB 112 as a model to demonstrate that we can shift away from oil and gas extraction in ways that are economically just for working families.”
In the past three years, New Mexico has also made significant investments to address the climate crisis head on through rulemakings that address methane and ozone pollution from the oil and gas industry, and adopt clean car standards. The state also enacted community solar legislation, and adopted policy ensuring New Mexico’s energy production be sourced by 100% clean energy by 2045. In October 2021, Governor Lujan Grisham also announced that her administration will champion efforts to address carbon pollution economy-wide, ensuring the state will have net-zero climate emissions by 2050. The climate investments of the IRA will further bolster state actions like those made in New Mexico to help the nation meet international climate change goals.
“Congress has struggled over the last decade to take climate action commensurate with the scale of the problem our communities are facing,” said CVNM Policy and Political Director Ben Shelton. “As a result, the challenge of bold climate action has been increasingly championed by state legislatures, reflected in New Mexico’s emergence as a national leader on climate under the Lujan Grisham Administration. The Inflation Reduction Act’s unprecedented investment on climate and environmental justice can play a key role in leveraging New Mexico’s own commitments to act on climate and help accelerate them.”