Billions of dollars in climate spending have been cut from the bipartisan infrastructure agreement.
Compared with the bipartisan framework announced by the senator and the White House in June, the infrastructure agreement announced yesterday may reduce spending on public transportation and electric vehicles by approximately $20 billion.
The Biden administration called this new expenditure of US$550 billion, the largest single infrastructure investment in the history of the United States. But the lower level of funding may threaten President Biden’s goal of building 500,000 charging stations, if not for his greater ambitions to cut emissions by half by 2030-which scientists say is needed to maintain a safe climate at the lowest limit.
It also increased political pressure on the Democratic Party. With little room for defecting, the party faces internal disagreements between progressives who are shocked by the growing scale of the climate impact and centrists who are cautious about large-scale federal spending or worry about its potential impact on industry.
The deal announced yesterday provides $39 billion in funding for public transportation. Last month, negotiators reached a $49 billion agreement. (Biden initially sought $85 billion.)
Electric school buses were cut to 2.5 billion U.S. dollars. According to a White House fact sheet, the June framework calls for $7.5 billion for “electric buses/transit”. Now, the deal uses $2.5 billion of it for “low-emission” buses, and $2.5 billion of it for ferries (some of which is earmarked for Alaska).
Potential funding for electric vehicle charging stations has been reduced by about half.
Yesterday’s transaction and the June framework call for the same amount of funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, or $7.5 billion.
But the White House had planned to use a new “infrastructure financing agency” to spend another $7.5 billion for charging stations. The financing authorization was cancelled in the transaction announced yesterday, leaving the government with no readily available funding alternatives.
This makes Biden’s electric car plan into question. He initially proposed a US$174 billion proposal for his entire electric vehicle agenda, but the government has stated that the framework’s US$15 billion can still achieve his charging goal (Climate line, July 8).
After making it the main selling point of the June framework, the White House yesterday avoided mentioning the president’s goal of 500,000 chargers.
“This is the first time that the United States has made a national investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. It is a key element of the Biden-Harris administration’s acceleration of the adoption of electric vehicles in response to the climate crisis and supporting domestic manufacturing employment programs,” the White House said in detailing the deal. Said in the fact sheet.
Biden himself remained silent about his charging station goals-even as he talked about a bipartisan infrastructure deal at a Pennsylvania factory that helped make electric dump trucks.
“Right here, in this factory floor, you are making a product [is] Addressing climate change,” Biden said yesterday. “Our manufacturing future, our economic future, and our solutions to the climate crisis will all be manufactured in the United States, creating good job opportunities. This is the meaning of better reconstruction. “
The smaller climate funding of the bipartisan infrastructure agreement may complicate its passage.
Unless Congress also passes trillions of dollars in climate and social project legislation, progressives threaten to undermine the agreement reached between the two parties. Many people have denied the potential of the bipartisan agreement in terms of major decarbonization because its passage depends on Republicans.
However, the feeling that the climate has been shortened may lead progressives to seek more funding for them in the Democratic spending bill, which is already tied to $3.5 trillion. At the same time, the middle party hesitated about the price.
Lauren Monus, the advocacy director of the Sunrise Movement, said in a statement: “Biden and Congress cannot be distracted by this pathetic infrastructure program. It will only further reduce much-needed climate priorities, such as transportation. “.
She added that the Democratic Party’s spending bill “must be strengthened to include priorities that are diluted by this bipartisan package.”
Last night, the bipartisan package removed a key procedural obstacle in the Senate. The Democratic Alliance sees this as a signal that the climate policy battle is about to escalate.
The Coalition to Protect the Voters yesterday held a press conference with Democratic congressional leaders to urge lawmakers to adopt policies that actually meet the climate benchmarks set by scientists.
Tiernan Sittenfeld, LCV’s senior vice president for government affairs, said that the bipartisan bill is not enough.
She said in a statement: “It is clear that this deal did not meet the needs of climate or justice.”
forward from Electronics News With permission from POLITICO, LLC. Copyright 2021. E&E News provides important news for energy and environmental professionals.