WASHINGTON – In less than 24 hours, over 300 climate, community, faith, indigenous and environmental groups from across the country signed a letter to Democratic leaders voicing opposition to a range of fossil fuel subsidies that could be included in a must pass appropriations bill.
As Senate committees work to pass appropriations bills, fears are rising that lawmakers will include provisions that provide subsidies for fossil fuel extraction, offshore drilling and nuclear energy as part of a backroom deal negotiated between Republican and Democratic leadership. The letter raises concerns that these last minute secret amendments could also support ‘false solutions’ being pushed by dirty energy interests like carbon capture and storage, biofuels, carbon offsets and carbon pricing.
While none of the backroom deals are public, some media reports point to efforts to include the American Energy Innovation Act and the USE IT Act, which include the dirty energy provisions opposed by the groups.
The letter — signed by Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International, Climate Justice Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, CatholicNetwork US, and hundreds of other organizations — pointed to the environmental justice implications of these policies.
“We need urgent action on climate change and justice for the frontline, Black, Indigenous and communities of color that have been disproportionately burdened by dirty energy. Instead of promoting climate justice, advancing these provisions will further increase our dependence on dirty energy by propping up the very industries that are creating the climate crisis and devastating communities,” said Mitch Jones, Policy Director, Food & Water Watch.
“Congress cannot continue subsidizing this failing industry and worsening our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Nichole Ghio Senior Fossil Fuels Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “Diverting even more resources towards the same dirty industries responsible for the climate crisis only encourages more pollution in frontline, Black, Indigenous and communities of color. We need climate justice, not more corporate subsidies.”
“Catholics believe in science and the common good. New evidence comes out every week showing how sensible, cost-effective, and important it is to make a more rapid shift to renewable energy. This depends on stopping further investment in fossil fuels though, and doing our fair share, which is about twice the global average reductions needed (about 6% of existing fossil fuel production annually). Scientists, the Pope, and the Climate Vulnerable Forum were clear in 2014 and 2015 that the 1.5 C there is no time for delay, yet that is what we’ve continued to do. It’s time for that rapid shift,” said Marie Venner, Co-Chair CatholicNetwork.US and RapidShift.net.
“Ramming through deeply unpopular proposals in the dead of night via a must-pass spending bill is the worst possible way to do energy policy,” said Collin Rees, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change U.S. “Congress must drop this plan for dirty fossil fuel handouts in the lame-duck and start fresh with legislation that actually centers the experiences of communities impacted by Black, Indigenous, and frontline communities impacted by environmental racism and fossil fuel extraction.”
This post was originally published on Radio Free.