10 days ago, when the Manchin/Schumer deal was made public, I had major concerns. It requires leases to be sold by the feds to oil/gas companies for drilling on public lands and waters in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska before wind or solar can be built on public lands. It supports carbon capture and sequestration and new nuclear power plants. The specific environmental justice aspects are limited, not enough.
Perhaps most significant, passage of the Inflation Reduction Act was paired with future passage of a separate piece of legislation that would specifically attempt to ensure that the destructive and unneeded Mountain Valley Pipeline is completed and put into operation, while making it easier for new gas/oil pipeline and export projects to get their permits and be built.
The fact that this second piece of legislation, Manchin’s evil monstrosity, has not been officially introduced yet and that the IRA was passed prior to that happening is a good thing. It could mean that, if all of those progressives and liberals who supported the IRA join with the environmental justice and other climate activists who were either skeptical of or opposed to it, we could defeat Manchin’s monstrosity, which will need 60 votes in the Senate to pass. The “no” votes of a lot of Senate Democrats could sink it even if there are a lot of Republican votes in favor, which is likely.
If this is what ends up happening, I would say that, overall, the good provisions of the IRA on climate, health care and taxing the rich will end up making what happens in Congress this August and September on these issues a win, a positive thing. Several reputable analyses of the relative good vs. bad things in terms of action on climate in the IRA have reported that the good far outweigh the bad. It is a positive thing that prescription drug prices are going to be reduced, that Obamacare was extended for three years, and that some limited progressive tax reforms will be enacted.
But if Manchin’s monstrosity if passed, the positives are much less, especially on climate.
Let’s use what remains of the month of August to get it together on a national campaign to defeat the MVP and fast-tracking of fossil fuel infrastructure, to defeat Manchin and the Republicans, to make the months of August and September, 2022, truly a turning point period for the planet, its people and all its life forms.
Ted Glick is an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, President of 350NJ-Rockland and author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.