The three former officials called the bill ‘the most significant piece of climate legislation in United States history.’
Three former Environmental Protection Agency administrators, who served in Democratic and Republican presidents’ cabinets, called on Congress to pass the recently introduced Inflation Reduction Act, specifically citing the effect the legislation would have in the fight against climate change.
The legislation, which was proposed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), would use $369 billion of its projected $739 billion on measures to alleviate the effects of climate change. Climate experts have estimated that the law would cut carbon emissions 40% by 2030, lower energy costs, and create jobs in the green energy sector.
The statement was released on Friday by three former EPA administrators: Christine Todd Whitman, who served under President George W. Bush, William K. Reilly, who served under President George H.W. Bush, and Carol Browner, who served under President Bill Clinton.
“As former Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency of both Democratic and Republican Administrations, we support the Inflation Reduction Act which represents the most significant piece of climate legislation in United States history,” the former officials noted in a statement. “The legislation meets the moment of urgency that the climate crisis demands, and will position the U.S. to meet President Biden’s climate goals of reducing emissions 50-52% by 2030, while making unprecedented investments in clean energy solutions that will save families hundreds of dollars a year and create new, good paying union jobs across the country.”
They noted that the bill would assist “low-income communities and communities of color” due to provisions that would work to alleviate legacy pollution, and which would fund jobs in the green energy industry.
“This legislation delivers on that commitment, by reducing pollution that’s endangering our communities and fueling the climate crisis,” the former EPA heads added. “We encourage Congress to pass this legislation immediately.”
The statement echoes the sentiment of multiple environmental groups and longtime environmental activists like former Vice President Al Gore, who have also pushed for the act’s passage.
Gore described the bill as a “necessary step,” while the Sierra Club called it “transformative,” and the Natural Resources Defense Council referred to it as “the ultimate clean energy comeback.”
Polls have shown widespread bipartisan support for the bill. An August poll released by Data for Progress and Climate Power had 73% of respondents supporting the bill. In the poll, 74% of independent voters expressed support, as did 52% of Republicans. Democrats were the strongest supporters, with 95% of those polled supporting it.
Despite the bill’s projected benefits and its backing by environmental groups, Republican lawmakers have attacked the legislation, as have conservative media outlets like Fox News.
The bill received added momentum on Thursday after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) announced that she would vote to “move forward” on a version of the bill with some revisions. Schumer said the Senate would proceed to advance the bill on Saturday.
President Joe Biden has expressed support for the proposal, calling it “the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis.”
This story was written by Oliver Willis, former research fellow at Media Matters for America, where this story first appeared.