PBPC Statement on Earth Day 2022 about the Biden-Harris Administration’s Environmental Accomplishments

PBPC Statement on Earth Day 2022 regarding the environmental accomplishments of the Biden-Harris administration

For Immediate Release
April 22, 2022
Contact: Kirstin Snow, snow@pennbpc.org

HARRISBURG, PA – Jeff Garis, coordinator of Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s federal advocacy campaign, the 99% Pennsylvania, released this statement in observance of Earth Day 2022:

“For more than half a century, Earth Day has served as an important opportunity for people and governments around the world to raise awareness about environmental challenges, to reflect on achievements in efforts to protect our natural resources, and to set goals for the future.

“The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center commends the Biden-Harris administration for championing the most ambitious climate agenda in history. Under President Biden’s direction, the U.S. rejoined the Paris Climate Accord and reestablished the nation’s role as a leader in the global fight against climate change. Over the past year, the president has continued to build on these commitments, setting the U.S. on a path of greater energy independence and climate protection.

“A significant accomplishment since Earth Day 2021 was the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is delivering historic investments to fund climate projects here in Pennsylvania and across the country. Key provisions in the legislation are focused on combatting climate change and reducing pollution:

  • Rebuilding roads and bridges in a way that makes them resilient to climate-driven, extreme weather. Pennsylvania is receiving $11.3 billion for federal-aid-apportioned highway programs and $1.6 billion for bridge replacement and repairs. Pennsylvania can also compete for funds under the $12.5-billion Bridge Investment Program for economically significant bridges as well as for the $16 billion dedicated for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities.
  • Ensuring millions of Americans have access to clean, reliable drinking water and eliminating lead pipes. Pennsylvania will receive $1.4 billion over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state.
  • Improving transit options and passenger rail to help Americans get to work and reduce climate pollution. Pennsylvania will receive at least $2.8 billion over five years, with funds going to SEPTA in southeastern Pennsylvania, the Port Authority of Allegheny County, and the 13 other smaller bus transportation systems across the state.
  • Building a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations. The IIJA is delivering more than $25 million to Pennsylvania to install EV charging stations along key roads and highways across the state, creating good-paying jobs, supporting local manufacturers, and improving air quality, with additional funding available via innovative grant programs.
  • Cleaning up polluted Superfund and brownfield sites and dealing with abandoned mines and oil and gas wells. The infrastructure law includes $21 billion to clean up abandoned mine lands, plug orphaned oil and gas wells that leak methane and harm wildlife, and clean up toxic Superfund sites. Much of these federal investments will come to Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky, as these states have two-thirds of unreclaimed abandoned mine lands and will receive about $7.5 billion of the $11.3 billion for abandoned mine land reclamation.
  • Upgrading the nation’s electric grid to make it more reliable and enable the delivery of more clean energy to homes and businesses across the country.
  • Investing $3.5 billion in weatherization and energy efficiency to combat climate change and reduce energy costs for families and small businesses.
  • Investing billions in research and development to usher in the next generation of clean energy technologies.

“While there has been significant progress in efforts to protect our environment, many of President Biden’s most ambitious proposals have not yet been implemented, such as plans for cutting climate-warming emissions by 50 to 52 percent compared to what they were in 2005, which the president announced on Earth Day last year. So far, these efforts have been blocked primarily by the overwhelming opposition of congressional Republicans. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy calls on every member of our state’s congressional delegation, including Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, to work in good faith with the Biden-Harris administration in the year ahead to advance the policies that are needed to defend our environment and combat climate change.”