Gulf Communities See Little to Celebrate in Infaltion Reduction Act

For Immediate Release: August 16, 2022
Press Contact: Dustin Renaud, dustin@healthygulf.org, 228-209-2194

The IRA Mandates Leasing for Oil Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Further Legislation Threatens Environmental Protection Act

NEW ORLEANS – The Inflation Reduction Act, now officially signed by President Biden, does include significant investments in the renewable energy and transportation sectors by offering substantial tax breaks that can spark innovation and drive down prices. This could decrease the U.S.’s reliance on fossil fuels. The poison pills lurking in this bill, however, affect frontline communities in the Gulf South in significant ways.

Healthy Gulf’s Executive Director Cynthia Sarthou made the following statement:

“By signing this bill, President Biden has explicitly broken the promise he made to end oil and gas drilling on Federal lands and waters. This bill perpetuates sacrifice zones and opens the door for further injustices perpetrated against communities of color, marginalized peoples, and indigenous communities. But it is not too late to prevent the worst outcomes.

In order to get the IRA passed, Democratic Senators made a dirty back-room deal with Senator Manchin that will be introduced in September. A leaked draft of the bill shows flagrant disregard for the National Environmental Protection Act and myriad handouts to the fossil fuel industry at the request of the American Petroleum Institute. Let’s be clear, this bill is NOT permitting reform, it is a ploy to fast-track fossil fuel projects. Frontline communities, historically sacrificed communities, and all people fighting for a livable planet do not owe Joe Manchin anything, least of all fossil fuel handouts that he stands to personally benefit from.

So what can be done? For a start, Senate Democrats can insist on an independent vote for Manchin’s so-called “permitting bill” instead of tying it to a Continuing Resolution bill which would force it to be passed. Also, they can and should reject the bill outright. Further, President Biden can use his office’s emergency executive powers to halt crude oil exports, invest in clean energy technologies, end new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, and prioritize climate justice advancement in vulnerable areas. Climate change is an emergency, and it should be treated as one. The fossil fuel industry handouts in the IRA and in Manchin’s forthcoming back-room bill are definitive steps backward, especially for Gulf Coast communities, but we have the tools at our disposal to move forward instead.”