Energy & Environment

Schumer: Emissions reductions ‘not sufficient’ without meeting White House environmental justice standard

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday urged the passage of the Democratic budget reconciliation package, but said its provisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be insufficient without environmental action addressing vulnerable communities.

Schumer, making an unscheduled appearance at a League of Conservation Voters press conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said the package “will put us on a path to delivering on the President’s ambitious goal of reduction of greenhouse gases by 50 percent [by] 2030,” but added that even that goal is “not sufficient.”

“We need to ensure that at least 40 percent of the benefits are flowing to disadvantaged communities, and that people [who] live in communities dependent on fossil fuels are given the support they need so no one’s left behind during the transition,” Schumer said.

The Senate majority leader warned that “in a few years because of climate change each year will be worse than COVID, and each year will be worse than the [last] if we don’t do anything about it” without action like that in the reconciliation package, which he said would spur a “green industrial revolution.”

The package comes after Biden issued Justice40, a mandate requiring at least 40 percent of federal funding to be directed to vulnerable communities, early in his presidency. The mandate aims to advance environmental justice, which is the practice of incorporating impacts on disadvantaged communities into environmental policies.

The White House issued guidance on implementing Justice40 in July.

Schumer has said the upper chamber aims to pass the reconciliation package by Christmas, while the House is targeting this week to vote on the measure. Its climate provisions have repeatedly run up against opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key vote in the 50-50 chamber.

One of Manchin’s most vocal objections has been to the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), which would provide financial incentives to electric utilities to transition to renewable energy. The program was not included in a framework released by the White House in late October. 

Tags Chuck Schumer Climate change Environmental justice Joe Biden Joe Manchin Justice40 Nancy Pelosi reconciliation package social spending package

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)
In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

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