WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress and the White House need to build upon the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure package to ensure the nation leverages many of the tool available to create jobs, strengthen community resilience, address environmental injustices, confront climate change, and recover wildlife.
“Today 69 members of the U.S. Senate came together across party lines to make historic investments in reducing emissions from industrial and fossil fuel sources and making communities more resilient to climate impacts. It’s a big deal that demonstrates how the Biden Administration is bridging the partisan divide to deliver for people and wildlife alike. This framework marks an important step forward on ecosystem restoration, energy innovation, cleaner transportation, and habitat connectivity,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund. “Now we need our leaders to build upon this critical first step by prioritizing investments in clean energy, environmental justice, natural resource restoration and resilience, a Civilian Climate Corps, and ensuring no communities are left behind as we reach toward our clean energy future.”
The bipartisan infrastructure package’s important provisions include:
• Historic $21 billion to remediate and reclaim abandoned coal mines, orphaned oil and gas wells, and Superfund sites.
• $8 billion for flood resilience and wildfire prevention and management
• $350 million to develop and build wildlife crossings to improve habitat connectivity and reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and expanded eligibility within existing highway programs to include wildlife crossing and natural infrastructure projects
• Creation of the PROTECT grant program to make our surface transportation more resilient to extreme weather, including through natural infrastructure
• Workforce and technical training opportunities to support the research and data collection needed to identify where there are high rates of wildlife-vehicle collisions on roads and highways
• Nearly $50 billion in funding for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure and lead service line removal
• More than $3 billion investments in coastal restoration and regional watershed restoration efforts.
• Provisions to upgrade the electrical grid and transmission system to prepare for new wind and solar as well as smart metering and electric vehicles
• $130 million annually for reforestation through the REPLANT Act
• Investments in carbon capture, use, and storage and direct air capture and the pipelines and other infrastructure needed to move CO2 from where it is captured to where it will be stored or used in a product like concrete
The National Wildlife Federation Action Fund voiced concerns about provisions in the Senate-passed infrastructure bill that would stifle community input on federal projects. Congress and the Administration should address this by preserving transparency and making additional investments in the capacity of agencies to ensure projects are developed in ways that protect the environment and public health.