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Washington Report – August 2023

Aug 10, 2023 | Blog, Washington Report

Written by: Madison Mayhew, IPL Federal Policy Manager

Congress may be gone for August recess, but Washington DC remains alive as the city overflows with joyful summer celebrations throughout all eight wards. 

August recess is a great time to connect with your Representatives and Senators while they are at home! Be sure to follow their social media pages for updates on town halls and other opportunities to engage. 

The Latest on Climate Policy

Appropriations

Before Congress left for recess, both chambers were focused on FY24 appropriations bills in order to meet the September 30th deadline. The Senate successfully passed all 12 appropriation bills out of committee, but the House is much further behind after only passing the Interior Appropriations bill. GOP members continue to attack key climate policies and environmental justice programs through “poison pill” pill policy riders. At least 17 poison pill riders have been proposed that fuel the climate crisis, block clean energy measures and undermine clean water.

 As people of faith, we believe budgets are moral documents. Last week, IPL met with staffers from Sen. Schumer’s office to urge his office to hold the line against the GOP’s harmful policy riders and proposed budget cuts. 

Check out our faith based appropriations toolkit here.

Permitting 

At the end of July, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on permitting with the goal of advancing permitting legislation. As many of our communities are suffering from the climate crisis right now, Senator Manchin continues to push for false solutions that fast track dirty fossil fuel projects that further harm our sacred earth. 

Based on intel from a few offices, permitting negotiations between lawmakers have stalled after the debt ceiling package last 

CEQ Phase II rules 

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released a notice of proposed rulemaking to update rules that guide federal decision making under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

NEPA is our bedrock environmental law requiring the federal government to engage with communities and take health and environmental concerns into account when making consequential decisions. The proposed rule goes a long way toward providing clarity and certainty to both the public and project sponsors, while also affirming federal agencies’ responsibilities to consider climate change and environmental justice.

This rulemaking is part of a longer process, which started with phase 1 last spring. The proposed rule seeks to reverse the Trump administration’s attacks on NEPA, while restoring certainty, efficiency and transparency to the environmental review process. The rule seeks to ensure environmental reviews fully and accurately consider the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of proposed projects and that affected communities are consulted as early as possible.This proposed rule is a reminder that the administration has all the tools it needs to protect NEPA and equitably speed up the deployment of clean energy. 

Administrative 

Yesterday, IPL joined with the Climate Action Campaign and several other partners at a press conference outside of the EPA to deliver nearly ONE MILLION public comments in favor of a strong carbon pollution standard! This is a big deal, and the faith community played a pivotal role in collecting these comments. Thank you to everyone who joined in! 

Additionally, in partnership with affiliates and the Sisters of Mercy, IPL delivered a faith leader comment letter signed by 608 faith leaders from 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, who speak on behalf of our neighbors, our communities, and our collective future urging EPA to enact the strongest possible standards to cut climate pollution from power plants to protect our communities and our Sacred Earth. 

Watch IPL President Rev. Susan Hendershot give remarks at the event here!

Action Opportunities

Farm Bill Sign on letter 

National faith partners have created a sign on letter, urging House and Senate Agricultural Committee leadership to prioritize reauthorizing a Faithful Farm Bill that promotes the well-being of people and the planet. Faith organizations and groups (local, state, national) are invited to sign on. Please consider joining us! 

Sign on using this form. Deadline to sign on is August 14th.  

September 7th Webinar: Inflation Reduction Act Resources to Help you Electrify your Home

Join Interfaith Power & Light and Rewiring America to learn more about the Inflation Reduction Act incentives that will be available to help make your home healthier and more efficient.

RSVP here!

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