PennEnvironment Statement: President Biden unleashes billions for clean energy

Media Contacts
Susan Kaplan

Former Media Relations Manager

WASHINGTON, DC— President Joe Biden signed into law on Tuesday the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes roughly $370 billion in tax credits and other programs to expand clean energy and reduce planet-warming pollution. Specifically, the law invests in:

  • Clean energy: The U.S. has enough wind and solar resources to power Pennsylvania and the nation, many times over, according to a PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center study. The Inflation Reduction Act includes $9 billion in consumer home energy rebate programs to electrify home appliances and for energy efficient retrofits; ten years of consumer tax credits to make heat pumps, rooftop solar, electric HVAC, and water heaters more affordable so homes can be more energy efficient and run on clean energy; and a $10 billion investment tax credit to build clean technology manufacturing facilities, including facilities that make electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels. 
  • Electric vehicles: More than a dozen states require a rising share of new cars to be electric. The Inflation Reduction Act provides a $4,000 tax credit for consumers to buy used electric vehicles and up to a $7,500 tax credit for consumers to buy new EVs. It also provides $3 billion for electric U.S. Postal Service trucks, $1 billion for electric heavy duty vehicles (such as school buses and garbage trucks),  and $3 billion for zero-emission technology at U.S. ports.
  • Pollution reduction and natural climate solutions: The law reinstates a “polluter pays” tax on the petroleum industry, which expired in 1995. This tax will increase funding to clean up Superfund toxic waste sites, nearly 100 of which are in Pennsylvania. Studies show that clean-up efforts stalled when polluters were not responsible for funding cleanup. The bill also enacts a methane emissions reduction program, which is especially critical here as the second-largest natural gas producing state in the nation. And it includes $50 million to inventory and protect old-growth forests, which absorb global-warming carbon emissions, on National Forest System land.

The bill represents a compromise and includes some provisions that will benefit fossil fuel development, including requiring lease sales for offshore drilling and providing tax incentives that would help coal and gas plants. It will be critical to fight this fossil fuel development at every turn.

However, modeling by Energy Innovation found emissions increases from these provisions are offset 24 to 1 by the bill’s climate-friendly provisions. The researchers also found that ​​implementing the bill could prevent 3,700 to 3,900 deaths and 100,000 asthma attacks each year by 2030.

Christopher Johnson, a regional representative for U.S. Senator Bob Casey, stands speaking at a podium in front of a crowd of people holding signs that say "Act Now on Climate"

Christopher Johnson, a regional representative for U.S. Senator Bob Casey, addresses a crowd rallying for climate action to express the Senator’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act.Photo by TPIN | TPIN

Flora Cardoni, field director for PennEnvironment, released the following statement:

“Pennsylvania won’t have a safe, secure future if we don’t rein in the pollution that’s harming our health and wreaking havoc on our climate. The Inflation Reduction Act makes great strides on both fronts. It will make polluters pay to clean up toxic waste, which is good news for Pennsylvanians living by the nearly 100 Superfund sites within the state. And the clean energy tax credits will help make it more affordable for Pennsylvanians to switch to electric vehicles, put solar panels on our roofs, and purchase cleaner, healthier electric appliances that don’t pump pollution into our homes and air.

“This law will supercharge our progress towards a clean energy future with a jolt of (renewable) power. That’s critical since we need to be powering our lives with 100% clean, green, renewable energy to protect health and climate. President Biden just gave us a big boost by signing this law, and we thank all our members of Congress who voted for it. 

“However, while this climate legislation is a huge step forward, it is far from perfect. The law’s subsidies for fossil fuel companies are counterproductive and a waste of taxpayer dollars. And, some members of Congress now want to gut environmental protections to make it easier to build pipelines and other fossil fuel projects–which would be a big leap in the wrong direction. Instead of allowing any fossil fuel development, we should double down on climate solutions, from solar panels to electric buses to heat pumps, that are a win for our health, the planet, and the people of Pennsylvania.

“The Inflation Reduction Act is a start to, not the culmination of, our work to reduce climate pollution and ensure clean air, clean water, and the preservation of open spaces. But with this historic investment in clean energy and climate action, we will have more momentum to keep fighting for all of the solutions we need to ensure that future generations of Pennsylvanians have a livable climate to call home.”