An enormous thank you, thank you, thank you—to all our members, volunteers, staff, and friends who worked tirelessly and passionately to get the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 voted through the House and the Senate. Thank you. This is a stunning achievement.
And thank you, President Biden and Congress. Flawed as the bill is, full of compromises, it is also a remarkable success for President Biden and for Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and families across America. Together with the infrastructure bill we all worked to pass months ago, the Biden Administration has committed nearly half a trillion dollars to attacking climate pollution and finding climate solutions. This is a smart investment. The bill also significantly reinforces the Clean Air Act, embedding the authority to regulate climate pollution into its very fabric.
More than ten years ago, after the staggering defeat of the first ambitious climate bill ever—swept along by the cynical deployment of lies and misinformation from the fossil fuel industry—a group of like-minded women got together. Some of us were mothers, all of us were profoundly worried about global warming and the climate pollution that was causing it.
We started Moms Clean Air Force in order to fight for solutions. Seeing that climate and plain old air pollution were linked—fixing one would help fix the other, all of them were damaging and even poisonous—we decided to take it all on. At first, plenty of people were dismissive of us. Plenty of people gave us those “There, there little lady” pats on the arm.
Plenty of people underestimated our power.
We joined our voices to a vibrant, diverse, passionate, and growing community of people, young, old, and in between, who understand that air pollution and global warming threaten our very lives on this Earth. We argued with one another, learned from one another, grew with one another—and fought together to advance our cause. And now, here we are.
But sometimes the hard part begins when you get what you wish (and work) for.
With this investment, we are at yet another beginning. The beginning of building out a massive clean energy grid, with all the thorny issues of permitting and siting of industrial scale technologies. The beginning of overhauling our transportation system. The beginning of strengthening our Environmental Protection Agency in its mission to protect human health.
The beginning of making sure that the implementation of this enormous investment is equitable. That we continue to interrupt generations of environmental injustice against Black, Latino, Indigenous, and low-income communities. That far more funding is devoted to people living near fossil fuel facilities; they are carrying the burden of pollution. Too many people have suffered—and fought—for too long with the government doing absolutely nothing to protect them. We must no longer accept living in a country that cordons off “sacrifice zones” where people are dying so that we can turn on the lights and wrap sandwiches in plastic.
The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 marks a turning point—but only if we work to make it so.
Moms don’t give up. We don’t really have a choice. What’s the alternative?
And then, back to work—with renewed joy and love and optimism that change can happen.