Next steps after the Inflation Reduction Act

Aug 16, 2022

DENVER—President Biden is expected to sign the Inflation Reduction Act today, making an unprecedented investment in America’s clean energy economy and reforming the nation’s oil and gas leasing system on public lands. Unfortunately, the bill also locks in another decade of onshore and offshore oil and gas leases by linking oil and gas drilling to future renewable energy development.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“Thanks to the leadership of President Biden, Majority Leader Schumer, and a number of Western senators, this is a landmark day for America. For the first time, our nation is taking substantive steps to address the climate crisis and reduce America’s carbon emissions. But in order for the climate provisions in this bill to succeed, today’s signing must be the first step, not the last.

“The Biden administration now has to implement the law, as quickly and thoroughly as possible. On America’s public lands, that will mean a rulemaking to ensure critical landscapes, wildlife, and habitats are not further harmed by the oil and gas leasing this bill requires. The future of keystone species like the greater sage-grouse may hinge on how the Interior Department implements the Inflation Reduction Act.”

“The administration also needs to finish the leasing reforms that didn’t make it into the final bill. The Senate parliamentarian removed provisions that would have required oil and gas companies to post bonds sufficient to clean up after themselves. The Interior Department should begin a rulemaking to lock in those increased bonding requirements and hold bad actors accountable on our public lands.”

“Perhaps most importantly, the Biden administration should capitalize on today’s success and rededicate itself to the president’s America the Beautiful initiative. Reducing carbon emissions alone will not be enough to address the intertwined climate and biodiversity crises. Scientists tell us that we must protect 30 percent of our lands and waters by the end of the decade. In order for President Biden to reach his 30×30 goal, he must move quickly to work with states, cities, and private landowners to ensure more voluntary protections of critical ecosystems. And he must use every tool at his disposal, including the Antiquities Act, to protect new national monuments and conservation areas across America.”