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Inflation Reduction Act makes its way to Congress, supported by AZ leaders and climate advocates

Posted at 5:13 PM, Aug 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-06 19:57:22-04

On Friday, Arizona community leaders and climate advocates came together to thank Senator Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema for supporting the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which is currently in Congress. Several western Senators announced the additional funding on Friday, including Senator Mark Kelly.

The climate provisions in the legislation represent the largest investment in American history to address climate change along with an equitable transition to clean energy.

Former Tempe Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby says it isn't a perfect bill, but it's a start.

"We're taking a big step forward in trying to advance our renewable energy goals not just for the state of Arizona, but for the entire country," she says.

Other speakers like Arizona Trail Association Executive Director Matthew Nelson say the impacts of climate change are affecting the resources that define the Arizona Trail and others statewide.

"It is currently threatened because of the wildfires, the erosion that happens, extreme drought, and extreme heat," Nelson says.

The provisions also focus on investments into disadvantaged communities that have too often been left behind like those in our state.

D.J. Portugal, the Federal Climate Organizer for Chispa Arizona, is excited to see the pro-climate provisions but is hoping for more.

"We're still hoping that we can help our communities and other communities. This is only the starting point. We have so much further to go," Portugal says.

If passed, the measure would also lower energy costs, increase cleaner production, and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030.

In total, $369 billion would go toward energy security and climate change.

The bill also includes an additional $4 billion in funding for the Bureau of Reclamation to combat drought in the West. Three western senators, including Mark Kelly, made the announcement about the agreement for funding on Friday.

Although not part of the senate group, Senator Sinema was seeking to add $5 billion for drought resiliency prior to the Friday announcement.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema's team issued the following statement on the additional funding:

"Through her negotiations, Senator Sinema successfully ensured the reconciliation package accomplishes two main goals: it helps Arizona's economy grow and compete and it boosts drought and climate resources for Arizona and the entire American West."

Senator Mark Kelly issued the following statement on the Inflation Reduction Act:

“I’ve spent a lot of time with Arizonans and small business owners across our state. The top concern I hear from folks is the rising cost of everything from energy prices to life-saving prescription drugs. We secured our plan to lower prescription drug prices in the final bill. After working with other western senators to secure a $4 billion investment in this bill to combat western drought, I will vote to advance the Inflation Reduction Act. This legislation also tackles the changing climate that is impacting our state and makes responsible investments to create great-paying Arizona jobs in renewable energy without raising taxes on hardworking families. There will be partisan attempts to obstruct this legislation, but I’ll stay focused on getting it over the finish line for Arizona.”