March 2, 2022

By Ramona du Houx

In President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address, he urged Congress to adopt a suite of clean energy tax credits and other environmental programs, saying his plan will:

“ . . . cut energy costs for families an average of $500 a year by combating climate change.” President Biden elaborated, “Let’s provide investments and tax credits to weatherize your homes and businesses to be energy efficient and you get a tax credit; double America’s clean energy production in solar, wind, and so much more; lower the price of electric vehicles, saving you another $80 a month because you’ll never have to pay at the gas pump again.” 

His speech followed Monday’s new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that warned, “Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.” 

The legislative package, known as the Build Back Better Act, which includes clean energy tax credits and other imperative climate provisions has stalled despite broad agreement among key legislators and strong public support for those provisions. Many elected officials, who signed an Elected Officials to Protect America letter that urged our nation’s leaders to enact a climate plan that would phase out fossil fuels, and also asks President Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency, have spoken out about the State of the Union. Specifically, they continue to urge passage of the climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act because many of them mirror the EOPA plan. Here’s what they said:

“We’re in a Code Red for our climate and humanity. As a grandmother and veteran, I see that the President’s vision for a clean energy economy will secure American manufacturing here for our national security while stabilizing inflation and protecting our planet for future generations. Congress must act now on the climate provisions the president outlined in his State of the Union,” said Debbie Sarinana. New Mexico State Representative Air Force Veteran, Elected Officials to Protect America National Leadership Council Chair.

“In my district thousands have asthma and chronic diseases because they live next to freeways and breathe in toxins daily. Too many have died prematurely from this fossil fuel pollution. A national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, incentives for people for electric vehicles and good union jobs are key elements that will finally bring a measure of environmental justice to communities that have suffered from systemic racism for far too long. We stand with President Biden to ensure Congress passes this legislation,” said Felix Ortiz, New York State former Assembly Assistant to the Speaker, Army Veteran, Elected Officials to Protect America Leadership Council.

“President Biden’s climate provisions of $550 billion for climate action and will put America on a path to dramatically cut fossil fuel emissions that drive the climate crisis while building a just and equitable economy with American manufacturing union jobs. It will stabilize inflation and lower energy costs while securing our energy future,” said Alex Cornell du Houx, former Maine state Representative, Marine combat veteran, President and Co-Founder of Elected Officials to Protect America. 

“Nevada is ground zero for the climate crisis. We need to reduce emissions as much as possible, as fast as possible, in a way that works equitably for all. The $550 billion climate action President Biden has proposed would create an estimated 4,600 skilled union jobs over the next first five years of implementation in my state. We must stand united in our resolve to combat the climate crisis—as we stand resolute with our President against Putin’s war,” said Howard Watts, Nevada Assemblyman, EOPA National Leadership Council.

“More than 200,000 people living in Arizona are critically vulnerable to extreme heat. While Phoenix set a goal to reach net-zero by 2050, and we have targets for electric transportation, it’s clear additional support from the climate provisions President Biden mentioned in his State of the Union will accelerate our transition from dirty fossil fuels that are the root cause of extreme heat,” said Yassamin Ansari, Phoenix City Councilwoman, Elected Officials to Protect America National Leadership Council. 

“Any nation that suffers from extreme natural disasters has its national security threatened. While lawmakers across the nation are making strides to protect their own constituents with clean energy solutions and resiliency plans, extreme weather has no borders. Critical action on the federal level to mitigate the climate crisis is imperative. That starts with Congress passing the climate provisions that President Biden referred to in his State of the Union—to build a better America,” said Paul L. Evans, Oregon State Representative Major, USAF Major (Ret.), Elected Officials to Protect America Leadership Council Co-Chair.