Early in 2022, Democratic leadership and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia struck a dirty energy side deal to ensure passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The deal served as a quid pro quo to secure Machin’s vote for the IRA, and in return he would gain support for his dirty “permitting reform” legislation, which was little more than a handout to the fossil fuel industry and would have thrown frontline communities under the bus, again.
Three times in a row, spanning from mid-summer until December 2022, the tireless organizing of frontline communities; strategic campaigns waged by the environmental justice movement and allies; and round the clock work with reasonable legislators, ensured that we beat back Manchin’s dirty deal. If passed, this legislation would have stripped away communities rights and the foundational protections afforded all communities under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and other bedrock protections like the Clean Water Act that ensure a pathway for community input and recourse against toxic and polluting industries.
“Those who we have elected to office must understand how hard we had to fight for this victory, we are literally fighting for our lives. I look forward now to spending time building and creating real community solutions to the climate crisis that are grounded in environmental justice rather than fighting against bad policies, which we will continue to do. We must always continue ensuring Manchin’s fossil fuel handout is dead for good.”
– Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Deputy Director of Advocacy and Organizing at Ironbound Community Corporation and CJA board member.