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Climate activists feeling optimistic about passing climate bill after years of heartache

The Inflation Reduction Act is expected to be voted on in the Senate soon
climate
Posted at 5:13 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 17:13:28-04

WASHINGTON — If you spoke with an environmentalist or a self-proclaimed climate activist recently, you likely found frustration.

"People are dying because of the heat," Mike Minnix, an environmental entrepreneur and founder of Good Land Co. in Columbus, Ohio told us recently.

"The issue I have with Congress right now is they just don't care enough," Minnix said.

"I want to leave the world better for my son," Minnix added.

The frustration felt by Minnix is being felt by many climate activists across the country. Despite President Joe Biden and Democrats controlling the House and Senate for the last year and a half, no major climate change legislation has passed.

That disappointment was displayed at last week's congressional baseball game where climate activists attempted to stop the game to send a message.

Climate activists at the 2022 congressional baseball game.

OPTIMISM EMERGES

However, after years of frustration, some optimism in the climate community is emerging.

"I feel more hopeful than I have in a really long time," Flora Cardoni is the field director at PennEnvironment, an advocacy group.

She says the Inflation Reduction Act, which is expected to be voted on soon, will deliver badly-needed policy.

"This the biggest significant climate bill we have ever seen at the national level," Cardoni said.

One of the biggest policy changes involves $370 billion worth of tax credits to encourage projects like wind and solar in the United States. That's meant to encourage businesses to change their ways.

"Businesses should be able to put solar on their roofs much more easily," Cardoni said.

The legislation also provides a $7,500 rebate to Americans who buy a new electric vehicle and a $4,500 rebate would be available if you buy a used, electric car.

"This kind of incentive can really help folks make that choice," Cardoni said.

Of course, there are things in the bill that environmentalists aren't exactly thrilled with. The legislation guarantees the U.S. must lease millions of acres of public land and offshore waters for oil and gas development before any can be used for renewable energy. A victory for oil and gas.

The legislation is not expected to receive Republican support because separate provisions raise taxes. Conservatives are worried higher taxes during these turbulent economic times could further strain the economy.

Back at Good Land, Minnix is just happy something appears to be happening.

"Things sometimes take a long time," Minnix said.

The Inflation Reduction Act must still clear the House and Senate before it could head to President Biden's desk.