Pandemic Relief Plus Conservation and Climate Support in New U.S. Spending Bill
Includes most significant climate and energy package in a decade, water infrastructure investments
The U.S. Congress passed a spending bill today to fund the federal government through September and provide $900 billion in COVID-19 relief. The bill also includes conservation, climate and energy provisions that will help stimulate the economy while benefiting nature.
The following is a statement by The Nature Conservancy’s Chief External Affairs Officer Lynn Scarlett on the bill:
“After so many challenges this year, it is heartening to start the new year knowing that some help is going where it is needed most to support people, communities and the economy. The conservation- and climate-focused provisions in the bill will help provide some of that support by getting the economy and nation back on track in a more sustainable way and using nature as a part of the solution.
This bill includes the most significant climate and energy package in more than a decade.
“This includes the most significant climate and energy package in more than a decade. It demonstrates that there are achievable, broadly supported steps we can take to address the climate emergency. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to put the brakes on greenhouse gas emissions and move rapidly to an economy powered by clean energy. While this is not the full solution we need, it’s a necessary start.
“Including the water resources bill in the final package acknowledges that we must also address the climate threats we already face and prepare communities for what’s to come. These smart, targeted strategies will leverage the power of nature to help meet the country’s water infrastructure needs and drive economic recovery.
“There is still more to do. We hope this lays the groundwork for the next Congress to pass broader, bipartisan legislation to stimulate the U.S. economy. Investments in nature and clean energy benefit our health, our well-being and the economy. They should be integral to the next stimulus bill.”
Background on climate change, energy and nature-focused provisions in the omnibus spending bill:
The package of energy provisions in the bill supports technology development to reduce or capture emissions, boost energy efficiency, and modernize the electrical grid. The bill includes the extension of clean energy tax credits, and calls for a phasedown of harmful hydrofluorocarbon emissions, or HFCs, over 15 years.
Lawmakers also included a Water Resources Development Act that would expand investment in natural infrastructure. It updates U.S. Army Corps of Engineers policies to direct investments toward more resilient, nature-based approaches to flood risk reduction and water quality improvements.
The bill helps address Tribal Nations’ water needs as well as water supply challenges and drought in the western states. Finally, it preserves Plum Island to conserve its nationally significant natural and historic resources.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.