US Infrastructure Bill proposes $73 billion for clean energy

US infrastructure deal, BIF
© Igor Kardasov

The $1 trillion Infrastructure Bill, formally known as BIF, is a momentous and era-defining kind of proposal – with $73 billion laid aside for investment into clean energy infrastructure and electric-vehicle charging stations

BIF, which is currently poised to pass Congress this week, would implement a mass improvement of key systems in the US – from Amtrak services to clean water systems, to the electric grid. The bill, which is 2,700 pages long, allocates substantial investment toward “building back better” and greener.

The legislation should pass on Tuesday

Bipartisan support has brought the bill through congress in a nearly unprecedented way, but there were delays to the process this weekend as some previously supportive Republicans attempted to slow the passage of BIF.

However, the legislation is expected to pass as early as Tuesday, after a four-month bipartisan push to sustain the deal.

Now, it will pass just after IPCC report on climate change has been published. After eight years of work, over 700 scientists have catalogued every point of proof on the rapid, all-encompassing nature of climate change – creating a devastating picture of the imminent future. The Infrastructure Bill, following the EU’s ‘Fit for 55’ Green Deal, is another piece of western legislation that proposes heavy investment into climate action.

What kind of environmental investment is in the bill?

The bill proposes $73 billion dollars towards reshaping how the power grid works, so that clean energy can be significantly increased. A further $7.5 billion will electrify public transport, while another $7.5 billion will be put towards the creation of electric-vehicle chargers across the country.

The bill would also put $21 billion towards cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, sorting out abandoned mines and gas wells. This kind of pollution can have significant health effects, especially for the communities who live in proximity.

Dr Elica M. Moss, Research Assistant Professor at Alabama A&M University, said: “Lead poisoning, specifically from lead-based paint remaining underneath freshly painted surfaces notably in urban areas, is still quite troublesome. Lead poisoning has the most severe effects on children who with long term exposure may have issues such as developmental delays and learning and behaviour problems.”

What about public health?

Dr Moss, who researches the hazards of pollution in African-American communities, further explains that these issues have been around for a long time and the solutions require serious policy-making. She is hopeful that her work will bring pragmatic solutions to the most-affected communities.

COVID-19 served to remind all Governments that climate change and public health are interlinked, with some of the most severe death and hospitalisation rates occurring in cities with high levels of air pollution.

Bianca Yaghoobi, a researcher in environmental injustice at the University of California, Davis, commented: “We cannot ignore social inequality and expect to see progress in environmental health.”


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