Biden Should Implement Historic Clean Energy Law as Written, Despite EU Trade Threats
For Immediate Release: January 18, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Joe Biden should implement the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as intended without delays or technical changes that could undermine its historic clean energy investments, Public Citizen, United Steelworkers, United Auto Workers, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and Sierra Club said in a letter to the White House sent this morning.
The groups pushed back on threats by the European Union and other nations to launch a case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenging IRA incentives designed to create and support good clean energy jobs in the U.S.
“Out-dated trade rules should not be used to undermine our laws intended to support a growing clean energy economy,” the groups wrote. “The IRA has the potential to be a gamechanger for the industrial towns hit hardest by decades of offshoring. By refusing to let outdated corporate-friendly trade rules stand in the way of swift and certain implementation of the IRA, the administration has a historic opportunity to usher in a new wave of manufacturing jobs and rebuild trust with American workers.”
If the Biden administration bows to the EU’s mounting pressure and delays or waters down the legislation, it could erode the legislation’s promises to both U.S. workers and climate goals, the groups said.
“Investing in clean energy jobs is a key way that the U.S. and other countries can create the political support needed to transition to a carbon-free economy,” said Melinda St. Louis, Global Trade Watch director for Public Citizen. “It’s time to end this circular firing squad where countries threaten and, if successful, weaken or repeal one another’s climate measures through trade and investment agreements. The U.S. should stand firm behind the IRA’s climate and jobs promises.”
“The Inflation Reduction Act’s investment incentives will expand domestic manufacturing, improve our supply chains, and help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change,” said Roy Houseman, legislative director for United Steelworkers of America. “These provisions should be defended against unnecessary trade attacks by foreign governments threatening trade challenges using outdated trade rules that could prevent environmental protection.”
“The Sierra Club and movement partners fought long and hard for the Inflation Reduction Act, which invests billions of dollars in reducing pollution, supporting healthier communities, and tackling the climate crisis. Unfortunately, the efficacy of the single largest U.S. investment ever in climate action could be threatened by outdated trade rules written long before governments were taking climate change seriously,” said Hebah Kassem, Director of the Living Economy program at Sierra Cub. “The U.S. should not back down from its climate goals due to challenges from other countries. At the same time, all countries should focus their energy on addressing the urgent reality of climate change.”