Executive Director, CoPIRG
Executive Director, CoPIRG
Call for passage of solar, energy efficiency and electrification credits and policies
DENVER – Whether it’s a solar panel on a roof, a cleaner, more energy efficient home or vehicle, or a healthy local food system, Colorado doctors, moms, workers and entrepreneurs highlighted why Congress needs to pass additional policies to tackle climate change and reduce air pollution.
“In the face of record-breaking air pollution and global warming-fueled extreme weather, there are important policies that we still need Congress to pass to zero out carbon emissions and end our reliance on fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Danny Katz, Executive Director of CoPIRG. “We have solutions like solar panels and electric-powered buildings and cars. Additional congressional action can help ensure those solutions are more of a reality, making a real difference in our individual lives and the health of our community.”
“This last summer’s air pollution was alarming for my whole family,” said Kirsten Schatz, mother of two in northwest Denver. “At a time when we’re considering a new addition to our home for our growing family, tax credits and investments in energy efficient and cleaner homes could help us reduce our energy use and reliance on fossil fuels. That’s good for our health and for the health of our whole community.”
“We need to support the right kind of farming – regenerative farming – so that future generations will be able to enjoy the environment and have access to a food system that supports our health, our communities and our economy,” said Roberto Meza, co-founder of East Denver Food Hub.
“From soaring ozone pollution to increased levels of harmful particulates released from wildfires, climate change is having a devastating impact on our children’s health,” said Dr. Nikita Habermehl, Pediatric Emergency MD and advocate with Healthy Air and Water Colorado. “We need the historic climate investments in the Build Back Better Act to combat climate change in order to ensure that Colorado kids are able to look forward to a safe and healthy future free from toxic pollution.”
“Last year we added solar panels to our home to reduce our use of natural gas and coal,” said Melissa Colonno, a Denver mom of three. “Adding solar was something we’d wanted to do for years, but solar panels are expensive. Tax credits made it feasible for us to switch to clean, renewable energy. But we need solar on more than just my house. Widespread and generous tax credits for solar would incentivize whole communities to electrify their homes. Switching to renewables from fossil fuels will help reduce air pollution for our communities and slow the worst impacts of climate change. It will protect our children’s future.”
“We see that the Build Back Better Act is going to create high-quality jobs for Colorado workers for years to come. Our members at the IBEW here on the Front Range have the skills to build the EV charging stations and upgrade our electric grid, and we’re ready to train the next generation of workers too,” said Jeremy Ross, Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 68 in the Denver metro area and the northern Front Range. “Critically, this law would help our local skilled union workforce get a first crack at these jobs and that they’re paid a family-sustaining wage. We see this as a win-win for climate and workers.”
The event was organized by CoPIRG, Healthy Air and Water Colorado, Colorado Fiscal Institute, BlueGreen Alliance, and Mountain Mamas.
Many climate and clean air investments are included in the Build Back Better plan. One important piece is a ten-year extension and expansion of clean energy tax incentives worth about $320 billion. Details include:
- Solar – The incentives would decrease the cost of installing rooftop solar by up to 30 percent
- Electric Vehicles – The incentives takes up to $12,500 off the cost of an electric vehicle if it is made in America with American materials and union labor; $7,500 if not
- The tax credits would be “direct pay” so that even if you don’t have high enough tax liability, you can get the credit
- Explicitly expands eligibility to energy storage
According to Rhodium, the clean energy tax credits will help cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 45-51 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Additional climate and clean air policies in the Build Back Better plan include:
- Nearly $6 billion in rebates for home energy efficiency and electrification projects
- A new methane emissions reduction program that provides incentives for oil and gas operations to reduce methane leaks. The program is funded by a fee on methane waste (formerly called the “methane fee”).
- $800 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure
- $5 billion to electrify medium and heavy-duty vehicles, such as garbage trucks or school buses
- $29 billion for a greenhouse gas reduction fund, and another $5 billion for EPA grants including $2 billion in state, local, and nonprofit efforts to install zero-emission vehicle charging or fueling infrastructure.
- $95M to reduce food/organic waste and $95M to reduce other kinds of waste
An additional factsheet on the climate and clean air investments in the Build Back Better plan from Health Air and Water Colorado Action can be found here.