Statement: Clean energy tax and pollution clean up priorities receive support from key House committee

Media Contacts
Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

House Ways and Means Committee advances historic clean energy investments while making polluters pay to clean up toxic sites


WASHINGTON — The House Ways and Means Committee advanced legislation Wednesday that could become the largest-ever federal investment in clean energy. Tax incentives for such clean technologies as wind and solar, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles would be updated and extended through the end of the decade under the Build Back Better Act, which next goes to the full U.S. House of Representatives and then the Senate for a vote. People who buy electric vehicles could get a fully refundable tax credit of up to $12,500 under the legislation, and buyers of used electric vehicles also stand to benefit from a new credit of up to $2,500.

Solar power has grown 52% annually since the Investment Tax Credit for solar was enacted, and wind energy has tripled since a large investment was made in the Production Tax Credit in 2009. Environment America Research & Policy Center, the research arm of Environment America, found that the United States has nearly limitless renewable energy potential—enough to power the country many times over. The 2021 report recommended using tax incentives to accelerate the growth of renewable energy.

The bill also reinstates a petroleum tax to fund the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund toxic waste cleanup program. This tax lapsed in 1995. Reps. Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon have led the effort to reinstate this tax in the House for years.

In addition, the legislation repeals a tax loophole for international fossil fuel extraction. This change could raise an estimated more than $80 billion in revenue. However, the bill leaves in place all existing domestic subsidies for the oil and gas industries. The Senate Finance Committee advanced its own package of clean energy tax incentives earlier this year, which ended many oil and gas subsidies.

Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG environment campaigns director issued the following statement:

“Every day since 1995, taxpayers have covered the cost of cleanup of toxic Superfund sites across the country. If this bill passes, it would restore some of the much needed funding to get these sites cleaned up quickly, and would also shift the burden for the cost of cleanup off everyday taxpayers and onto the industries that caused the pollution. We thank Representatives Pallone and Blumenauer for their leadership on this and Chairman Neal for including this common sense reform in the bill.

“This, paired with the clean energy tax credits and the repeal of tax loopholes for international oil extraction, will go a long way toward building a cleaner, healthier future. But the full House should go a step further, and eliminate the domestic subsidies still in place for the oil and gas industries. These subsidies just throw fuel on a fire that’s already burning down our house. It’s time that we stop wasting our tax dollars on energy that pollutes our air and water, and threatens our future. Instead, we must free up those dollars to spend on the clean energy investments that we need.” 

Johanna Neumann, Environment America’s 100% Renewable campaign director issued the following statement:

“Americans want our hard-earned tax dollars to support solar, not oil drilling. Clean energy has come a long way in the last decade and investments like this will keep it growing through 2030 and beyond. A future powered by renewable energy is within reach, and tax incentives are a proven mechanism that will help get us there. By advancing a 10-year extension for a suite of clean energy tax incentives, Congress is laying a strong foundation for a renewable energy future. 

“We applaud Chairman Richard Neal and the Ways and Means Committee for putting forward the bold investments on clean energy that we need, and look forward to working together as this important legislation moves toward a House vote and then on to the Senate.”