On November 22nd, 2021, Environment Oregon's state director Celeste Meiffren-Swango joined Congressman Peter DeFazio and other advocates to celebrate the passage of the Build Back Better Act, which includes historic climate investments, through the US House of Representatives. A recording of the full event can be found here.
Below are Celeste's remarks:
Thank you Congressman DeFazio for inviting me to speak today and for your leadership in passing the Build Back Better Act. My name is Celeste Meiffren-Swango and I am the state director with Environment Oregon, a statewide environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, open space and a liveable climate.
Following an intense 18 months of record breaking drought, record-breaking wildfires and record breaking heat here in Oregon, we were thrilled to see the US House of Representatives pass the Build Back Better Act, which includes historic investments to combat climate change.
The reality is that we know what we need to do to solve climate change, but too often political gridlock and outdated ways of thinking get in our way, especially when it comes to taking national action. That's why the progress made last week with the passage of the Build Back Better Act– the largest-ever federal investment in climate solutions– is particularly worth celebrating. Finding agreement on such a monumental bill hasn't always been easy, but through every twist and turn of the legislative process, Oregonians and Americans across the country have been solid in their support for clean energy and clean transportation as key ways to address climate change.
Investments to tackle the climate crisis included in Build Back Better Act are:
- A 10-year extension and expansion of clean energy tax incentives, which would decrease the cost of installing rooftop solar by up to 30% and take up to $12,500 off the cost of an electric vehicle.
- Rebates for home energy efficiency and electrification projects.
- A new program to reduce methane emissions, which are more than 80 times more potent in warming the planet than carbon dioxide over the first 20 years.
- Funding to electrify U.S. Postal Service vehicles and medium and heavy-duty vehicles, such as garbage trucks or school buses,
- Funding for Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure as well tax credits for electric bikes and electric two and three wheeled vehicles.
These are just a few of many, many things to be excited about in this bill. This bill also includes groundbreaking levels of investment to clean the air we breathe, clean up toxic sites and protect our lands, waters and wildlife.
Congressman DeFazio has been a steadfast climate leader in Congress, and on behalf of our tens of thousands of members, the student leaders we work with, fellow environmental advocates and just me personally as a mom of two little girls, thank you for all that you've done to ensure the passage of this bill.
Now, all eyes are on the Senate. We urge swift passage of this bill in the Senate, so we can get it to the President's desk and continue building the cleaner, greener future we've all been working for. Thank you.