On August 16th President Biden signed  into law one of the most significant federal climate  bills in decades, “The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022”  which will invest $369 billion in climate action and coastal resilience. This is the largest climate investment in US history.  We are thrilled it provides 2.6 billion dollars for to advance coastal resiliency, allowing coastal states to restore and conserve coastal habitats with initiatives like living shorelines and blue carbon ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass meadows, and salt marshes that are a first line of defense against storm surge and sea level rise and incredibly efficient carbon sinks. Other provisions in the bill will help cut our nation’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and reduce our dependence on natural gas and petroleum products.

The legislation contains two important climate measures: significant investments for climate justice and coastal resiliency. Climate fueled extreme weather disasters have cost the US $750 billion over the past 5 years. The path of these extreme weather events does not affect everyone equally. As we have seen, disadvantaged and BIPOC communities often bear the brunt of the climate crisis. Surfrider is appreciative this bill is stated to assist disadvantaged communities and include measures to ensure tribal nations will receive funds to protect their sacred lands from climate impacts.

While the bill also includes some unfortunate tradeoffs (The bill includes new oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, and specifically ties offshore wind energy development to offshore drilling), and some environmental proposals Surfrider supported did not make it into the final bill, we believe the law represents a reasonable political solution and is an historic first step the federal and state governments can build on in the future.

Finally, the Jersey Shore Chapter of Surfrider Foundation wants to congratulate our own New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ – 6th Dist). As the Chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, Pallone helped steer the bill through committee hearings and drafts and negotiated with Senate counterparts to achieve the version that the Congress could pass, and President Biden would sign.  We look forward to working with Chairman Pallone in the future on expanding the scope of federal climate change programs at this crucial time of sea level rise and increasing storm severity and frequency, and to steer the federal government away from the financially wasteful and outdated federal strategy of beach replenishment.