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“Build Back Better” not necessarily better for communities of color

As we kick off the new year, the status President Biden’s “Build Back Better” (BBB) legislation is uncertain. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin indicated his opposition in December although senators continue to deliberate about the path forward. What is certain, however, is that several of the provisions in the bill would adversely impact America’s communities of color. These proposed policies coupled with a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the country would only further burden hard-working American families desperately trying to recover from a pandemic that just won’t seem to go away.

Last Fall, the Community Energy Center (CEC) detailed the harmful effects a methane fee, which is included in BBB, would have on job creation. A methane emissions fee would result in a reduction of between 111,000 and 155,000 jobs across the American economy. Most of these job losses would come from the service industries and would disproportionately affect low-income earners.

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board recently published it’s reasoning for opposing such a tax in its editorial “The stealth gas-heating tax.” Included in its reasoning, the WSJ said:

“The American Gas Association estimates the methane tax could add another 17% to an average customer’s bill. This is also a regressive tax that hurts low-income families without a financial cushion. The Department of Energy notes the average energy burden for low-income families is three times higher than for more affluent households. A 2015 EIA survey found that some 25 million households reported scrimping on food and medicine to pay for higher energy costs.”

The CEC implores Congress to keep its finger on the pause button on the reconciliation package and reconsider moving these irresponsible policies forward…for the sake of all Americans.

Read more about the proposed methane fee here.