The Black Hive @ The Movement for Black Lives’ Statement on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
In response to the Senate passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), We, the Black Hive – the Movement for Black Lives climate and environmental justice intervention and collective of over 200 climate and environmental justice organizations and Black leaders – release the following statement:
“We are opposed to the Inflation Reduction Act, a deal that sacrifices Black lives for the pretense of clean energy progress. Unlike the original Build Back Better Act, the IRA was designed by coal baron Joe Manchin, and hastily pushed through the United States Senate. In our various capacities, we are disturbed by the vacuum of representative leadership championing this legislation. Even as the Inflation Reduction Act receives positive media spin coordinated by white-led environmental organizations, naming The Inflation Reduction Act as the first and biggest climate bill in the history of the United States of America—The Black Hive, M4BL, is clear that this bill is woefully inadequate to meet the severity of the climate crisis and the needs of the Black communities on the frontlines of its impacts.
Climate change is the greatest crisis of our generation. Unfortunately, this bill enables the current system of fossil fueled, racial capitalism by furthering the reliance on extraction, exploitation, of resources for an elite few at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable.
The Inflation Reduction Act in its current form offers up Black lives to the oil and gas industry for political gain on a global scale. This is true for communities from Appalachia, to the Gulf South, those on the frontlines of climate impacts, and across the Global Black Diaspora.
This deal supercharges funding for nuclear, dirty hydrogen, carbon sequestration and other false green technology solutions. It guts the National Environmental Policy Act, one of the best remaining tools to protect Black communities from toxic polluting infrastructure. And the IRA opens up new oil drilling & gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska for oil production and expansion to the largest oil producers in the world. Ultimately, the IRA puts the health and safety of millions of people at risk—particularly Black communities in domestic fossil fuel producing regions.
Black people are not a transactional constituency for the forgetful democracy. And we demand a politic that recognizes the impact of this legislation on our daily lives, safety, and futures. Unfortunately, the Inflation Reduction Act takes us further away from building an equitable future as it denies the demand to end fossil fuels before our planet reaches the tipping point.
We see the Inflation Reduction Act for what it is and demand transformative climate legislation that will actually prioritize conditions for a livable planet beyond emissions calculations and economic models.
The Black Hive @ M4BL demands that environmental and climate change organizations move beyond a posture of damage control. Organizations claiming to represent marginalized people or as allies to Black lives must show up and fight with us against false solutions. Allies need to fight alongside Black climate and environmental justice leadership and join the fight against every permit for coal, oil and gas now emboldened by compromise, and fight for every dollar of toxic waste site remediation (Superfund) and environmental justice funding to ensure it goes to Black communities and support Black climate leadership. We will not stand in coalition with white led climate organizations without a commitment to building alternatives to fossil fuel, extractive and polluting industries that continue to destroy our communities, harm our lives and our planet.
The Black Hive @ M4BL holds the Biden Administration accountable to their own environmental justice commitments. The Justice40 program calls for 40% of federal climate dollars to go towards disadvantaged communities—yet at best, the $60 billion in environmental justice investments makes up less than 16% of the IRA’s total $369 billion in climate spending.
The Biden Harris Administration must apply the Justice40 framework towards every non-harmful climate investment in the IRA.
The Biden Harris Administration must also commit to shore up protections for the National Environmental Protection Act rather than weakening it.
Additionally, on behalf of those already impacted we demand emergency funding and relocation dollars to match the support for industry in the Inflation Reduction Action.
We demand that Black communities be among the first in line for training, research, healing, education and development money set aside for climate change and environmental justice projects in Black communities.
And as we head into COP 27, we also further demand advancement, protection and democratic community control over how resources are distributed. This must happen while honoring and respecting the rights of our Indigenous families around the world, as the U.S. Administration takes this “win” to the global stage.”
The Black Hive @ M4BL asks for a commitment from white-led climate and environmental justice organizations to defend Black lives and support proper infrastructure, policy and legislation that guarantees conditions for healthy Black futures.
We invite all Black Climate and Environmental Justice organizations to join The Black Hive. We also invite any Black climate and EJ leader who works in a white led organization to join us, as we co create solutions for Black lives. There is a home for you here.
We invite everyone to join the Black Hive @ M4BL on August 25, 2022 at 6pm – 8pm ET at M4BL.org to learn about our priorities, plans and explore our Black Climate Mandate 2.0. Visit m4bl.org for more information on The Black Hive and other M4BL campaigns.
In Power & Hope
The Black Hive @ M4BL
The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.