Highlights of new Infrastructure Bill just passed in the US

By Max Wilbert

– Section 11318: Exempts oil and gas pipelines on most federal lands from environmental analysis.

– Sections 40301-40333 (“Fuels and Technology Infrastructure Investments”): These sections propose nearly $15 billion in taxpayer subsidies for dirty energy, including oil, coal, gas, and woody biomass via investments in largely theoretical and unproven carbon capture and storage technologies, including an additional $3 billion to begin construction of a massive network of new CO2 pipelines (Sec. 41004), while also dishonestly defining “clean hydrogen” to include hydrogen derived from climate-polluting carbon-fuel sources such as biomass and fossil fuels (Sec. 40311). The approach outlined here is riddled with uncertainty and harmful impacts while perpetuating our reliance on fossil fuels, which is why it has been denounced as a false climate solution by the scientific community. An additional $6 billion in subsidies is proposed for nuclear energy ( Sec. 41002).

– Section 40801: Authorizes USFS to upgrade and “store” National Forest System roads for future commercial timber production, rather than decommission them.

– Section 40803 (“Wildfire Risk Reduction”): Mandates the logging of 10 million acres of federal forestlands over the next 6 years, and an additional 20 million acres of federal forestlands following the initial 10 million acres of logging. The way these provisions are worded could and likely would be interpreted by courts as intending a complete elimination of all federal environmental laws (including NEPA, ESA, NFMA, and others) to facilitate this logging mandate. Section 40803 also dedicates over $1.6 billion in new taxpayer subsidies for logging, including post-fire clearcutting, on federal lands.

– Section 40804 (“Ecosystem Restoration”) : Authorizes $400 million in subsidies for wood processing facilities, such as sawmills, biomass power plants and wood pellet manufacturing; $400 million for increased logging on public and private forests; $50 million for a program to rent equipment to the timber industry to allow them to log otherwise inaccessible areas, and grants to build sawmill infrastructure and other wood-processing facilities.

– Section 40806: Eliminates environmental analysis under NEPA for an unlimited number of logging projects on federal lands, up to 1,000 feet wide and 3,000 acres in size each, under the guise of “fuelbreaks”.

– Section 40807: Weakens current environmental laws to create a broad exemption which eliminates the public’s right to file administrative objections against planned logging projects on federal lands.

– Sections 70301-70303: Promotes post-fire clearcutting and carbon removal, under the scientifically discredited notion that forests do not regenerate after fires, and promotes conversion of native forests to industrial tree plantations.

– Section 80402: Proposes a system of sweeping tax credits (financial implications unspecified, but potentially in the billions of dollars) for dirty energy, including coal, oil, gas, garbage incineration, and woody biomass under the false-solution catch-all of carbon capture and storage.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684?r=3&s=1

4 thoughts on “Highlights of new Infrastructure Bill just passed in the US”

  1. Thanks for digging through the mire, sorting and sharing this, Max. I will share your report on my Facebook page and elsewhere. With this bill and the atrocious procedures at COP 26, will more people finally see that the established, prevailing political institutions exist only for the purpose of protecting the interests and property of the wealthy and powerful and the industrial technological economic system (I started to call it capitalism, but now that so-called communist China is one of the biggest offenders, it appears to have morphed into a monster even worse), while pacifying the gullible with pretty lies? Why did it take 26 COPs for some activists to just start to see that this time? Shouldn’t everybody have already got that by COP 12 or 16, at least?

  2. I’ve copied this to all my contacts AND so-called members of Congress (House and Senate, and all identified as “D-CA”), under a heading of “Why I’m not dim enough or dumb enough to be a Dumbocrat or a Repelican.”

  3. Well, I’m glad that I opposed this from the start. Even without all this horrible crap, an infrastructure bill means more environmental destruction by building or rebuilding more unnatural harmful industrial things like roads & bridges. And no one is even talking about all the privatization in this bill, which means theft of our public resources by the rich and their corporations.

  4. Thank you for this sad news. AFAICS, the actual text is here:

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684/text?r=3&s=1

    But of course the link you give is basically the “home page” oft the bill, and gives access to the text and other information.

    Of course, most of the relevant sections of the bill aren’t exactly spelled out all together in one lump of text. Can you by any chance share the text analysis of sub-paragraphs, etc. that puts the pieces together?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *