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Morelle says climate should be priority for Congress

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

Congressman Joe Morelle, (D-25), is pushing for legislation that he said could dramatically shift the country toward renewable energy. 

Morelle joined climate activists at Braddock Bay Marina on Thursday to announce his support of the Build Back Better legislation introduced in Congress late last month.

“There is a tendency sometimes, I think, to look at the climate crisis and say ‘that’s the polar ice caps melting, it’s a long way from where we are,’ or ‘this will happen in 10-15 years, why worry about it now?’ but it’s happening right now,” Morelle said.

If passed the bill would, in part, channel hundreds of billions of federal funds to create jobs in renewable energy and environmental preservation.

It would also fund programs for wildfire prevention and electric vehicle manufacturing. However, the bill is more broad-reaching than these provisions on environmental matters and includes funding for healthcare, public health, education, childcare, and even cybersecurity.

“This is going to be a challenge, there are certainly members of the house and senate who are not entirely sold on this approach,” Morelle said.

For climate activist Sara Mittiga, it would be remiss if the bill didn’t include a “carbon price” included -- a tax on fossil fuel companies that would be funneled into public dividends and aims to lower carbon emissions.

“The past few months have painted us a horrible picture from wildfires in the west to people drowning in their own homes in New York state,” Mittiga said. “We need to rapidly reduce carbon emissions to prevent even worse impacts.” 

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.