June 17, 2021

Save Our Future Act Wins Support of Climate Activists, Union Workers, Environmental Justice Advocates, and Business Leaders

New Whitehouse-Schatz bill would charge big polluters for emissions, redirect trillions to American families and communities harmed by pollution; Large-scale solution would reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent after 10 years, improve air quality in environmental justice communities, assist fossil fuel workers and communities, and speed transition to green economy

Washington, D.C. – A broad coalition of climate activists, union workers, environmental justice advocates, and business leaders have thrown their support behind the Save Our Future Act, new legislation introduced yesterday by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI). The Save Our Future Act would drastically drive down the harmful emissions causing climate change and putting Americans’ health and the global economy at risk.

By assessing fees on large corporations responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, the Save Our Future Act would cut emissions by roughly 50 percent after ten years, which is in line with scientific targets. It would also improve air quality, particularly in front line communities, create new economic opportunities in fossil fuel communities and environmental justice communities, provide low- and middle-income households with biannual checks, and assist states and tribes in defraying the costs of climate change.

The Save Our Future Act is also sponsored by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

Supporters of the bill have issued the following statements over the past day:

“The Save Our Future Act includes many important ideas critical for the transition to a clean energy economy, such as a price on emissions, addressing impacts to communities disproportionally bearing the health and economic effects of pollution, and supporting workers reliant on fossil fuels for their livelihood. To reach the critical climate goal of net zero emissions by 2050, we need to advance bold policies that match the scale of the challenges they seek to address,” said Jason Albritton, Director of Climate and Energy Policy at The Nature Conservancy.

“Clean Air Task Force welcomes the introduction of the Save Our Future Act, which recognizes putting a price on carbon as an important policy for combatting the climate crisis and achieving deep decarbonization of the US economy. The bill includes coverage for Super-Pollutants such as methane and hydrofluorocarbons and addresses impacts in communities burdened with a disproportionate share of air pollution. The fees in the bill would provide economic incentives to deploy rapidly innovative climate and clean energy solutions in all sectors of the economy,” said Conrad Schneider, Advocacy Director of the Clean Air Task Force.

“Sens. Whitehouse and Schatz have been steadfast in their support for aggressive climate action, and Citizens’ Climate Lobby applauds their introduction of this legislation. The Save Our Future Act would place an ambitious price on carbon to reduce America’s emissions, but it doesn’t stop there. This legislation would also address long-standing environmental justice concerns by directly pricing emissions of fossil fuel co-pollutants in frontline communities, and it would invest in coal communities to support them through the transition to a clean energy economy. Plus, it would protect American households by providing regular rebates and funding for further emissions reductions through weatherization, EV credits, and more. This creative, inclusive policy shows that carbon pricing can be a win for the climate and a win for Americans who need one the most,” said Mark Reynolds, Executive Director of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

“American Sustainable Business Council strongly supports the Save the Future Act and commends Senator Whitehouse and Senator Schatz for its introduction today. They have taken a vital and necessary step in continuing to combat climate change, strengthen communities and provide additional benefits to U.S. workers, all of primary importance in reinvigorating our economy and local business landscapes amidst recovery from COVID 19 and the continuing climate emergency,” said David Levine, President of the American Sustainable Business Council.

“The Save Our Future Act would help us cut harmful climate and other air pollution, provide critical support to families and communities, and create good quality jobs. We look forward to helping advance this bill in partnership with the sponsors and other allies, particularly environmental justice advocates and community leaders who are closest to the problems and best equipped to lead in designing the solutions. We thank Senators Whitehouse and Schatz for their steadfast climate leadership, especially at this critical moment,” said Elizabeth Gore, Environmental Defense Fund Senior Vice President for Political Affairs.

“Senators Whitehouse and Schatz are leading the difficult but important conversations about how America’s energy transition impacts almost 100,000 individuals working in coal and mining facilities today,” said Utility Workers Union of America President James Slevin. “The five years of full wage replacement, health insurance coverage, pension and educational benefits in his legislation together represent a baseline of support we must offer individuals and communities that have powered American innovation for generations. This legislation – along with our recently released cost analysis – will help lawmakers see all of what’s at stake today. We are committed to working together to rally additional support behind this important initiative.”

“Our current system actually rewards the fossil fuel industry for polluting the air, land, and water through perverse subsidies and profligate tax breaks. It’s past time for polluters to be held accountable for their transgressions against people and planet alike. Senators Schatz and Whitehouse have introduced a commonsense emissions pricing mechanism that, if ratified, will end the practice of polluting with impunity by the fossil fuel industry and associated harmful processes. Additionally, revenue generated by this bill will greatly assist with a rapid just transition from fossil fuels while also ensuring that a good portion is allocated to frontline, environmental justice communities who bear the brunt of the climate crisis and other myriad social inequities. While we don’t agree with every provision of the bill, we are thankful to the staffs of the Senators for their inclusive process while the bill was being drafted, and for implementing most of our feedback and recommendations,” the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest said in a joint statement.

“With great promise for the climate, vulnerable communities, and wildlife, Senators Whitehouse and Schatz have crafted the next generation of carbon pricing bills,” said Shannon Heyck-Williams, director of climate and energy policy at the National Wildlife Federation. “Not only would their proposal drive down a range of climate-altering emissions, but it would also help clean up areas burdened by pollution, as well as return significant revenues to environmental justice and energy transition communities while funding reclamation of degraded lands. These Senators recognize the complex challenges of meeting net-zero emissions goals by mid-century, and have stepped up with a comprehensive approach that supports people and workers in the transition to a clean economy.”

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921