FACT SHEET: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Advances Environmental Justice
For far too long, too many communities across America have faced environmental injustices – from bearing the brunt of toxic pollution, underinvestment in infrastructure and critical services, and disproportionate exposure to the impacts of climate change. Since day one, President Biden has committed to using every lever at his disposal to address these inequities, advance environmental justice, and spur economic opportunity. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law helps deliver on these commitments by helping to secure a healthy, prosperous, equitable future for all.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will strengthen our nation's resilience to extreme weather and climate change, clean up toxic pollution, expand access to clean drinking water, remediate legacy pollution, deliver electric school buses to support clean air, and more. When coupled with the Build Back Better Framework, these historic investments will help reduce our emissions by well over one gigaton this decade – positioning the U.S. to meet President Biden's commitment to reduce our emissions by 50-52% from 2005 levels in 2030, create a 100% carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, and achieve a net-zero economy by 2050. Together, these once-in-a-generation investments represent the largest investment in environmental justice in American history and will unlock the full potential of a clean energy economy that combats climate change, advances environmental justice, and creates good-paying, union jobs.
These long overdue investments will take much-needed steps to improve public health, reduce pollution, and deliver economic revitalization to communities that have been overburdened, underserved, and left behind.
BIPARTISIAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW
Clean Drinking Water
There are still 6 to 10 million lead services lines in cities and towns across the country, many of which are in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will expand access to clean drinking water to all American families, eliminate the nation's lead service lines, and help to clean up dangerous PFAS chemicals (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).
Currently, millions of American households lack access to safe drinking water. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will invest $55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water for households and businesses all across the country. From rural towns to struggling cities, the law will invest in water infrastructure and eliminate lead service pipes, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most.
More than one in four Black and Hispanic Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site– a higher percentage than for Americans overall. No community deserves to have contamination near where they live, work, play, pray, and go to school. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history by cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaiming abandoned mine land, and capping orphaned oil and gas wells.
In thousands of rural and urban communities around the country, former industrial and energy sites are now idle – sources of blight and pollution. Proximity to a Superfund site can lead to elevated levels of lead in children's blood. Millions of Americans also live within a mile of the tens of thousands of abandoned mines and oil and gas wells – a large, continuing course of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is a major cause of climate change.
The law will invest $21 billion to clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land, and cap orphaned oil and gas wells. These projects will remediate environmental harms, address the legacy pollution that harms the public health of communities, create good-paying, union jobs, and advance long overdue environmental justice.
Communities of color are twice as likely to take public transportation, and many of these communities lack sufficient public transit options. In addition, transit workers are disproportionally workers of color. Bus and transit workers are 31% Black and 19% Hispanic, compared to 12% and 18% respectively of the workforce overall. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expands access to public transit and makes the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak – helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions by repairing, upgrading, and modernizing the nation's transit infrastructure.
The law will invest $66 billion to provide healthy, sustainable transportation options for millions of Americans by modernizing and expanding transit and rail networks across the country. It will replace thousands of transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero emission vehicles. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also includes investments for a new program that will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic transportation investments and ensure new projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access.
Clean School Buses
More than 25 million children and thousands of bus drivers breathe polluted air on their rides to and from school. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other health problems that cause students to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will deliver thousands of electric school buses nationwide, including in rural communities, to help school districts across the country buy clean, American-made, zero emission buses and replace the outdated, yellow school bus fleet for America's children. The law invests in zero- emission and clean school buses, in addition to more than $5 billion in funding for public transit agencies to adopt low- and no-emissions buses. The investments will not only help create cleaner air for students and schools across the country, but they will drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles while creating jobs and supporting domestic manufacturing.
Modern and Clean Infrastructure
Communities on the fenceline of industry and transportation corridors have been exposed to toxic air pollution for too long, which can cause respiratory and cardiovascular harm – especially for children. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help protect public health with modernized and clean infrastructure, investing $17 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion in airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies. Modern, resilient, and sustainable port, airport, and freight infrastructure will reduce unhealthy environmental impacts on neighboring communities while also supporting U.S. competitiveness by removing bottlenecks and expediting commerce. Deploying a nationwide network of EV chargers with a focus on the communities that need them most will make clean electric vehicles affordable and convenient options and improve local air quality.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural infrastructure in American history. Millions of Americans feel the effects of climate change each year when their roads wash out, airport power goes down, or schools get flooded. People of color are more likely to live in areas most vulnerable to flooding and other climate change-related weather events. The law makes our communities safer and our infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change and cyber-attacks, with an investment of over $50 billion to protect against droughts, heat waves, wildfires, and floods – in addition to a major investment in the weatherization of American homes.
Joseph R. Biden, FACT SHEET: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Advances Environmental Justice Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/353419