Washington D.C. – In case you missed it, earlier today Senator Tina Smith (MN), Representative Andy Kim (NJ-03), Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota Paul Austin, Executive Director of New Jersey LCV Ed Potosnak, and LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld hosted a roundtable discussion on implementation of the historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) at the state level. The event took place during the Conservation Voter Movement fly-in when dozens of LCV state partners from around the country convened in D.C. for back-to-back days of pro-climate, pro-democracy advocacy meetings with members of Congress and the Biden-Harris administration.
Speakers highlighted the successes, challenges, and opportunities state and local leaders are encountering as they work to advance clean energy at the state level and make the most of transformational investments from the Inflation Reduction Act.
“Dozens of LCV state partners are in D.C. this week for our first advocacy fly-in since the Inflation Reduction Act became law,” said LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld. “We’re meeting with more than 120 congressional offices as well as departments and agencies across the Biden Harris administration to help ensure that the affordable clean energy plan is implemented swiftly, effectively, and equitably. Minnesota Conservation Voters and New Jersey LCV are great examples of state leagues that have also worked with their governors and legislatures to leverage incoming federal investments to advance even stronger state clean energy policies.”
“For Minnesota this is a big deal for consumers in terms of lowering energy costs, but it’s also a great way for us to be leading on building an economy that is fully taking advantage of the clean energy future,” said Senator Tina Smith (MN). “For example, Cummins, which is a long-time Minnesota manufacturer, is building a Minnesota factory to build electrolyzers which turn home-grown, Minnesota wind and solar into green hydrogen. And researchers at the University of Minnesota are showing how green hydrogen can be turned into ammonia and provide a low-cost, low-carbon, local solution for the fertilizer needs of Minnesota farmers. Both of these efforts are supported by the Inflation Reduction Act.”
“My oldest kid is going to be turning 20 in 2035, so these clean energy targets aren’t just dates or numbers. They are about what the next generation is going to inherit,” said Representative Andy Kim (NJ-03). “I’m also thinking about what we can deliver for New Jersey. When we think strategically about what’s going to help our state, we’re not just looking at the types of energy and transformation that’s going to allow us to mobilize clean energy and have cleaner communities, it’s also about giving New Jersey the opportunity to be an industry leader. Clean energy is doing a lot in my area for revitalizing manufacturing and industry in South Jersey, and that’s very exciting.”
“The federal support helps with affordability,” said Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota Paul Austin. “Even though wind and solar are some of the cheapest forms of energy to build in the state, there’s a lot of cost involved with doing a transition of this scale, from one system of energy to another. The Inflation Reduction Act and all of these pieces of legislation are providing vital funds to help make sure that can be done affordably, and makes it possible for legislators and utilities to see how they get from the current system to a system of 100% clean energy in a way that their customers can afford and in a way they can deliver reliable power.”
“In a lot of ways, New Jersey is leading the nation,” said Executive Director of New Jersey LCV Ed Potosnak. “Whether it’s through legislation pushing the goal of 100% clean energy by 2040 or an executive order from Governor Murphy, these efforts are buttressed by a nation leading environmental justice law that will ensure we follow the lead of groups in communities or color. In New Jersey, we have seen the largest growing sector in our economy in clean energy. We will be adding 50,000 – 100,000 jobs through energy efficiency and weatherization – like taking rattling doors and windows and sealing them up – because right now low income families are literally losing money out the window through leaks. We’re excited to be here to talk about the work we’ve done and the work we have ahead.”