HomeEnvironmentBiden’s EPA Makes $20 Billion Climate Push

Biden’s EPA Makes $20 Billion Climate Push

Biden’s EPA Makes $20 Billion Climate Push

Biden’s EPA Makes $20 Billion Climate Push

India-West News Desk

WASHINGTON, DC – The Environmental Protection Agency on April 4 awarded $20 billion to help finance clean-energy projects across the country, marking one of the Biden administration’s biggest investments in combating climate change and curbing pollution in disadvantaged communities.

Indian American congresswoman Pramila Jayapal tweeted her support saying, “This will mean reduced air pollution, lower energy costs, and clean tech for communities across America.”

The money comes from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund established by President Biden’s signature climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act. The fund seeks to leverage public and private dollars to invest in clean-energy technologies such as solar panels, heat pumps and more, the Washington Post reported.

The program is potentially one of the most consequential — yet least understood — parts of climate law, the media outlet said. Because of the size of the spending, it is sure to be closely watched by opponents and supporters of the nation’s energy transition.

Simply put, the program allows people to access low-interest loans for clean-energy projects that they might not otherwise have received. Imagine a community group that wants to install electric vehicle charging stations at its neighborhood recreation center but can’t get a loan from a bank or a lender, the Washington Post explained. As is often the case, potential lenders say they’re hesitant to support a novel green technology or a business without a track record of success.

Low-income and minority communities have long encountered such obstacles in trying to attract private capital. The program aims to overcome this problem by providing a huge influx of federal cash — $27 billion in total — for nonprofit organizations to dole out to clean-energy projects nationwide. Each nonprofit will serve as a “green bank” that offers more favorable lending rates than commercial banks.

The EPA is awarding money to eight nonprofits, which have committed to leverage nearly $7 in private capital for every $1 of federal investment. The nonprofits have also pledged to ensure that at least 70 percent of the funds will benefit disadvantaged communities and that the financed projects will reduce up to 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year — equivalent to the annual emissions of nearly 9 million gasoline-powered cars.

Power Forward Communities, a coalition of five nonprofit groups, will receive $2 billion to help homeowners and apartment building owners adopt energy-efficient appliances. Coalition member Rewiring America has already helped communities across the country swap out fossil-fuel-powered appliances for more efficient, electricity-powered versions.

Another nonprofit, the Coalition for Green Capital, will use a $5 billion award to establish a “national green bank.”

More than a dozen states have already established green banks without waiting for the EPA, as have several clean-energy entrepreneurs, the Washington Post said.

Under the Justice40 initiative, the Biden administration is seeking to direct at least 40 percent of the benefits of federal climate spending to disadvantaged communities that have historically borne the brunt of pollution.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have slammed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, saying it lacks oversight and seems ripe for abuse. Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama has introduced legislation to repeal the program, which he has called a “slush fund” meant to benefit liberal groups that support Biden. The House last month passed Palmer’s bill, which Biden has vowed to veto should it reach his desk.

Pramila Jayapal’s response read, “Despite Republican chaos, Democrats continue to deliver.”

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