The Inflation Reduction Act In Your Neighborhood
It’s a beautiful (and healthier) day in this neighborhood!
With $369 billion to tackle the climate crisis, the Inflation Reduction Act will help communities across the United States to have healthier and more resilient neighborhoods.
The Inflation Reduction Act will benefit rural communities across the U.S. that have faced damages and devastating losses due to extreme weather events fueled by climate change. The legislation provides more than $20 billion to develop climate-smart agriculture practices. These climate-smart agriculture practices could include improving soil health, increasing crop yields, reducing fertilizer costs, increasing resilience to extreme weather, or diversifying income streams for farmers and ranchers.
Rural communities have also struggled with wildfires which have increased in severity and frequency due to human-caused climate change. The Inflation Reduction Act provides $5 billion in grants to protect communities from wildfires. Some of these grants invest in forest health projects on both public and private lands and equip firefighters and rural communities to be more resilient to wildfires.
The Inflation Reduction Act also includes $14 billion to lower costs for families and support good-paying clean energy jobs in rural communities. The legislation supports rural electric cooperatives transition to cleaner energy, which will reduce harmful emissions and energy costs. It will also help rural communities, farmers, and small business owners invest in renewable energy and be more energy efficient.
The Inflation Reduction Act invests in climate resilience programs for tribal communities, who historically have been forced into rural regions with extreme environments. Funding will go to drought mitigation programs, fish hatcheries, home electrification, and loans for energy development.
Residents in suburban communities will be able to breathe healthier and cleaner air since the Inflation Reduction Act provides funding to reduce emissions from vehicles that contribute to harmful air pollution. It allocates $3 billion for the U.S. Postal Service to electrify its delivery fleet and install charging infrastructure. It also provides funding for clean heavy-duty vehicles such as school buses, transit buses, and garbage trucks.
The Inflation Reduction Act also extends the $7,500 rebate for purchasing a new EV through 2032 and establishes a $4,000 rebate for purchasing a used EV. This will be even more beneficial to residents who need to commute to work by saving them more money with lower maintenance and refueling costs than gasoline cars.
Residents in suburban communities will also be able to save money by taking advantage of the $9 billion in consumer home energy rebate programs, which focus on low-income consumers, to electrify home appliances and for energy-efficient retrofits. Energy-efficient appliances use less energy, cut energy bills, and pollute less.
More than 60,000 communities in the U.S. are at risk for wildland-urban interface fires, which is the zone where human development meets undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels. The Inflation Reduction Act provides $5 billion in grants to support healthy, fire-resilient forests, and forest conservation. Of this funding, $1.8 billion will specifically go to removing fire-prone trees from “wildland-urban interfaces.”
Many cities struggle with the urban heat island effect, which occurs when tall buildings, roads and pavement, and black rooftops on homes trap heat, while a lack of trees and vegetation prevents the area from cooling. Warmer temperatures from heat islands in cities result in higher energy costs, increased air pollution, and more heat-related illnesses. Urban heat islands are most prevalent in lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Residents are also less likely to have air conditioning or easy access to public cooling centers. The Inflation Reduction Act establishes Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants for programs to reduce pollution and climate risks, such as extreme heat, in low-income communities and communities of color. The Inflation Reduction Act also funds state and private forestry conservation programs, including urban and community forestry and the Forest Legacy Program, which will help urban communities with heat islands.
The Inflation Reduction Act also puts the U.S. on a path to cutting harmful emissions by 40% by 2030. Cities typically have higher levels of toxic air pollution. Air pollution contributes to more than 7 million deaths every year, and 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. People of color are more exposed to nearly every type of air pollution than the average American. Along with the Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants for programs to reduce pollution, the legislation also boosts funding for programs to reduce air pollution, improve air quality monitoring and data collection, and to shore up enforcement technology.
With many people moving to urban areas looking for work, the Inflation Reduction Act will create millions of good-paying clean energy jobs. The legislation builds a new clean energy manufacturing economy by investing in refurbishing old factories, building new factories, requiring high wages, and mandating apprenticeship training for companies using clean energy tax credits.