Category Archives: Climate Action

STATE FACT SHEETS:
How the Inflation Reduction Act Lowers Energy Costs, Creates Jobs, and Tackles Climate Change Across America

The White House released state fact sheets highlighting how the Inflation Reduction Act tackles the climate crisis in states across the country and how families and communities can benefit from a clean energy future, like providing tax credits covering 30% of the costs to install solar panels and battery storage systems, make home improvements that reduce energy leakage, or upgrade heating and cooling equipment © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Today, the White House released state fact sheets highlighting how the Inflation Reduction Act tackles the climate crisis in states across the country and how families and communities can benefit from a clean energy future. The fact sheet outlines how families can save on their utility bills, get tax credits for electric vehicles and energy-saving appliances, and access the economic opportunities of the clean energy future.
 
President Biden and Congressional Democrats beat back special interests to pass this historic legislation, delivering the most significant action in U.S. history to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen U.S. energy security. By signing the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden is delivering on his promise to lower energy costs, create good-paying jobs, and deliver a clean, secure, and healthy future for families across America.
 
Fact Sheets by State:

Biden Signs Historic Inflation Reduction Act:  ‘It’s about tomorrow. It’s about delivering progress and prosperity to American families’

Here is an edited, highlighted transcript of President Joe Biden’s remarks as he signed the Inflation Reduction Act, with historic investments in climate action, long-fought improvements in health care and prescription drug affordability, tax reform and deficit reduction, and in the immortal words of Biden as Obama’s VP, a “BFD.” –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Joe Biden signs the historic, transformative Inflation Reduction Act, saying “It’s about tomorrow. It’s about delivering progress and prosperity to American families.” The act makes historic investments in climate action, long-fought improvements in health care and prescription drug affordability, tax reform and deficit reduction, and in the immortal words of Biden as Obama’s VP, a “BFD.” (via C-Span)

I’m about to sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law, one of the most significant laws in our history.  Let me say from the start: With this law, the American people won and the special interests lost.  The American people won and the special interests lost. 

For a while, people doubted whether any of that was going to happen. But we are in a season of substance.  This administration began amid a dark time in America — as Jim said, “a once-in-a-century pandemic” — devastating joblessness, clear and present threats to democracy and the rule of law, doubts about America’s future itself.  

And yet, we’ve not wavered.  We’ve not flinched.  And we’ve not given in.  Instead, we’re delivering results for the American people.  We didn’t tear down; we built up.  We didn’t look back; we looked forward.

And today — today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real and just beginning.  (Applause.) 

Look, the bill I’m about to sign is not just about today, it’s about tomorrow.  It’s about delivering progress and prosperity to American families.

It’s about showing the American and the American people that democracy still works in America — notwithstanding all the — all the talk of its demise — not just for the privileged few, but for all of us.

You know, I swore an oath of office to you and to God to faithfully execute the duties of this sacred office.

To me, the critical duty — the critical duty of the presidency is to defend what is best about America.  And that’s not hyperbole.  Defend what’s best about America.  To pursue justice, to ensure fairness, and to deliver results that create possibilities — possibilities that all of us — all of us can live a life of consequence and prosperity in a nation that’s safe and secure.  That’s the job.  

Fulfilling that pledge to you guides me every single hour of every single day in this job.  

You know, presidents should be judged not only by our words, but by our deeds; not by our rhetoric, but by our actions; not by our promise, but by reality.  

And today is part of an extraordinary story that’s being written by this administration and our brave allies in the Congress.

This law — this law that I’m about to sign finally delivers on a promise that Washington has made for decades to the American people.  

I got here as a 29-year-old kid.  We were promising to make sure that Medicare would have the power to negotiate lower drug prices back then — back then — prescription drug prices.  

But guess what?  We’re giving Medicare the power to negotiate those prices now, on some drugs.

This means seniors are going to pay less for their prescription drugs while we’re changing circumstances for people on Medicare by putting a cap — a cap of a maximum of $2,000 a year on their prescription drug costs, no matter what the reason for those prescriptions are.

That means if you’re on Medicare, you’ll never have to pay more than $2,000 a year no matter how many prescriptions you have, whether it’s for cancer or any other disease.  No more than $2,000 a year.

And you all know it because a lot of you come from families that need this.  This is a Godsend.  This is a Godsend to many families and so, so long overdue. 


The Inflation Reduction Act locks in place lower healthcare premiums for millions of families who get their coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  

Last year, a family of four saved on average $2,400 through the American Rescue Plan that I signed into law that Congress voted in place.

In the years ahead, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, 13 million people are going to continue — continue to save an average of $800 a year on health insurance.

The Inflation Reduction Act invests $369 billion to take the most aggressive action ever — ever, ever, ever — in confronting the climate crisis and strengthening our economic — our energy security.

It’s going to offer working families thousands of dollars in savings by providing them rebates to buy new and efficient appliances, weatherize their homes, get tax credit for purchasing heat pumps and rooftop solar, electric stoves, ovens, dryers.
 
It gives consumers a tax credit to buy electric vehicles or fuel cell vehicles, new or used.  And it gives them a credit — a tax credit of up to $7,500 if those vehicles were made in America. 

American auto companies, along with American labor, are committing their treasure and their talent — billions of dollars in investment — to make electric vehicles and battery and electric charging stations all across America, made in America.  All of it made in America.

This new law also provides tax credits that’s going to create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and clean energy manufacturing jobs, solar factories in the Midwest and the South, wind farms across the plains and off our shores, clean hydrogen projects and more — all across America, every part of America.

This bill is the biggest step forward on climate ever — ever — and it’s going to allow us to boldly take additional steps toward meeting all of my climate goals — the ones we set out when we ran.

It includes ensuring that we create clean energy opportunities in frontline and fence-line communities that have been smothered — smothered by the legacy of pollution, and fight environmental injustice that’s been going on for so long.

And here’s another win for the American people: In addition to cutting the deficit by $350 billion last year, in my first year in office, and cutting it $1.7 trillion this year, this fiscal year, we’re going to cut the deficit — I point out — by another $300 billion with the Inflation Reduction Act over the next decade.

We’re cutting deficit to fight inflation by having the wealthy and big corporations finally begin to pay part of their fair share.

Big corporations will now pay a minimum 15 percent tax instead of 55 of them got away with paying zero dollars in federal income tax on $40 billion in profit. 

And I’m keeping my campaign commitment: No one — let me emphasize — no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in federal taxes.  (Applause.) 

Folks, the Inflation Reduction Act does so many things that, for so many years, so many of us have fought to make happen.

And let’s be clear: In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people, and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interests in this vote — every single one.

In fact, the big drug companies spent nearly $100 million to defeat this bill.  A hundred million dollars.

And remember: Every single Republican in Congress voted against this bill. 

Every single Republican in Congress voted against lowering prescription drug prices, against lowering healthcare costs, against a fairer tax system.

Every single Republican — every single one — voted against tackling the climate crisis, against lowering our energy costs, against creating good-paying jobs.

My fellow Americans, that’s the choice we face: We can protect the already-powerful or show the courage to build a future where everybody has an even shot.

That’s the America I believe in.  (Applause.)  That’s what I believe in. 

And today — and today, we’ve come a step closer to making that America real.

Today, too often we confuse noise with substance.  Too often we confuse setbacks with defeat.  Too often we hand the biggest microphone to the critics and the cynics who delight in declaring failure while those committed to making real progress do the hard work of governing.


Making progress in this country as big and complicated as ours clearly is not easy.  It’s never been easy.

But with unwavering conviction, commitment, and patience, progress does come…

And when it does, like today, people’s lives are made better and the future becomes brighter, and a nation can be transformed.

That’s what’s happening now.  From the American Rescue Plan that helped create nearly 10 million new jobs, to a once-in-a-generation infrastructure law that will rebuild America’s roads, bridges, ports; deliver clean water, high-speed Internet to every American; to the first meaningful gun safety law in 30 years — and if I have anything to do with it, we’re still going to have an assault weapons ban, but that’s another story.  And to get significant veterans’ healthcare law in decades, for the first time; to a groundbreaking CHIPS and Science Law that’s going to ensure that technologies and jobs of the future are made here in America — in America.

(Applause.) 

And all this progress is part of our vision and plan and determined effort to get the job done for the American people, so they can look their child in the eye and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay.”

Everything is going to make sure that democracy delivers for your generation.  Because I think that’s at stake.

And, now, I know there are those here today who hold a dark and despairing view of this country.  I’m not one of them.

I believe in the promise of America.  I believe in the future of this country.  I believe in the very soul of this nation.  And most of all, I believe in you, the American people.

I believe to my core there isn’t a single thing this country cannot do when we put our mind to it.  We just have to remember who we are.  We are the United States of America.

There is nothing nothing beyond our capacity. That’s why so many foreign companies decided to invest their — make chips in America. Billions of dollars.  We’re the best.  We have to believe in ourselves again.

And now I’m going to take action that I’ve been looking forward to doing for 18 months.  (Laughter and applause.)  I’m going to sign the Inflation Reduction Law.  (Applause.)

Okay.  Here you go. (The bill is signed.)

LEADER SCHUMER:  It’s now law.

(Applause.)

The Inflation Reduction Act by the Numbers: What it Means to You

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act’s effort to transition the economy to clean, renewable energy, families that take advantage of clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits will save more than $1,000 per year. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Joe Biden will sign the Inflation Reduction Act today, a distillation of what Americans have been clamoring for, for the past 30 years. It includes the most significant investment in climate action, plus health care and tax reform while also amazingly reducing the deficit. Here’s what the Inflation Reduction Act will mean to you, by the numbers. This is from the White House:

The Inflation Reduction Act will lower costs for families, combat the climate crisis, reduce the deficit, and finally ask the largest corporations to pay their fair share. President Biden and Congressional Democrats have worked together to deliver a historic legislative achievement that defeats special interests, delivers for American families, and grows the economy from the bottom up and middle out.
 
Here’s how the Inflation Reduction Act impacts Americans by the numbers:
 
HEALTH CARE
 
Cutting Prescription Drug Costs

  • Today, Americans pay two to three times what citizens of other countries pay for prescription drugs
  • 5-7 million Medicare beneficiaries could see their prescription drug costs go down because of the provision allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs.
  • 50 million Americans with Medicare Part D will have the peace of mind knowing their costs at the pharmacy are capped at $2,000 per year, directly benefiting about 1.4 million beneficiaries each year.
  • 3.3 million Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes will benefit from a guarantee that their insulin costs are capped at $35 for a month’s supply.

 
Lowering Health Care Costs

  • 13 million Americans will continue to save an average of $800 per year on health insurance premiums
  • 3 million more Americans will have health insurance than without the law.
  • The uninsured rate is at an all-time low of 8%, which the historic law will build on.

 
Defeating Special Interests

  • $187 million: The amount the Pharmaceutical industry has spent on lobbying in 2022.
  • 1,600: number of lobbyists the pharmaceutical companies had in 2021 – three times the number of Members of Congress
  • 33 years: the amount of time Congressional Democrats have been trying to lower prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
  • 19 years: number of years Medicare has been blocked from negotiating prescription drug costs

 
CLEAN ENERGY
 
Lowering Energy Costs

  • Families that take advantage of clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits will save more than $1,000 per year.
  • $14,000 in direct consumer rebates for families to buy heat pumps or other energy efficient home appliances, saving families at least $350 per year.
  • 7.5 million more families will be able install solar on their roofs with a 30% tax credit, saving families $9,000 over the life of the system or at least $300 per year.
  • Up to $7,500 in tax credits for new electric vehicles and $4,000 for used electric vehicles, helping families save $950 per year.
  • Putting America on track to meet President Biden’s climate goals, which will save every family an average of $500 per year on their energy costs.

 
Building a Clean Energy Economy

  • Power homes, businesses, and communities with much more clean energy by 2030, including:
    • 950 million solar panels
    • 120,000 wind turbines
    • 2,300 grid-scale battery plants
  • Advance cost-saving clean energy projects at rural electric cooperatives serving 42 million people.
  • Strengthen climate resilience and protect nearly 2 million acres of national forests.
  • Creating millions of good-paying jobs making clean energy in America.

 
Reducing Harmful Pollution

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 gigaton in 2030, or a billion metric tons – 10 times more climate impact than any other single piece of legislation ever enacted.
  • Deploy clean energy and reduce particle pollution from fossil fuels to avoid up to 3,900 premature deaths and up to 100,000 asthma attacks annually by 2030.

 
TAXES
 
Making the Tax Code Fairer

  • $0: how much some of largest, profitable corporations pay in federal income tax.
  • 55: the number of America’s largest, wealthiest corporations that got away without paying a cent in federal income taxes in 2020.
  • $160 billon: how much the top 1 percent of earners is estimated to evade each year in taxes.
  • 15%: the minimum tax on corporate profits the Inflation Reduction Act imposes on the largest, most profitable corporations.
  • $124 billion: savings over 10 years the Inflation Reduction Act will generate from collecting taxes already owed by wealthy people and large corporations, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
  • And no family making less than $400,000 will see their taxes go up a penny.

 
Reducing the Deficit

  • The Inflation Act will achieve hundreds of billions in deficit reduction.
  • The deficit is projected to fall by more than $1.5 trillion this year after falling by more than $350 billion last year.
  • 126 leading economists – including 7 Nobel Laureates, 2 former Treasury Secretaries, 2 former Fed Vice Chairs and 2 former CEA Chairs – have said reducing the deficit will help fight inflation and support strong, stable economic growth.

FACT SHEET: 10 Ways the Biden-Harris Administration Is Responding to Extreme Heat

Glen Canyon, Utah. Drought and extreme heat at is impacting health and economy across the country. The Biden Administration, in addition to taking action to mitigate the impacts of climate change, are taking actions to help people survive the extreme heat © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This summer, millions of Americans are grappling with extreme heat and record-breaking temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit – sending tens of thousands of Americans to the emergency room, increasing health problems, and putting seniors, children, and workers at risk. As the impacts of extreme heat are intensifying across the country due to climate change, President Biden and Vice President Harris are taking action to protect communities, including by:  
 

  1. Lowering cooling costs for families: In April, the Administration released $385 million through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), including to reduce summer cooling costs. Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services released guidance to help states use this funding to get more air conditioners and electric heat pumps into homes.
     
  2. Supporting community cooling centers: The new LIHEAP guidance also helps states, Tribes, and territories establish community cooling centers in public facilities where people can keep cool during the hottest periods of the day. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency is using American Rescue Plan funding to help create cooling centers in public school facilities.
     
  3. Keeping workplaces safe: In April, Vice President Harris and Labor Secretary Walsh launched the first national program to protect indoor and outdoor workers from heat stress. Since then, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has already conducted over 500 heat-related inspections, focused on over 70 high-risk industries across 43 states.
     
  4. Developing the first national heat standard to protect workers: OSHA has initiated the rulemaking process toward the first-ever national heat standard to ensure protections in indoor and outdoor workplaces across the country.
     
  5. Providing real-time data and response resources: To equip local officials and the public with robust and accessible information, the Administration has launched Heat.gov, a new centralized portal with real-time, interactive data and resources on extreme heat conditions, preparedness, and response.
     
  6. Identifying and addressing disproportionate impacts: Recent EPA analysis confirms that climate-driven changes in extreme temperatures disproportionately impact groups that are socially vulnerable. EPA’s Let’s Talk About Heat Challenge is supporting local communication strategies to inform people of extreme heat risks and ways to keep safe, with a focus on engaging underserved and overburdened communities.
     
  7. Leveraging nature to cool down cities: The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration is helping communities map urban heat islands, areas that can be up to 20 degrees hotter due to factors including higher pavement concentration and lower tree cover. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has developed a guide for communities and is helping to fund urban tree and greening projects to reduce extreme temperatures and heat exposure.
     
  8. Investing in proactive resilience projects: Last week, President Biden announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will have $2.3 billion for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program to help communities increase resilience to heat waves, drought, wildfires, flood, hurricanes, and other hazards by preparing before disaster strikes.
     
  9. Funding innovative cooling technologies: The Department of Homeland Security recently announced winners of the first-ever Cooling Solutions Challenge prize competition, supporting innovative ideas to help first responders, individuals, households, or displaced populations keep cool during extreme heat events.
     
  10. Helping health professionals prepare and respond: The Department of Health and Human Services, through the Administration’s new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, launched a Climate and Health Outlook to inform health professionals of climate events expected in the next 30-90 days and support proactive action to reduce health risks from heat waves and other extreme weather events.

FACT SHEET: 10 Ways the Biden Administration Is Making America Resilient to Climate Change

Destructive wildfires have become commonplace in drought-plagued California and the West. The Biden Administration is investing $1 billion for 53 states, territories, and D.C., to improve their infrastructure and make communities more resilient, with an emphasis on increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

We know that the impacts of the climate crisis are here and that we must invest in building resilience to protect our communities, infrastructure, and economy. That is why Vice President Kamala Harris went to Miami, Florida to announce over $1 billion for 53 states, territories, and D.C., to improve their infrastructure and make communities more resilient, with an emphasis on increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. These awards, which will be distributed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Program, are double the funding from last year’s historic $500 million. Next year, this funding will more than double to $2.3 billion, boosted by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
 
The announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broad efforts to strengthen our nation’s resilience and tackle the climate crisis. President Biden’s National Climate Task Force has launched interagency efforts to build resilience to climate impacts, including extreme heat, wildfires, drought, flooding, coastal threats, financial risks, and more. This builds on the historic investments President Biden and Vice President Harris secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for clean energy, wildfire mitigation, legacy pollution cleanup, ecosystem restoration, and resilient infrastructure. These investments create jobs building a clean energy economy that’s resilient to climate change and revitalizing our domestic manufacturing base. 

The President and Vice President’s key actions include: 

  1. Providing historic investments for climate resilient infrastructure projects: Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, President Biden secured $50 billion in resilience investments, the most in American history, to protect communities against extreme weather. For example, the Department of Transportation recently announced $7.3 billion in formula funding through the PROTECT program, which will help states and communities make transportation infrastructure more resilient by focusing on resilience planning, making resilience improvements to existing transportation assets and evacuation routes, and addressing at-risk highway infrastructure.
     
  2. Combating growing wildfire threats: Agencies are undertaking various actions, such as the joint planning and coordination of historic investments in conservation programs and natural resource infrastructure projects across the West, including the new Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These investments improve wildfire response and reduce the overall loss of infrastructure and critical resources, while prioritizing assistance to underserved communities. This summer, as directed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission was established, gathering Federal and non-Federal members to formulate and deliver policy recommendations to Congress for wildland fire prevention, mitigation, suppression, and management.
     
  3. Protecting communities and workers from extreme heat: The Biden-Harris Administration is taking a wide range of actions to respond to intensifying heat waves and reduce associated health risks, especially for vulnerable groups and underserved communities. These efforts include using the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to reduce cooling costs and deliver air conditioners and electric heat pumps to homes, developing nationwide standards and enforcement programs to protect workers on the job, launching Heat.gov as a one-stop hub for accessible information and response tools, and supporting community-led urban heat island mappingoutreach and communication strategiesinnovative cooling technologiesurban tree and greening projects, and more.
     
  4. Strengthening drought resilience: In June, Vice President Harris highlighted the Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group First Year Summary Report, which details the efforts accomplished and underway to assist drought-stricken communities and build their resilience to worsening conditions. A new Federal-state task force was launched in partnership with Western governors to coordinate conservation programs. Many agencies – in collaboration with states, Tribes, and local governments, as well as non-governmental organizations – are utilizing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to support projects that improve our Nation’s water infrastructurerehabilitate watershedspromote water reuse, and enhance soil and drought monitoring systems.
     
  5. Reducing flood risk for households and communities: President Biden re-established the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard that will reduce flood risk and protect infrastructure investments. The White House is coordinating Federal efforts on flood resilience and ensuring that federal investments include safety standards for flooding and sea-level rise. Agencies are already taking action by implementing guidance to ensure communities are protected from floods. In addition, FEMA launched an updated website for purchasers to evaluate property-level flood risk and released a report highlighting best-practices for states requiring flood risk disclosures during real estate transactions.
     
  6. Protecting coastal communities from storms, sea-level rise, and other climate impacts: The Biden-Harris Administration announced $3 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to strengthen coastal resilience, improve climate data and services, and more. As directed in President Biden’s Earth Day Executive Order, the Administration is exploring greater deployment of nature-based solutions to address coastal and other climate impacts. Through the Coastal Resilience Interagency Working Group, agencies have developed a resource guide to help communities build climate resilience along coastlines with nature-based solutions—streamlining access to more than 100 information resources and 48 federal programs.
     
  7. Supporting disadvantaged communities: Through the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC), the White House formed a new WHEJAC Climate Resilience Working Group to advise on how to promote and execute equitable climate change resilience and disaster management. The White House continues to coordinate with agencies to implement the President’s Justice40 Program, ensuring that 40% of program benefits reach disadvantaged communities. This includes benefits offered through the FEMA BRIC program. 
  8. Prioritizing assistance to Tribal communities: Tribal communities and lands face particular risks to climate effects. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $216 million in funding to establish a new Tribal transition and relocation assistance program under DOI, which supports the voluntary, community-led transition for Tribal communities severely threatened by climate change and accelerating coastal hazards. The White House launched a new Community-Driven Relocation Subcommittee, which will convene agencies to explore key considerations, issues, and strategies for working in partnership with communities to support voluntary movement away from high-risk regions.
  1. Addressing climate risks to the economy: The Biden-Harris Administration launched the first comprehensive, government-wide strategy to measure, disclose, manage, and mitigate the systemic risks that climate change poses to American families, businesses, and economy. Climate change has cost Americans an additional $600 billion in physical and economic damages over the past five years alone. To respond, Federal agencies are taking action to protect the hard-earned life savings of workers and homeowners while protecting the broader financial system and the Federal Government’s fiscal health against climate-related financial risk.
     
  2. Leading by example across the Federal Government: The White House worked with Federal agencies to develop more than 20 climate adaptation and resilience plans to enhance climate readiness across their facilities and operations. This will reduce costs and damages caused by extreme weather, minimize disruptions to Federal programs and services, and protect workers and communities. Last week, USDA announced a strategy to address a reforestation backlog of four million acres on national forests and plant more than one billion trees over the next decade as part of its climate adaptation plan. Agencies are implementing the actions identified in their climate adaptation and resilience plans and will provide annual progress updates.

FACT SHEET: Biden Takes Bold Executive Action to Spur Domestic Clean Energy Manufacturing

Historic Actions Include Authorizing Defense Production Act to Lower Energy Costs, Strengthen Power Grid, and Create Good-Paying Jobs

Solar array on a farm in upstate New York. Biden is accelerating and incentivizing clean energy manufacture in the US. The nation is on track to triple domestic solar manufacturing capacity by 2024 –  to reach 22.5 gigawatts by the end of Biden’s first term, enough to enable more than 3.3 million homes to switch to clean solar energy each year. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

I find it infuriating that the “news” is completely taken over by the latest travesties by Trump, Putin and Supreme Court, fueling anger and cynicism among Democrats and Progressives who may well take their anger out at the polls and simply not vote – that, I would remind you, is how we got Trump and this Christo Fascist Supreme Court. Biden Administration not doing anything on climate change? Inflation? Health care? Nonsense. This administration has been incredibly productive – finding real solutions, not bandaids, rhetoric and hype, that have at their foundation a sense of equity, sustainability and social justice. Want to solve inflation? Not by the Keystone Pipeline or overturning coal plant rules, but investing in EV infrastructure, as Biden wants to do. But you wouldn’t know it from the media, social or otherwise. It is our practice, then, to publish first-hand accounts from the White House, federal agencies and officials. –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Today’s clean energy technologies are a critical part of the arsenal we must harness to lower energy costs for families, reduce risks to our power grid, and tackle the urgent crisis of a changing climate. From day one, President Biden has mobilized investment in these critical technologies. Thanks to his clean energy and climate agenda, last year marked the largest deployment of solar, wind, and batteries in United States history, and our nation is now a magnet for investment in clean energy manufacturing.
 
Since President Biden took office, the private sector has committed over $100 billion in new private capital to make electric vehicles and batteries in the United States. We have made historic investments in clean hydrogen, nuclear, and other cutting-edge technologies. And companies are investing billions more to grow a new domestic offshore wind industry.
 
We are also now on track to triple domestic solar manufacturing capacity by 2024. The expansions to domestic solar manufacturing capacity announced since President Biden took office will grow the current base capacity of 7.5 gigawatts by an additional 15 gigawatts. This would total 22.5 gigawatts by the end of his first term – enough to enable more than 3.3 million homes to switch to clean solar energy each year.
 
While President Biden continues pushing Congress to pass clean energy investments and tax cuts, he is taking bold action to rapidly build on this progress and create a bridge to this American-made clean energy future. Today, President Biden is taking action to:  

  • Authorize use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to accelerate domestic production of clean energy technologies, including solar panel parts;
  • Put the full power of federal procurement to work spurring additional domestic solar manufacturing capacity by directing the development of master supply agreements, including “super preference” status; and
  • Create a 24-month bridge as domestic manufacturing rapidly scales up to ensure the reliable supply of components that U.S. solar deployers need to construct clean energy projects and an electric grid for the 21st century, while reinforcing the integrity of our trade laws and processes. 

 Together, these actions will spur domestic manufacturing, construction projects, and good-paying jobs – all while cutting energy costs for families, strengthening our grid, and tackling climate change and environmental injustice. With a stronger clean energy arsenal, the United States can be an even stronger partner to our allies, especially in the face of Putin’s war in Ukraine.
 
The stakes could not be higher. That is why President Biden also continues to urge Congress to quickly pass tax cuts and additional investments that advance U.S. clean energy manufacturing and deployment. Failing to take these actions would deny consumers access to cost-cutting clean energy options, add risks to our power grid, and stall domestic clean energy construction projects that are critical to tackling the climate crisis. At the same time, President Biden will keep using his executive authority to take bold action to build an American-made clean energy future.

INVOKING THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT FOR CLEAN ENERGY

Today, President Biden is authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to accelerate domestic production of clean energy technologies – unlocking new powers to meet this moment. Specifically, the President is authorizing the Department of Energy to use the DPA to rapidly expand American manufacturing of five critical clean energy technologies:

  • Solar panel parts like photovoltaic modules and module components;
  • Building insulation;
  • Heat pumps, which heat and cool buildings super efficiently;
  • Equipment for making and using clean electricity-generated fuels, including electrolyzers, fuel cells, and related platinum group metals; and
  • Critical power grid infrastructure like transformers.

In deploying the DPA, the Biden-Harris Administration will strongly encourage the use of strong labor standards, including project labor agreements and community benefits agreements that offer wages at or above the prevailing rate and include local hire provisions. The Administration also will strongly encourage projects with environmental justice outcomes that empower the clean energy transition in low-income communities historically overburdened by legacy pollution.
 
Following this announcement, the White House and the Department of Energy will convene relevant industry, labor, environmental justice, and other key stakeholders as we maximize the impact of the DPA tools made available by President Biden’s actions and strengthen domestic clean energy manufacturing.
 
BOOSTING MADE-IN-AMERICA CLEAN ENERGY WITH FEDERAL PROCUREMENT
 
President Biden is also putting the full power of federal procurement to work spurring additional domestic solar manufacturing capacity. Today, the President directed the development of two innovative tools to accelerate Made-in-America clean energy:

  • Master Supply Agreements for domestically manufactured solar systems to increase the speed and efficiency with which domestic clean electricity providers can sell their products to the U.S. Government; and
  • So-called “Super Preferences” to apply domestic content standards for federal procurement of solar systems, including domestically manufactured solar photovoltaic components, consistent with the Buy American Act.

These federal procurement measures can stimulate demand for up to a gigawatt of domestically produced solar modules in the near term, and up to 10 gigawatts over the next decade from U.S. government demand alone. To further increase the impact of these actions, the Administration will also partner with state and local governments and municipal utilities in these innovative arrangements – increasing the potential market impact over the next decade to as much as over 100 gigawatts. These procurement actions will provide a significant demand anchor for a revitalized domestic solar manufacturing industry.
 
SUPPORT FOR U.S. GRID-STRENGTHENING, CLEAN ENERGY CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
 
Because of private investor confidence in President Biden’s leadership and our national commitment to a clean energy future, the United States is now on track to triple its solar manufacturing capacity by 2024. The expansions to domestic solar manufacturing capacity announced since the President took office will grow the current 7.5 gigawatts of capacity by an additional 15 gigawatts of capacity, for a total of 22.5 gigawatts by the end of his first term – enough to enable more than 3.3 million homes to switch to clean solar energy every year. To rapidly build on this progress and create a bridge to this American-made clean energy future, we need to boost short-term solar panel supply to support construction projects in the United States right now. This is because grid operators around the country are relying on planned solar projects to come online to ensure there is sufficient power to meet demand, and to ensure we can continue to deploy solar at the rates needed to keep us on track to meet the President’s climate goals. 
 
Today, President Biden is using his powers to create a 24-month bridge for certain solar imports while reinforcing the integrity of our trade laws and processes. Specifically, the President is:

  • Temporarily facilitating U.S. solar deployers’ ability to source solar modules and cells from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam by providing that those components can be imported free of certain duties for 24 months in order to ensure the U.S. has access to a sufficient supply of solar modules to meet electricity generation needs while domestic manufacturing scales up; and
  • Reinforcing his commitment to safeguarding the integrity and independence of all ongoing trade investigations by career officials at the Department of Commerce and recognizing the vital role these processes play in strengthening our economy.

ADDITIONAL STEPS TO CUT COSTS, SUPPORT GOOD-PAYING JOBS, AND ADVANCE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
 
Today’s actions build on this Administration’s existing initiatives to grow domestic clean energy innovation and manufacturing and to lower energy costs for Americans, including: 

  • Permitting More Clean Energy on Public Lands. As part of the Biden-Harris Permitting Action Plan, a new five-agency collaboration is expediting reviews of clean energy projects on public lands through the Department of the Interior, helping us race ahead toward permitting at least 25 gigawatts by 2025 – enough to power around five million homes. These actions have already increased clean energy permitting activities by 35 percent, including major solar project approvals and leases. We have also launched five new Renewable Energy Coordination Offices and reduced rents and fees by more than 50 percent for solar and wind projects on public lands.
     
  • Boosting Community-Based Clean Energy in Cities and Rural Areas. The Biden-Harris Administration is helping 17 local communities remove red tape with the SolarAPP+ online tool to enable same-day approvals for residential solar installation permits, and an additional 400 interested communities are in the pipeline. The National Climate Task Force launched new initiatives on increasing deployment of Distributed Energy Resources, including rooftop solar, with a focus on bringing the benefits of these projects to underserved communities. The United States Department of Agriculture provided the largest-ever investment in rural renewable energy last year. In addition, the Department of Energy and the Department of Health and Human Services are partnering to develop and pilot a digital platform that will connect customers who are eligible for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program with community solar subscriptions, to further reduce customer energy costs. Likewise, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is working with municipalities to enable residents of affordable housing to directly benefit from low-cost community solar power without seeing a rent increase or adjustment to their utility allowance.
     
  • Supporting a Diverse Solar Workforce with Good-Paying Jobs, including pathways to stable careers with the free and fair choice to join a union. Solar industry jobs consistently rank among the top fastest-growing in the nation, and many require only a high school education or GED. The Economic Development Administration recently awarded funding to support solar employment training in tribal and coal-impacted communities. In addition, the Department of Energy has issued a Request for Information and hosted six workshops to determine common goals and needs from stakeholders, including industry, unions, and training organizations. DOE will continue to explore these issues, including by providing funding, new collaborations with industry, other federal agencies, and state-based job boards to develop equitable worker-centric training and education programs, work-based learning opportunities, and support services such as career counseling, mentorship, and job readiness programs.
     
  • Developing Clean Energy Domestic Manufacturing for Export and Building Capacity in Allied Nations. The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) Make More in America Initiative, approved by the EXIM board in April, will prioritize investments to expand clean energy manufacturing. The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation supports building resilient clean energy manufacturing supply chains in allied nations around the world, reducing global dependence on China.
     
  • Investing in Clean Energy for Resilience in Puerto Rico: The Biden-Harris Administration joined forces with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to advance dozens of solar energy projects that will enable Puerto Rico to meet its target of 100% renewable electricity, while improving power sector resilience and increasing access to more affordable energy and cleaner air. 

White House Memo: President Biden’s Plan to Tackle Inflation

People are really really upset about paying more for gas and groceries, kind of forgetting how it was a year ago to feel you might die from COVID-19. COVID, coupled with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are the two biggest drivers of inflation, which has been even more severe in other countries, but Biden has taken steps to mitigate or reverse – getting blocked at every turn by Republicans. Meanwhile, people can adjust their own behavior to reduce costs – drive less, bike more, for example – and moving the economy to electric vehicles, with billions being spent by the Biden Administration to develop the infrastructure, will also create jobs and increase wages © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The White House has published a memo outlining President Biden’s plan to tackle inflation:

As our economy begins to transition to more stable growth, President Biden has made combatting inflation and lowering costs for families his top economic priority. President Biden’s plan to tackle inflation has three key pillars: 

1. Reducing costs on everyday items

2. Lowering the deficit

3. Giving the Federal Reserve the independence it needs to act

The biggest single driver of inflation now is Putin’s war against Ukraine –increases in food and energy prices account for around 50% of this month’s CPI. Putin’s Price Hike hit hard in May: gas pump prices are up by $2 a gallon in many places since Russian troops began to threaten Ukraine. President Biden has taken action to blunt the impact of Putin’s Price Hike for families:

• The President announced the release of a record 1 million barrels per day from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

• He rallied our Allies and partners to join us, releasing a combined 240 million additional barrels of oil on the market. 

• He expanded access to biofuels like E15, which will lower prices at thousands of gas stations in the across the country.

• While oil production is increasing and projected to reach a historic level next year, oil companies are sitting on 9,000 unused permits to drill more and pocketing the largest profits in years.

80% of a typical family’s monthly budget is spent on items other than food and energy. That means that even as we work to address energy and food prices in the near-term, making other necessities more affordable for working families can give families more breathing room at the end of the month.

• President Biden announced that tens of millions of households – or nearly 40% of all households in America – will be able to save $50 per month or more on high-speed internet, which is now an economic necessity for American families. 

• President Biden took action to save hundreds of thousands of families hundreds of dollars a month by fixing the Affordable Care Act’s “family glitch.” Nearly 1 million Americans would see their coverage become more affordable.

• President Biden has cut the deficit by $1.7 trillion – more this year than any President in history, reducing inflationary pressures. 

The President calls on Congress to act urgently as well.

• The President has called on Congress to pass a bill to crack down on ocean shippers to lower the price of goods. In the last year, shipping prices have gone up by as much as 1,000% driving higher prices for families on items from appliances to apparel. 

• The President calls on Congress to pass legislation to cut costs for families like energy bills and prescription drugs. According to an independent analysis, the clean energy tax credits and investments the President has proposed would save families $500 per year on their energy costs by 2030, and transition our economy away from relying on energy produced by autocrats like Putin. And the President believes that Congress should give Medicare the power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, and that Congress should cap the cost of insulin at $35 per month. These reforms wouldn’t just lower costs for consumers; they would also reduce federal spending. 

• Congress could lower the deficit even more by asking the super wealthy and profitable corporations to pay their fair share. According to an outside analysis, 55 companies paid no money in taxes last year. It’s wrong for the super wealthy and profitable corporations to pay a lower tax rate than a teacher or firefighter. 

Congressional Republicans’ only plan to tackle inflation increases taxes for working families. And, their attacks on gas prices are incoherent and dishonest. 

• Senator Rick Scott, a member of Senate Republican Leadership changed his words on his agenda to raise taxes on millions of working and middle class Americans by $1,500, but still said “We need them pulling the wagon and paying taxes” and that he “apologizes to absolutely nobody.” He also stood by his Congressional Republican plan to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block every 5 years.

• Congressional Republicans blame President Biden for gas prices, but the truth is that gas pump prices are up by $2 a gallon in many places since Russian troops began to threaten Ukraine. This is Putin’s price hike. A majority of Republicans in Congress support Ukraine in their fight for their democracy and our alliance to strengthen theirposition, and now cynically blame the President for Putin’s actions that have raised prices around the world. That’s not economics, that’s politics.

• Congressional Republicans blame the administration for decreased oil production. The truth is oil production is projected to reach a historic level next year. When oil companies produce less, the cost goes up. In 2020, Americans stayed home more and drove less, so oil companies cut back on oil production and refining. Now, demand has returned, but oil production is still 10% below where it was pre-pandemic. Oil companies are sitting on 9,000 unused permits to drill more and pocketing the largest profits in years. The President has called for — and Congressional Democrats have voted for — a “use it or lose it” policy for permits on federal lands, and Congressional Republicans opposed it. 

• The five biggest oil companies made $35 billion in the first quarter of this year—that’s four times what they made in the same quarter last year. Congressional Republicans oppose making these companies pay their fair share in taxes.

Biden Administration Makes Historic Investments To Create Opportunity and Build Wealth in Rural America 

During the State of the Union, President Biden will cite the historic investments the Biden Administration is making to create opportunity and build wealth in rural America, $1 billion will go toward Energy Improvement in Rural or Remote Areas to support entities in rural or remote areas to increase environmental protection from the impacts of energy use and improve resilience, reliability, safety, and availability of energy © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine likely to take up a large measure of President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union speech, he is unlikely to have enough time or space to detail his accomplishments and his agenda going forward. Here are more details from the White House about the Biden Administration’s historic investments to create opportunity and build wealth in rural America:

President Biden is committed to ensuring that rural Americans have the opportunity to succeed – and that they can find that opportunity in rural America. This commitment is not just vital for rural Americans, but vital for the country as a whole. For centuries, rural Americans have driven the country’s economic growth and provided the country and the world with food and fuel—and they continue to do so today. They are small business owners revitalizing Main Streets. They care for our land, ensuring that all Americans have access to nature and recreation.

In its first year, the Biden Administration has made historic investments in rural communities through the American Rescue Plan: slashing poverty and lowering costs, creating jobs and new economic opportunities, and expanding access to health care. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a once-in-a-generation federal investment so that all rural Americans gain access to clean drinking water, are able to use high-speed broadband internet for education and business, and have safe roads and bridges for both people and goods. In addition, the Administration has invested $2.8 billion in coal and power plant communities, ensuring that these communities that fueled our country’s industrial revolution will continue to thrive in decades to come.

In the year ahead, the Biden Administration will partner with rural America to determine how best to invest these unprecedented federal resources to support local priorities.

Lowering costs for working families in rural America

The Biden Administration is building a stronger, more equitable economy that does not leave anyone behind, including rural communities that for too long have faced underinvestment and persistent poverty. Already, because of the Administration’s support for working families through the American Rescue Plan, rural poverty is estimated to have fallen by 70 percent in 2021. President Biden knows working families are the backbone of our economy, and is delivering for them in rural America.

  • Tax relief for rural working families. The American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over the age of six, and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of six, while raising the age limit from 16 to 17 for 2021. The President’s plans call for extending this critical tax cut, which expired in December 2021. The American Rescue Plan also ensured that all lower- and moderate-income families were eligible for the full expanded child tax credit. In addition, the American Rescue Plan nearly tripled the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit for workers without dependent children to $1,500, benefitting about 2.7 million rural workers.
     
  • Lowering rural Americans’ rent and mortgage payments and energy and water bills. The American Rescue Plan enabled single-family, COVID-affected borrowers with mortgages backed by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to refinance their mortgages and provided rental assistance to 26,000 rural tenants. Rural Americans have also benefitted from the Department of the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Homeowner Assistance Fund, which together provided tens-of-billions of dollars to keep people safely housed during the pandemic. In addition, the American Rescue Plan provided $4.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program—more than doubling typical annual funding—and $500 million for the first-ever federal water assistance program, lowering water and wastewater bills for rural households.
     
  • Lower child care costs and support child care providers. Even before the pandemic, nearly two-thirds of rural Americans lived in areas where there is a significant shortage of licensed child care slots, with nine infants and toddlers for every one child care slot in rural America. Rural children are less likely to be enrolled in pre-K programs than urban and suburban children. The pandemic made it harder for rural families to access these programs – with 1 in 11 licensed child care providers closing before between December 2020 and March 2021. The President secured $39 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to provide a lifeline to child care providers so they could stay open without raising prices for families. This funding has already reached more than 150,000 child care providers, including those across rural America. The American Rescue Plan also provided funding to all 1,600 Head Start grantees, which serve the vast majority of rural counties and sometimes serve as the only provider in a rural community. This funding helped allow these grantees to serve 91% of Head Start children fully in-person, compared to 38% in December 2020. Early care and education were out of reach for too many rural families before the pandemic, which is why the President has also called on Congress to cut child care spending in half for most families, offer every 3- and 4-year old free preschool, and boost the number of high-quality child care programs in high-need areas, including in rural America.
  • Helping states and local governments – as well as tribes and territories – provide additional direct assistance to lower families’ costs. The American Rescue Plan delivered $350 billion for the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, providing support for critical investments in 3,000 counties and 30,000 small towns. These funds offer the flexibility local governments need to address their communities’ most pressing needs. Already, over 20 states and scores of counties have used these funds to directly help families, including critical food assistance, utility assistance, and other help with basics for the hardest hit families. For example, Macon-Bibb County, GA committed $2.5 million to fight food insecurity in the community, including funds to address food deserts and support local food banks; New Hanover County, NH has committed $1 million to support homeowners who are behind on their mortgage; and Doña Ana County, NM has committed $1.2 million in direct medical relief funds for COVID-19 medical bills.
  • Lowering costs and improving access to an education beyond high school for rural students. The Department of Education (ED) is investing $198 million in American Rescue Plan funding for competitive grants for rural colleges and universities that serve a high percentage of low-income students and are experiencing enrollment declines. With this funding, rural institutions can cover the cost of COVID-19 mitigation efforts, such as testing and personal protective equipment; support their students’ ability to meet basic needs by providing meal vouchers, childcare subsidies, and mental health services; facilitate continued enrollment and re-enrollment through support services such as academic counseling; and expand workforce programs that lead to in-demand jobs.  
     
  • Improved access to affordable, nutritious food for rural Americans. Through the American Rescue Plan, USDA expanded access to the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program, including through the summer, to allow families with children receiving school meals to purchase healthy food more easily. The American Rescue Plan also increased SNAP benefits by 15% through September 2021. Beginning on October 1, 2021, USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan update increased SNAP benefits by $36.30 per person per month on average. These updates will increase the well-being of 2.9 million people in rural areas, including 800,000 children, reducing rural poverty by 11 percent and rural child poverty by 20 percent. USDA also invested $1 billion, including $500 million in American Rescue Plan funding, in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to support and expand emergency food access so states, food banks, and local organizations can reliably serve their communities, with a focus on reaching rural and underserved areas.

 
Creating jobs in rural America and supporting rural-led economic development

The Biden Administration is committed to expanding opportunity to all corners of the country. That means good-paying, union jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities so that today’s workers can live with dignity and security, and rural youth can see a bright future right in their hometowns. As of October 2021, the unemployment rate in rural counties that experience persistent poverty had returned to pre-pandemic levels, ranging from 3.4 percent to 4.7 percent. President Biden will continue building on that progress and the many efforts across the Administration to create jobs and build wealth in rural America.

  • Build resilient rural economies. The American Rescue Plan invested a historic $3 billion in the Department of Commerce’s (DOC) Economic Development Administration (EDA) to build local economies that are resilient to future economic shocks, including a $300 million Coal Communities Commitment. In December 2021, EDA announced 60 finalists for its $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge, which will support regional coalitions to develop transformative projects that strengthen regional industry clusters. These finalists include 12 coal communities, and more than 80% of the finalists propose to serve rural communities, including ten proposals focused on growing or developing agriculture and natural resource industries.
     
  • Revitalize America’s energy communities. In February 2021, President Biden established the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization to identify and deliver resources to the coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities that have powered our country for generations. The working group identified 25 communities across the country for immediate strategic investment. Since then, member agencies have delivered more than $2.8 billion in federal investment to these communities, including $167 million through USDA’s Renewable Energy for America Program and the Electric Loan Program. The working group also established a resource clearinghouse with more than $181 billion in open and planned funding opportunities for energy communities, to facilitate access to federal programs.
     
  • Invest in state and local workforce programs and small business support. More than half of all states are using the American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to retain and train workers for new and better jobs, and over 20 states have provided direct support to small businesses. Wisconsin’s $9.4 million investment in American Rescue Plan funds in University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s regional workforce development strategy recruits and connects rural workers and students with careers in healthcare, education, and social services – areas where the state has critical shortages. Gallatin County, MT is investing $2 million in American Rescue Plan funds to develop and expand programs in construction trades, welding, fabrication, manufacturing and healthcare. And, local governments are using American Rescue Plan funds to retain essential workers across the country, from Erie, NY to St. Croix County, WI to Umatilla County, OR.
     
  • Support outreach and technical assistance to rural businesses. The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Community Navigator Pilot Program, funded by the American Rescue Plan, is reducing barriers that underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs – including those in rural America – often face in accessing the resources they need to recover, grow, or start their businesses. The program is providing a total of $100 million to 51 nonprofits, state and local governments, universities, and tribal entities that will work with organizations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico to provide technical assistance to small businesses in underserved communities.
     
  • Advance workforce development solutions in rural communities. The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative (WORC) is a partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority to support workers in rural communities impacted by economic transitions, especially in the energy sector. WORC funds provide job training and support services to dislocated workers, incumbent workers, and new entrants to the workforce to help connect them with good jobs in high-demand occupations. In 2021, DOL announced a third round of WORC grants for $29 million to 23 organizations, demonstrating the Biden Administration’s ongoing commitment to strengthening economic stability and opportunities for workers in rural communities.
     
  • Grow rural America’s outdoor recreation economy by expanding hunting and fishing. To help expand rural America’s outdoor recreation economy, the Biden Administration last year opened new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities on 2.1 million acres of public lands, the largest such expansion in U.S. history. The Administration also recently announced a record $1.5 billion in annual funding through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program to support state and local outdoor recreational opportunities, and wildlife and habitat conservation efforts. These efforts, along with a new Task Force on Collaborative Conservation that the Administration launched in partnership with the Western Governors Association, will support America’s hunting and fishing traditions and help power the continued growth of the nation’s outdoor economy. In addition, the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior are collaborating to invest $2.8 billion under the Great American Outdoors Act to improve access, experiences, and partnerships for outdoor recreation that not only promote tourism but also protect America’s public lands while creating jobs and opportunities in rural communities. EDA is also investing $750 million in American Rescue Plan funding through the Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program, including $510 million that has already been provided to states.

 
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in rural communities

The COVID-19 pandemic spared no part of the country, but rural communities have faced additional challenges that impact the delivery of services and assistance, including limited health care infrastructure and clinicians. As our nation turned the tide of the pandemic from crisis to recovery, the Biden Administration worked to ensure rural communities have the tools they need to combat COVID-19, keep schools open and safe, and come back stronger than before.

  • Safely reopen rural schools and help students make up for lost learning time. The American Rescue Plan surged $130 billion to our states, territories, tribes, and local communities to help them safely reopen our schools and keep them open, while addressing the impacts of the pandemic on students, including on their learning and mental health. Roughly $16 billion of these funds went to rural communities and $850 million went to Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools and Tribally-controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs). These are critical resources that are helping rural communities and school districts meet key challenges, including funds that school districts can use to address staff shortages. In addition, investments in broadband in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be critical to supporting the education of young people in rural communities and closing the homework gap. As part of the Biden Administration’s commitment to reopen healthy learning environments, USDA issued a broad range of flexibilities and provided significant additional resources to allow school meal programs across the country to return to serving nutritious meals in fall 2021.
     
  • Dedicated COVID-19 testing for rural hospitals and clinics. The Biden Administration delivered $425 million in American Rescue Plan funding to support COVID-19 testing and mitigation in 4,200 rural health clinics, and $398 million in funding to support COVID-19 testing and mitigation for over 1,500 small rural hospitals. HHS provided up to $100,000 per clinic and up to $230,000 per hospital to increase COVID-19 testing, expand access to testing in rural communities, and broaden efforts to respond to and mitigate the spread of the virus in ways tailored to community needs.
     
  • Deliver rapid tests to rural health clinics. HHS is currently distributing millions of rapid over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 tests to rural health clinics that reach uninsured and underserved communities, often among those hardest-hit by the pandemic.
     
  • Increase vaccine education and outreach efforts in rural communities. The Biden Administration awarded over $100 million in American Rescue Plan funding to rural health clinics across the country to support vaccine outreach in rural communities. This funding is being used to assist rural residents in accessing vaccinations, as well as education and outreach efforts around the benefits of vaccination. 
     
  • Expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and supplies, while strengthening rural health care providers. The American Rescue Plan provided $500 million for USDA to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program. The program provides $350 million to help rural hospitals and local communities increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing, medical supplies, telehealth, and food assistance, and support the construction or renovation of rural health care facilities. It also provides recovery funds that compensate for lost revenue or staffing expenses due to COVID-19. In addition, the program provides up to $125 million in grants to plan and implement models that help improve the long-term viability of rural health care providers, including health care networks that allow rural providers to collectively address community challenges and develop innovative solutions.

Improving access to health care and lowering health care costs for rural communities

Rural communities face persistent disparities in health outcomes and access to care, including higher rates of uninsured individuals, health care workforce shortages, and often difficulty reaching the nearest hospital. In many rural communities, the hospital is the largest employer in the area, providing jobs and supporting the local economy. Yet, rural hospitals have increasingly closed their doors, including 19 in 2020 alone. And rural hospital closures have been pervasive in non-expansion states. Of the ten states with the most rural hospital closures since 2010, most are in non-expansion states —the only two that are not, Oklahoma and Missouri, just began their expansions in 2021. Moreover, rural counties in the South are racially and ethnically diverse, and in some non-expansion states, rural hospitals that closed were more likely to be in counties with a higher share of Black residents. Similar disparities exist for rural hospitals at risk of closure. The Biden Administration is taking action to improve the health of rural communities by ensuring rural Americans have the health care and coverage they need and deserve and helping rural hospitals stay open.

  • Lower health care costs for rural Americans. The American Rescue Plan has done more to lower costs and expand access to health care than any action since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. It has made quality coverage more affordable than ever—with families saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums, and four out of five consumers finding quality coverage for under $10 a month. The President’s plan continues these savings, keeping health insurance affordable for millions of Americans, including those living in rural communities.
     
  • Expand rural health care coverage and keep rural hospitals open. Since President Biden took office, nearly 700,000 rural Americans have gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act and the American Rescue Plan. Throughout 2021, the Administration ensured that rural Americans who needed coverage could sign up for it, including through the most recent HealthCare.gov Open Enrollment period in which over 1.8 million rural Americans enrolled in coverage. The President’s plan builds on that progress, expanding Medicaid coverage in those states that have refused to expand it. Closing this gap is estimated to reduce the risk of rural hospital closure by 62%. Rural hospital closures deprive people living in rural areas of crucial services, including access to emergency care. To fill this gap, HHS will establish a new provider type, Rural Emergency Hospitals, which will allow facilities to offer emergency department services, observation care, and/or outpatient services in rural areas.
     
  • Support rural health care providers. The American Rescue Plan provided $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan funding to help compensate health care providers who serve rural Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) patients for lost revenue and increased expenses associated with COVID-19. In December 2021, HHS announced that it distributed $7.5 billion of these funds to 40,000 providers in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and six territories. These funds help ensure that providers can effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including supporting recruitment and retention efforts amidst workforce shortages and staff burnout, and place them on stable financial footing to continue serving their communities into the future.
     
  • Increase the number of health care providers in rural communities. The Administration made a historic $1.5 billion investment, including $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan, in its health workforce loan repayment and scholarship programs. More than 22,700 primary care clinicians funded by these programs now serve in underserved communities, including rural and tribal communities—the largest number ever. This group of health care providers includes nearly 20,000 National Health Service Corps members, more than 2,500 Nurse Corps nurses, and approximately 250 awardees under a new program, the Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Loan Repayment Program. Currently, one-third of HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration workforce serves in a rural community where health care access may be especially limited or require patients to travel long distances to receive treatment. HHS is also making $48 million from the American Rescue Plan available to expand public health capacity in rural and tribal communities through health care job development, training, and placement. This will increase the number of well-trained health care professionals and connect them with future employers, including hospitals and clinics in rural areas.
     
  • Expand access to pulmonary rehabilitation services. This year, HHS will support a demonstration project to enhance access to pulmonary rehabilitation services in Critical Access Hospitals that serve rural communities with high rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., and adults in rural areas are almost twice as likely to have it compared to those in urban areas.
     
  • Expand Veterans Affairs training programs for rural providers outside of the VA system. The Rural Interprofessional Faculty Development Initiative, developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is an innovative two-year training program designed to provide teaching and training skills for clinicians in rural settings, preparing rural clinicians to take on faculty roles, mentor medical professionals to serve in rural America, and grow the healthcare workforce in rural communities. In 2021, VA launched a new joint initiative with HHS, adding non-VA community clinicians to the program. This joint initiative will benefit up to 40 rural communities each year and enable rural clinicians to better train the next generation of clinicians who will serve rural America.
     
  • Increase access to telehealth. Telehealth services greatly increased during the pandemic and the Biden-Harris Administration has issued several telehealth supports including research conducted by NIH; funding for broadband, smart phones and internet connectivity; and an expansion of eligible services that can be delivered via telehealth, including a new rule that expands access to tele-mental health services for Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare will also now pay for mental health visits furnished via telehealth when they are provided by Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers. This policy expands access to Medicare beneficiaries, especially those living in rural and other underserved areas.
     
  • Ensure access to effective treatment and recovery for substance use disorders. In January, HHS announced the availability of $13 million in funding to increase access to behavioral health care services and address health inequities in rural America, including through evidence-based, trauma-informed treatment for substance use disorder.
     
  • Address America’s mental health crisis. Through the American Rescue Plan, the Administration has made significant investments in expanding access to mental health and substance use services. The President’s FY22 budget also calls for investments in the mental health care workforce that will help address the shortage of professionals in rural and underserved areas. The Administration is committed to additional actions to address the mental health crisis by building workforce capacity, connecting more people to care, and creating a continuum of support for all Americans.
     
  • Support states in making public health investments through the American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. Over two thirds of states and hundreds of communities have already committed funds from the American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to address public health needs in their communities. For example, the State of Colorado is investing in an online training curriculum for providers in rural areas on mental health and substance use disorders to improve behavioral health supports. Bowie County, TX partnered with Christus St. Michael Hospital to provide vaccines at the hospital facility and several mobile vaccine clinics throughout the county, to reach the rural area of the county.

 
Rebuilding rural America’s infrastructure with a once-in-a-generation investment

For far too long, critical infrastructure needs in rural communities have been ignored. Building on an initial investment in the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers on the President’s promises to provide high speed internet, safe roads and bridges, modern wastewater systems, clean drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity, and good paying jobs in every rural community. A generational investment in rural America, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will spend billions of dollars to revitalize and rebuild rural communities across the country.

  • Provide high-speed internet to every home and making internet affordable for low-income rural Americans. By one definition, more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds – a particular problem in rural areas across the country. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $65 billion to make high-speed internet available to all Americans, bring down high-speed internet prices across the board, and provide technical assistance to rural communities seeking to expand broadband. In addition, it will help families afford internet service by providing eligible households with a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet services, as well as a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop or tablet.
  • Invest in critical rural broadband and water infrastructure through the American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. Through the American Rescue Plan’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, 20 states have expanded access to high-speed internet and 21 states are improving water and sewer infrastructure, including lead removal. Additionally, many local communities are leveraging American Rescue Plan funds to expand broadband services in rural areas. For example, Kandiyohi County, MN made an initial $1.3 million investment in a project that will expand high-speed broadband to rural townships. Miami County, FL allocated $1.4 million to help fund an expansion of high-speed internet to rural parts of the county, including to underserved students in low-income areas. Oconto County, WI approved $2 million to provide high-speed wireless internet to underserved rural areas.
     
  • Create good-paying jobs cleaning up legacy pollution in rural communities. The President is committed to creating good-paying jobs in rural communities across the country and ensuring those communities are safe, high-quality places to live. Legacy pollution from industries that extracted natural resources from rural areas and left behind huge quantities of environmental degradation has held back the economic growth and success of rural communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is creating good-paying jobs cleaning up these sites by investing $4.7 billion through an interagency initiative to plug, remediate, and restore dangerous orphan well sites across the country; nearly $11.3 billion to create good-paying union jobs and catalyze economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands; and $1 billion to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country.
     
  • Improve rural Americans’ access to transit systems and functional highway systems to they can get to school and work and bring their products to market. Limited access to transportation options in rural and remote areas impedes American’s access to jobs, basic services, and their communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests billions of dollars to make sure rural families can get where they need to go, including through a $4.58 billion investment in Rural Area Formula Grants at the Department of Transportation (DOT). This program will support 1,300 rural transit systems by enabling them to purchase transit vehicles and infrastructure, plan transit more effectively, and fund operations. This investment builds on $282 million in American Rescue Plan funding that helped rural transit systems maintain and restore service during the pandemic.
     
  • Ensure clean drinking water and basic sanitation in rural homes. Across the country, including in rural and Tribal communities, pipes and treatment plants are aging and polluted drinking water endanger public health. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s transformative $55 billion investment in our water and wastewater infrastructure will fundamentally change quality of life for millions of Americans by eliminating lead pipes, providing critical access to sanitation, ensuring access to affordable clean drinking water, and reducing drought.
     
  • Build rural communities resilient to natural disasters and the threats of climate change. Last year, the United States faced 22 extreme weather and climate-related disaster events with losses over $1 billion – a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion. These included damaging floods, wildfires, and wind storms across rural America. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will improve the resilience of rural communities by investing $3.5 billion to improve home energy efficiency for low-income families, reducing energy costs, improving household comfort and safety, and cutting pollution.
     
  • Invest in resilience and restoration on national forest lands. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will restore our national forests through the planting of 1.2 billion trees over the next decade, coupled with landmark investments in science-based hazardous fuels treatments that will protect communities from wildfire. The resources in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide a critical down payment to implement the USDA Forest Service’s 10-year strategy to reduce wildfire, which has a goal of treating 50 million acres across Federal and non-Federal lands. 
     
  • Provide high-quality, safe roads and bridges for rural communities. While Americans living in rural areas account for just 20% of the population, they comprise nearly half of all roadway fatalities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will deliver safer roads, bridges, railway crossings, and other critical improvement to the quality and safety of our roadways. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also invests $1.2 billion to complete the Appalachian Development Highway System, connecting the rural regions of Appalachia, creating jobs, and linking businesses with domestic and international markets.
     
  • Upgrade electric and transmission infrastructure in rural America. Power outages cost the U.S. economy up to $70 billion annually. For example, the recent Texas power outages caused estimated losses of up to $90 billion for the state. At times, rural communities can be without power for days during these outages. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $1 billion in Energy Improvement in Rural or Remote Areas to support entities in rural or remote areas to increase environmental protection from the impacts of energy use and improve resilience, reliability, safety, and availability of energy.
     
  • Explore the use of materials made from bioproducts to open up new market opportunities for farmers. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $10 million in grants to support research on the economic, social and environmental benefits of using materials derived from bioproducts in the development and manufacturing of construction and consumer products.

 
Strengthening the food system and creating market opportunities for America’s farmers, ranchers and foresters

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, American farmers, ranchers, processors, farmworkers, and other workers across the supply chain continued to adapt and put food on the table for American families, despite disruptions and other challenges. The Biden-Harris Administration is building on lessons learned during the pandemic to transform the food system so that it is more competitive, balanced, and equitable for everyone working in food and agriculture.

  • Address supply chain disruptions for families and farmers. As part of a whole-of-government response to tackle new and emerging near-term supply chain disruptions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and historic economic recovery, President Biden established a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force in June, bringing together industry, labor, and federal partners to alleviate bottlenecks and higher input costs for farmers, address rising prices at the grocery store, and support agricultural exporters. For example, USDA is leveraging $100 million in American Rescue Plan funds to offer a Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program, making available nearly $1 billion in loan guarantees to back private investment in processing and food supply infrastructure that will strengthen the food supply chain for the American people and create jobs in rural communities.
     
  • Advance equity in agriculture. In February 2022, USDA held the first meeting of the new USDA Equity Commission, which is supported by the American Rescue Plan and will evaluate USDA programs and services and recommend how USDA can reduce barriers for accessing them.  Additionally, USDA has begun to deploy American Rescue Plan funds to support technical assistance and access to land, credit, and markets for historically underserved producers. USDA provided $50 million in Natural Resource Conservation Funds to organizations working with underserved communities and another approximately $75 million in American Rescue Plan funding to 20 organizations to provide technical assistance to connect underserved producers with USDA programs and services. Additionally, in July 2021, USDA rolled out the Heirs’ Property Relending Program, which provides funds to assist heirs in resolving ownership and succession issues on farmland with multiple owners.
     
  • Support a fairer, more competitive, and more resilient meat and poultry supply chain. In, January 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced its Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain, outlining how USDA will invest an additional $900 million in American Rescue Plan funding. As part of this effort, USDA recently announced $150 million in grants for new and expanded processing through a new Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program, $25 million to provide technical assistance support, and $40 million to support workforce development and training, including at community and junior colleges and Minority-Serving Institutions. As part of the Action Plan, USDA will invest $500 million in additional grants and lending to further strengthen financing for independent processing, along with $85 million in additional funding for workforce development and to promote innovation in this sector. This work builds on the $100 million already available to reduce overtime and holiday inspection fees to help small processing plants keep up with unprecedented demand. This also builds on USDA’s December 2021 announcement of $32 million in pandemic assistance funds to more than 160 meat and poultry processors, helping them get federally inspected so they can reach more customers.
     
  • Issue stronger rules under the Packers & Stockyards Act and new rulemaking on “Product of USA” labeling to protect farmers, ranchers, and consumers, as well as promote an all-of-government approach to strengthening competition. USDA has begun work on three proposed rules to provide greater clarity and strengthen enforcement under the Packers & Stockyards Act, and USDA will also pursue rulemaking to ensure the “Product of USA” label for meat products meets consumer expectations and allows for fair and competitive markets. In February 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and USDA launched a new joint initiative to better coordinate their enforcement efforts, including a new portal—FarmerFairness.gov—for reporting concerns about potential violations of competition laws. And today, the President is announcing an historic agreement between the DOJ and the Federal Maritime Commission to put more cops on the beat to ensure large, foreign ocean carriers cannot take advantage of U.S. farmers, businesses, and consumers.
     
  • Ensuring nutritious food gets to those who need it while opening up new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. In December 2021, USDA committed $1.5 billion in funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation to help schools make direct food purchases and access food purchased by USDA and will also invest in cooperative agreements with state and Tribal governments to purchase foods from local underserved producers. All purchases will support domestic agriculture. Additionally, in December 2021, USDA announced a new Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program that will award up to $400 million for emergency food assistance purchases of domestic local foods. Utilizing American Rescue Plan funds, these purchases will expand local and regional markets and place an emphasis on purchasing from historically underserved farmers and ranchers.
     
  • Ensuring all of agriculture benefits from financial assistance to address the impacts of COVID-19. The pandemic affected all of agriculture, but many farmers did not benefit from previous rounds of pandemic-related assistance under the previous administration’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The Biden-Harris Administration worked to fill those gaps to help get financial assistance to a broader set of producers, including to underserved communities, small and medium sized producers, and farmers and producers of less traditional crops. USDA announced ‘Pandemic Assistance for Producers’ to distribute resources more equitably and committed to directing at least $6 billion to the agricultural producers and sectors that needed assistance the most. This includes re-opening signup for CFAP2, $700 million in grants to provide relief to farm and food workers affected by COVID-19; $700 million to provide relief for small producers, processors, farmers markets and seafood vessels affected by COVID-19; and $2 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to historically underserved farmers and ranchers. As a result, there was a fourfold increase in participation among historically underserved producers in CFAP2 since April 2021.  
     
  • Invest in farmworker training. DOL’s National Farmworker Jobs Program provides grants to community-based organizations and public agencies to enable farmworkers to receive skills training, career services and other critical services like housing assistance to help them obtain, retain and advance in the agricultural sector. DOL awarded $87 million in career services and training grants across the United States and Puerto Rico and $6.2 million in housing grants.
  • Pay farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to be part of the solution to climate change. In February 2022, USDA launched a $1 billion investment in partnerships to support America’s climate-smart farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. The new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity will finance pilot projects that create market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forestry products that use climate-smart production practices and include innovative, cost-effective ways to measure and verify greenhouse gas benefits. USDA has also invested $50 million in new 118 partnerships to expand access to conservation assistance for climate-smart agriculture and forestry. The new Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements will fund two-year projects to expand the delivery of conservation assistance to farmers who are new to farming, low-income, historically underserved, or military veterans.
  • Reward farmers, ranchers, and forest owners for their voluntary conservation efforts. Recognizing the critical role that America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest-owners play in the stewardship of the nation’s lands, waters, and wildlife, the Administration is, as part of the President’s America the Beautiful Initiative, expanding support for voluntary conservation efforts on private lands. USDA, for example, has made changes to its Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program to remove barriers to access and provide partners increased flexibility to participate in and benefit from the program.  USDA enrolled 5.3 million new acres in the Conservation Reserve Program by raising rental payment rates and expanding the number of incentivized environmental practices allowed under the program. 
     
  • Support renewable fuel producers and infrastructure. USDA has dedicated $700 million to provide economic relief to biofuel producers and restore renewable fuel markets affected by the pandemic, and committed to $100 million to increase the sales and use of higher blends of bioethanol and biodiesel by expanding the infrastructure for renewable fuels derived from U.S. agricultural products.
     
  • Facilitate U.S. agricultural products in reaching export markets. USDA is working with the Port of Oakland to set up a new “pop-up” site to make it easier for agricultural companies to fill empty shipping containers. The new site, supported by Commodity Credit Corporation funds, will provide access to equipment and provide trucks faster turns without having to wait for in-terminal space. The Port of Oakland is a potential model for other ports experiencing similar issues. The Administration also continues to call on ocean carriers to mitigate disruptions to agricultural shippers by restoring full and fair service to the Port of Oakland. In addition, over $600 million in American Rescue Plan resources have already been announced to strengthen the port workforce and improve facility efficiency at our most critical ports, from California and Florida to Massachusetts and Louisiana.
     
  • Ensure trade rules work for American farmers and ranchers. The United States prevailed in the first dispute settlement panel proceeding under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), bringing the U.S. dairy sector one step closer to realizing the full benefits of the USMCA. The Administration scored another trade policy win when Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Hanoi in August 2021, securing a commitment from the Vietnamese government to reduce tariffs on U.S. agricultural products. This will give U.S. corn, wheat, and pork producers greater access to our seventh-largest agricultural export market, in line with competitors from countries that have free trade agreements with Vietnam. These actions contributed to a record-shattering $177 billion in exports of U.S. farm and food products in 2021.

Biden in SOTU to Highlight Clean Energy Manufacturing and Deployment Investments that Cut Consumer Costs, Strengthen US Energy Sector and Create Good-Paying Jobs

President Joe Biden with Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi at his Speech to the Nation in 2021. This year’s SOTU, the President’s first, will be mask-optional, evidence of the Administration’s progress in ending the worst ravages of the coronavirus pandemic  © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc.

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine likely to take up a large measure of President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union speech, he is unlikely to have enough time or space to detail his accomplishments and his agenda going forward. Here are more details from the White House about what the President will say about clean energy manufacturing, strengthening the US energy sector, and cutting consumer costs and creating good-paying jobs:

President Biden campaigned on a bold vision of tackling the climate crisis with the urgency that science demands by seizing the opportunity to build a strong domestic energy sector that can manufacture and deploy clean energy for the benefit of all Americans—with lower costs for families, good-paying jobs for workers, and healthier air and cleaner water for communities.

Since Day One, he has delivered. After rejoining the Paris Agreement, restoring scientific integrity, and reinvigorating U.S. leadership on the world stage, President Biden mobilized every federal agency to achieve groundbreaking goals: reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% below 2005 levels in 2030, reaching 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035, and delivering 40% of the benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. The President formed the first-ever National Climate Task Force, bringing together Cabinet leaders to drive decisive action toward those goals.

Alongside historic executive actions, President Biden also made climate action and environmental justice a centerpiece of his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—which includes the largest federal investments ever in upgrading the power grid, improving public transit and investing in zero-emission transit and school buses, installing a nationwide EV charging network, cleaning up legacy pollution, delivering clean water and replacing lead pipes, demonstrating innovative climate technologies, and increasing climate resilience to safeguard against extreme weather, which last year caused more than $145 billion in damages from the biggest 20 disasters alone.

CALLING ON CONGRESS TO DELIVER

President Biden knows that we need to move even faster to combat climate change—and that to meet the moment and fully seize the economic opportunity in front of us, Congress must act. In his first State of the Union address, the President will call on Congress to deliver on a legislative agenda for clean energy and climate action that has overwhelming support from the American people—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.

Specifically, the President will lift up the benefits we can secure for American consumers, companies, and communities by enacting critical investments and tax credits for domestic clean energy manufacturing and deployment. He will also highlight how the investments and tax credits would cut energy costs for American families an average of $500 per year.

As part of the President’s unwavering support for climate solutions, these investments will reduce emissions, lower costs for families, create good-paying jobs for workers, and advance environmental justice.

BOLD ACTIONS TWO MONTHS INTO 2022

As the President works with Congress to deliver on this legislative agenda, he will continue taking decisive and bold action—building on the surge of momentum he has spearheaded to tackle the climate crisis. During just the first two months of 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration:

  • Announced actions from seven agencies on clean energy deployment, including new investments and partnerships to advance offshore wind; steps to fast-track solar, onshore wind, and geothermal energy on public lands; and the “Building a Better Grid” initiative to build out long-distance transmission lines and unlock clean energy resources.
     
  • Launched the Building Performance Standards Coalition with more than 30 state and local governments to reduce emissions, create good-paying union jobs in energy efficiency and electrification, and lower energy bills, with federal assistance for policy design and implementation.
     
  • Built on the Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan by announcing an initial $1.15 billion to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells, $725 million to reclaim abandoned mine lands, a new interagency initiative on measurement and monitoring of methane and other greenhouse emissions, enforcement efforts to minimize methane emissions from pipeline systems, and more. 
     
  • Advanced America’s electric vehicle future, standing with CEOs to announce new manufacturing facilities for electric vehicles, batteries, and chargers and issuing state allocations and guidance for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program.
     
  • Convened a roundtable of electric utility CEOs to discuss their support for Congressional investments in clean energy to reduce costs for families, make the power grid more resilient and reliable, and advance American innovation, job creation, and economic competitiveness.
     
  • Took major steps to reduce industrial emissions and advance clean manufacturing, including clean hydrogen investments, the first Buy Clean Task Force for federal purchasing of low-carbon construction materials, progress on carbon-based trade policies to reward clean steel and aluminum manufacturing, guidance on responsible deployment of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration technologies, and new initiatives to ensure that industrial innovation benefits American workers and communities.
     
  • Released the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool for public feedback, to help agencies deliver benefits to disadvantaged communities and fulfill the President’s Justice40 commitment.
     
  • Announced major investments to secure a Made in America supply chain for critical minerals and sustainably source key inputs (including lithium and rare earth elements) for clean energy technologies like batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels. This includes taking action to update outdated mining regulations and laws to ensure that extraction and production adheres to strong environmental, labor, and community and Tribal engagement standards.
     
  • Released America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy Transition, a first-of-its-kind energy sector industrial base strategy, which includes the creation of a new Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains Office at the Department of Energy to strengthen, secure, and modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure and support clean energy manufacturing jobs.
     
  • Held a record-shattering offshore wind auction in the New York Bight, with winning bids for six lease areas totaling $4.37 billion, signaling the arrival of a strong American industry that’s here to stay. Innovative lease stipulations will promote projects built with union labor and Made in America materials, and these projects will generate clean electricity to power millions of homes.

HISTORIC YEAR OF PROGRESS
This wave of climate action to kick off 2022 builds on historic progress President Biden achieved during his first year in office, when he:

Established whole-of-government initiatives to: lead by example across the federal vehicle fleet, buildings, and procurement; conserve 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030; and build resilience to extreme heatdroughtwildfiresfloods, and coastal impacts.

Biden-Harris Administration Sets Offshore Energy Records with $4.37 Billion in Winning Bids for Wind Sale

New York Bight lease sale has potential to power nearly two million homes

Republicans like Congressman Lee Zeldin, who is seeking to take over as Governor of New York, are still wedded to fossil fuels and determined if they regain control, to reverse course on efforts to transition to a clean renewable energy economy, society, and environment and stem the tide of climate change. This was clear when Zeldin chided President Joe Biden at a pro-Ukraine rally in Long Island for canceling the Keystone Pipeline, which he somehow suggested would have countered impact of sanctions against Nordstrom 2.

But even as Biden leads a global alliance to counter Putin’s criminal aggression against Ukraine, and makes a historic nomination of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, makes historic investments in infrastructure to clean up the environment, develop the economy, promote competition and address supply chain issues, his administration is forging ahead with historic climate actions. In the latest, the administration reports setting records for offshore energy development with $4.37 billion in winning bids for wind sale.

Of course, the correct answer to reducing dependency on fossil fuel is what the Biden-Harris Administration is doing: transitioning to clean, renewable energy that can be generated in localities, so less vulnerable to geopolitics and cyberattacks.

This is from the Department of the Interior:

Long Island climate activists raise a wind turbine outside Long Island Power Authority’s offices back in 2016 (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior announced the results of the nation’s highest-grossing competitive offshore energy lease sale in history, including oil and gas lease sales, with the New York Bight offshore wind sale. These results are a major milestone towards achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of reaching 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. Today’s lease sale offered six lease areas totaling over 488,000 acres in the New York Bight for potential wind energy development and drew competitive winning bids from six companies totaling approximately $4.37 billion.

A recent report indicates that the United States’ growing offshore wind energy industry presents a $109 billion revenue opportunity to businesses in the supply chain over the next decade.

“This week’s offshore wind sale makes one thing clear: the enthusiasm for the clean energy economy is undeniable and it’s here to stay,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The investments we are seeing today will play an important role in delivering on the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis and create thousands of good-paying, union jobs across the nation.”

The provisional winners of today’s lease sale are:

Provisional Winner Lease Area Acres Winning Bid 
OW Ocean Winds East, LLC OCS-A 0537 71,522 $765,000,000 
Attentive Energy LLC OCS-A 0538 84,332 $795,000,000 
Bight Wind Holdings, LLC OCS-A 0539 125,964 $1,100,000,000 
Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Bight, LLC OCS-A 0541 79,351 $780,000,000 
Invenergy Wind Offshore LLC OCS-A 0542 83,976 $645,000,000 
Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind LLC OCS-A 0544 43,056 $285,000,000 

A map of the lease areas auctioned today can be found on the BOEM website.

Before the leases are finalized, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission will conduct an anti-competitiveness review of the auction, and the provisional winners will be required to pay the winning bids and provide financial assurance to Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The New York Bight offshore wind leases include innovative stipulations designed to promote the development of a robust domestic U.S. supply chain for offshore wind energy and enhance engagement with Tribes, the commercial fishing industry, other ocean users and underserved communities. The stipulations will also advance flexibility in transmission planning. Stipulations include incentives to source major components domestically – such as blades, turbines and foundations – and to enter into project labor agreements to ensure projects are union-built.

“We must have a robust and resilient domestic offshore wind supply chain to deliver good-paying, union jobs and the economic benefits to residents in the region,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “Because we understand the value of meaningful community engagement, we are requiring lessees to report their engagement activities to BOEM, specifically noting how they’re incorporating any feedback into their future plans.”

On Jan. 12, Secretary Haaland, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a shared vision for developing a robust offshore wind energy domestic supply chain that will deliver benefits to residents of New York and New Jersey and the surrounding region, including underserved communities. This collaboration will serve as a model for future engagement and establish the U.S. as a major player in the global offshore wind energy market.

To advance the Interior Department’s environmental justice and economic empowerment goals, lessees will be required to identify and make efforts to engage with Tribes, underserved communities, and other ocean users who could be affected by offshore wind energy development. The Department will hold companies accountable for improving their engagement, communication and transparency with these communities.

These additions are intended to promote offshore wind energy development in a way that coexists with other ocean uses and protects the ocean environment, while also securing our nation’s energy future for generations to come.
BOEM initially asked for information and nominations of commercial interest on 1.7 million acres in the New York Bight. Based on BOEM’s review of scientific data and extensive input from the commercial fishing industry, Tribes, partnering agencies, key stakeholders, and the public, BOEM reduced the acreage offered for lease by 72% to avoid conflicts with ocean users and minimize environmental impacts. BOEM will continue to engage with the public, ocean users, and key stakeholders as the process unfolds.

The Administration has already made significant progress toward creating a pipeline of projects. It has approved and celebrated the groundbreaking of the nation’s first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects in federal waters: the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project and the 130-megawatt South Fork Wind project. BOEM expects to review at least 16 plans to construct and operate commercial offshore wind energy facilities by 2025, which would represent more than 22 GW of clean energy for the nation.

In addition, this past fall Secretary Haaland announced a new leasing path forward, which identified up to seven potential lease sales by 2025, including the New York Bight and offshore the Carolinas and California later this year, to be followed by lease sales for the Central Atlantic, Gulf of Maine, the Gulf of Mexico, and offshore Oregon.

More information about today’s auction can be found on BOEM’s website.