Category Archives: Climate Action

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.

NY Governor Hochul Announces Start of Construction of State’s First Offshore Wind Project

South Fork Wind Project to Kickstart New York’s Offshore Wind Industry, Provide Clean Energy to Long Island

Supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act Goal to Develop 9,000 Megawatts of Offshore Wind by 2035

Back in 2017, Long Island advocates for offshore windpower cheered the Long Island Power Authority for contracting to move forward with wind energy and begin to move away from fossil-fuel powered energy.Then the Trump Administration reversed course. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, alongside United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and other elected officials, on February 11 celebrated the start of construction of South Fork Wind, New York’s first offshore wind project, jointly developed by Ørsted and Eversource off the coast of Long Island. Building on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) January issuance of the Final Sale Notice for the New York Bight, the recent key offshore wind contract milestone, and the State of the State announcement of a nation-leading $500 million investment in offshore wind ports, manufacturing, and supply chain infrastructure to accompany New York’s next offshore wind solicitation, New York continues to advance the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.  

“The harsh impacts and costly realities of climate change are all too familiar on Long Island, but today as we break ground on New York’s first offshore wind project we are delivering on the promise of a cleaner, greener path forward that will benefit generations to come,” Governor Hochul said. “South Fork Wind will eliminate up to six million tons of carbon emissions over the next twenty-five years benefiting not only the Empire State, but our nation as a whole. This project will also create hundreds of good-paying jobs, helping spur economic growth across the region as we continue to recover from COVID-19. This is a historic day for New York, and I look forward to continue working with Secretary Haaland as we lead our nation toward a greener, brighter future for all.”  

“America’s clean energy transition is not a dream for a distant future – it is happening right here and now,” US Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said. “Offshore wind will power our communities, advance our environmental justice goals, and stimulate our economy by creating thousands of good-paying union jobs across the nation. This is one of many actions we are taking in pursuit of the President’s goal to improve both the lives of American families and the health of our planet.”

The Governor, who made today’s announcement in Wainscott, celebrated South Fork Wind kickstarting New York’s offshore wind generation when it becomes operational in late 2023. South Fork Wind will be one of the first commercial-scale offshore wind projects to commence operation in North America. Selected under a 2015 Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) request for proposals to address growing power needs on the east end of Long Island, the project will be located about 35 miles east of Montauk Point and its 12 Siemens-Gamesa 11 MW turbines will generate approximately 130 megawatts of power – enough to power over 70,000 homes. Its transmission system will deliver clean energy directly to the electric grid in the Town of East Hampton. Over a 25-year period, South Fork Wind is expected to eliminate up to six million tons of carbon emissions, or the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road annually.

NYSERDA President & CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “With construction beginning on the South Fork Wind project, we are solidifying New York State’s clean energy vision and blazing a trail as we lead the nation in offshore wind development. As our state’s first offshore wind project, South Fork is helping to usher in the grid of the future as New York continues to build the most robust offshore wind project and supply chain in the nation, strengthen workforce development and partnerships with labor to provide a pipeline of talent for these critical projects, and establish the green economy that will power New York for years to come.”

Long Island Power Authority CEO Thomas Falcone said,”In 2017, the forward-thinking approach of the LIPA Board of Trustees led to the approval of the South Fork Wind project at a time when there were no other power purchase agreements for offshore wind in the country,” Long Island Power Authority CEO Thomas Falcone said. “As the first offshore wind farm in New York, South Fork Wind is the beginning of a new industry for our region that will be vital to New York meeting its goal of a zero-carbon electric grid by 2040.”

Indeed, the campaign to get offshore wind power for Long Island and New York State has been years in the making – activists had to battle back against efforts by fossil fuel industry to create NLG terminals in the very area the best in the nation for an offshore wind farm. But just as everything was in place, in 2017, Trump reversed course on promoting clean, renewable energy in favor of fossil fuel and even reignited the prospect of off-shore drilling. The Biden Administration moved swiftly to restart offshore windpower – in California and in New York, seeing the benefits of climate-action initiatives as not only protecting the environment and the economy but promoting jobs.

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said,”New York is setting the example for the nation on tapping into the potential of offshore wind to help meet our energy needs while the state transitions to a cleaner, greener energy future. South Fork Wind is an exciting and transformative project that will help achieve our state’s ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ramp up renewable energy sources while safeguarding our natural resources and driving new economic opportunities here on Long Island and across the state.” 

“South Fork Wind’s groundbreaking is a historic milestone for New York’s offshore wind industry and for all New Yorkers in our efforts to address climate change,” Acting Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said. “The Department of State continues to work with our stakeholders and government partners to minimize potential project impacts and avoid disruptions to our coastal economy as we transition to a cleaner, greener future. Through our combined efforts, New Yorkers will continue to enjoy Long Island’s pristine beaches and the rich ocean resources off our State as we reduce the State’s carbon footprint.”

“This significant milestone solidifies New York’s global leadership in the clean economy,” New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. “The groundwork we lay today is creating new, exciting employment opportunities for New Yorkers while also protecting our environment for future generations. As Co-chair for the Just Transition Working Group, I thank Governor Hochul for leading the charge and for her unending commitment to ensuring the inclusion of disadvantaged communities in this movement.”

Public Service Commission Chair Rory M. Christian said, “The South Fork project will play a key role in developing much needed clean-energy for New York State and it will help New York achieve its nation-leading renewable energy goals while creating jobs and opportunities for individuals and industries. South Fork is a win for Long Island, and a win for all New Yorkers.”

Office of General Services (OGS) Commissioner Jeanette M. Moy said, “The start of the first off-shore wind project in New York State demonstrates Governor Hochul’s strong commitment to meeting the challenges of sustainability and ensuring New York’s future is green. OGS is proud to have a role in the South Fork Wind project and in advancing the State’s forward-looking climate and green-energy initiatives.”

“Offshore wind is crucial to fueling a green economy and promoting sustainable economic opportunities,” Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said. “The start of construction at New York State’s first offshore wind project at South Fork Wind signifies at important step towards achieving clean energy goals and creating green jobs, which advances Empire State Development’s mission to prepare our economy for the future. With today’s announcement, New York State will continue to be leaders in the fight against climate change while strengthening our standing in offshore wind manufacturing.”

This milestone follows BOEM’s approval last month of the project’s Construction and Operations Plan (COP). The COP outlines the project’s one nautical mile turbine spacing, the requirements on the construction methodology for all work occurring in federal ocean waters, and mitigation measures to protect marine habitats and species. BOEM’s final approval of the COP follows the agency’s November 2021 issuance of the Record of Decision, which concluded the thorough BOEM-led environmental review of the project.

Senator Todd Kaminsky said,”Today’s announcement helps solidify New York as a leader in the green economy. The CLCPA set the most aggressive goals in the country and offshore wind on Long Island is central to meeting them. This project is a catalyst and shows that you can think big and get it done on Long Island.”

Assemblymember Steve Englebright said,”The South Fork Wind Project is a key first step to our state’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases and meeting the challenge of climate change. I applaud Governor Hochul’s vision and determination to advance and enhance New York’s renewable wind energy portfolio.” 

Assemblymember Fred Thiele said,”I’m proud to say that Long Island is an emerging trailblazer in renewable energy and will soon lead the state and the nation in offshore wind energy production. South Fork Wind Farm opens an exciting new chapter for us here on the East End, and I look forward to soon having a greener grid powered by this historic investment. I thank Governor Hochul for her continuous leadership and support.”

“Long Island has been a leader in all things clean energy, and as we begin construction on New York’s first wind farm, we are changing how we power our homes and businesses here in Suffolk,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. ”This historic project, which puts Suffolk County at the heart of the offshore wind industry and will power roughly 70,000 homes, is a major victory for our economy, for labor, and for our environment as we remain committed to addressing the impacts of climate change on our region.”

East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said,”In 2014 East Hampton was the first municipality in New York to adopt a 100% renewable energy goal. Today, with the beginning of the construction of New York’s first offshore wind farm we are very close to reaching that goal. We applaud Governor Hochul’s nation leading investment in offshore wind energy which puts New York at the forefront of our country’s efforts to combat climate change.”

New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe said,Today, we are moving from concept to reality with the groundbreaking of South Fork Wind Farm, New York’s first offshore wind project. Congratulations to Ørstedand Eversource! This day is the culmination of years of perseverance to launch this project and new industry that will change the way we power our economy. We have a long way to go to meet our climate goals, but major investments like this combined with the leadership and commitment of Governor Hochul, Secretary Haaland, and BOEM Director Lefton are setting us on the course for a clean energy revolution.”

“With the start of construction on New York’s first offshore wind farm, we continue to deliver on our vision of a new U.S. energy industry that will generate clean power, jobs, and economic opportunity,” Ørsted Offshore North America CEO David Hardy said. “I am grateful for the many champions who have supported South Fork Wind to get us to this critical moment, and for the Biden Administration and New York’s leadership and commitment to the offshore wind industry.”

Eversource Energy President & CEO Joe Nolan said, “Today we make history as we celebrate the start of construction on New York’s first offshore wind farm. As homegrown experts in regional energy transmission, we have led the way on countless infrastructure projects, but today, we commemorate something entirely new and different. For the very first time, we will be leveraging our expertise to harness the vast, untapped potential of offshore wind.”

Nassau Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council President Marty Aracich said, “The start of the construction phase for Offshore Wind marks a new era in reaching New York State’s goal of significantly reducing emissions. The skilled trades have a role by placing shovels in the ground as they implement the last leg of this relay race and position NYS to reign supreme along the Eastern Seaboard in combating climate change. Governor Hochul’s shared vision and commitment with NYSERDA enhances the alliance of Orsted/Eversource and North America’s Building Trades Unions. New York State remains focused on providing opportunities that will create a local workforce leading to a brighter, cleaner future for generations to come. Many thanks to Governor Hochul, Secretary of Interior Deb Harland, Amanda Lefton, Doreen Harris, and our partners in Labor for providing leadership as well as a moral compass guiding the earth on a path to heal itself.”

Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO President John R. Durso said,”This is a victory for Long Island and all New Yorkers. This is not only a crucial step forward in the fight against climate change, but it means jobs and new clean energy resources on Long Island where it is needed most. After many years of hard work in planning and development by Ørsted and Eversource, with support from labor and community allies, we are realizing the success we have all been waiting for.”

South Fork Wind will be built under industry-leading project labor agreements and specific partnerships with local union organizations, ensuring local union labor’s participation in all phases of construction on the project. Onshore construction activities for the project’s underground duct bank system and interconnection facility are the first to begin and will source construction labor from local union hiring halls. Ørsted and Eversource reached these provisions and protections working closely with a range of external organizations and experts, a commitment the companies carry to all stakeholder relationships to support coexistence.

Long Island-based contractor Haugland Energy Group LLC (an affiliate of Haugland Group LLC) was selected to install the duct bank system for the project’s underground onshore transmission line and lead the construction of the onshore interconnection facility located in East Hampton. This agreement will create more than 100 union jobs for Long Island skilled trades workers, including heavy equipment operators, electricians, lineworkers, and local delivery drivers who will support transportation of materials to the project site. Fabrication of the project’s offshore substation is already underway.

New York State has five offshore wind projects in active development, the largest portfolio in the nation. This current portfolio totals more than 4,300 megawatts and will power more than 2.4 million New York homes, and it is expected to bring a combined economic impact of $12.1 billion to the state. The projects are also expected to create more than 6,800 jobs in project development, component manufacturing, installation, and operations and maintenance. Achieving the State’s 9,000 megawatt by 2035 goal will generate enough offshore wind energy to power approximately 30 percent of New York State’s electricity needs, equivalent to nearly 6 million New York State homes, and spur approximately 10,000 jobs.

New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality.

It builds on New York’s unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.

Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.

Biden-Harris Administration Advances Cleaner Industrial Sector to Reduce Emissions and Reinvigorate American Manufacturing

New Pro-Climate, Pro-Worker Actions Create Jobs and Harness the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Federal Purchasing Power, and Trade Policy

The Biden-Harris Administration announced new actions across agencies to support American leadership on clean manufacturing—including low-carbon production of the steel and aluminum needed for electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels, and the clean concrete needed to upgrade our transportation infrastructure, like New York City’s rebuilt Moynihan Station. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

We publish these fact sheets – long, detailed –  from the White House to counter the disinformation that the Biden Administration “isn’t doing anything”- especially on the issues that matter most to progressives, like climate action, jobs, workers rights and income growth aimed at reducing the enormous wealth gap. In fact, on almost a daily basis, the administration – without the help of a paralyzed, dysfunctional Congress – is accomplishing significant reforms and innovations to benefit the daily lives of Americans.- Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions across agencies to support American leadership on clean manufacturing—including low-carbon production of the steel and aluminum we need for electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels, and the clean concrete we need to upgrade our transportation infrastructure. These actions will create more good-paying jobs and follow on a historic comeback for American factories, with 367,000 manufacturing jobs added during President Biden’s first year in office, the most in nearly 30 years. Further strengthening our industrial base will revitalize local economies, lower prices for consumers, provide more pathways to the middle class through union jobs, and boost American competitiveness in global markets. 
 
The industrial sector is also central to tackling the climate crisis, as it is currently responsible for nearly a third of domestic greenhouse gas emissions. By helping manufacturers use clean energy, efficiency upgrades, and other innovative technologies to reduce emissions, the Administration is supporting cleaner industry that can produce the next generation of products and materials for a net-zero economy. These same manufacturing improvements will also protect public health, by reducing releases of air and water pollutants and toxic materials that disproportionately harm low-income households and communities of color.
 
Today’s announcements will clean up industrial processes that have long been challenging sources of pollution; create good-paying, union jobs across American manufacturing; and use domestic procurement and global trade policy to reward clean, American-made materials:

  • The Department of Energy is launching major clean hydrogen initiatives of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: $8 billion for Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs that will create jobs to expand use of clean hydrogen in the industrial sector and beyond; $1 billion for a Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis Program to reduce costs of hydrogen produced from clean electricity; and $500 million for Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling Initiatives to support equipment manufacturing and strong domestic supply chains.
     
  • The Council on Environmental Quality and White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy are establishing the first-ever Buy Clean Task Force, which will harness the federal government’s massive purchasing power to support low-carbon materials made in American factories. The General Services Administration and the Department of Transportation are also announcing new efforts to promote use of low-carbon materials in construction projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the State Department and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate are securing corporate purchasing commitments for low-carbon materials and technologies through the First Movers Coalition.
     
  • The Administration is advancing carbon-based trade policies to reward American manufacturers of clean steel and aluminum. Working with the European Union, the Administration is taking steps to align global trade with climate goals, which will keep out dirty products and result in more jobs and lower prices for Americans.
     
  • The Council on Environmental Quality is issuing new guidance on responsible deployment of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS) technologies that can reduce emissions from heavy industry and help us achieve a net-zero economy. This guidance will support CCUS projects that create union jobs and protect communities from cumulative pollution impacts. Actions by agencies will incorporate environmental justice considerations across CCUS activities. 
     
  • To equitably advance innovation across the entire sector, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is launching a new Initiative for Interdisciplinary Industrial Decarbonization Research with a focus on benefitting American workers and communities. The Department of Energy is working to establish the Industrial Technology Innovation Advisory Committee (ITIAC) to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders charged with creating a comprehensive strategy to lower the carbon footprint of America’s industrial base.

These actions and continued implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will reduce climate pollution from industrial facilities, while growing the economy and creating jobs in producing clean materials—which customers around the world are increasingly demanding.
 
With a strong foundation in place from today’s announcements, the President’s Build Back Better agenda will further boost clean manufacturing and American competitiveness for decades to come, by supporting low-carbon processes across our industrial base; driving long-term investment in our clean steel, cement, and aluminum industries; and increasing domestic production of electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, and more. Earlier this month, the House passed the America COMPETES Act, which would strengthen supply chains, lower prices, and create more manufacturing jobs, while decarbonizing the industrial sector—including through a $250 million Regional Clean Energy Innovation Program and new programs to decarbonize American steel.

Specifically, today the Administration is announcing new efforts on:
 
Accelerating Clean Hydrogen
 
Clean hydrogen can reduce emissions in many sectors of the economy, and is especially important for hard-to-decarbonize sectors and industrial processes, such as steel manufacturing. But clean hydrogen is not yet in widespread use. Targeted investments can help reduce costs, make new breakthroughs, and create jobs for American engineers, factory workers, construction workers, and others.   
 
To seize those opportunities, today the Department of Energy (DOE) is launching three major new initiatives of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law by issuing Requests for Information:

  • $8 billion for Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs: DOE will support development of networks of clean hydrogen producers, potential consumers, and connective infrastructure. These regional hubs will advance the production, processing, delivery, storage, and end-use of clean hydrogen, including innovative uses in the industrial sector. DOE will prioritize hubs that can provide significant training and long-term job opportunities for residents of the region.
     
  • $1 billion for a Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis Program: Electrolysis (using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen) allows for clean hydrogen production from carbon pollution-free power sources like wind, solar, and nuclear. This program will improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of these technologies, by supporting the entire innovation chain—from research, development, and demonstration to commercialization, and deployment.
     
  • $500 million for Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling RD&D Activities: DOE will also support American manufacturing of clean hydrogen equipment, including projects that improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness and support domestic supply chains for key components, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing Initiative. DOE is also launching Clean Hydrogen Technology Recycling Research, Development, and Demonstration activities, to fund innovative approaches to increase the reuse and recycling of clean hydrogen technologies.

These Requests for Information will gather feedback from stakeholders and communities on future implementation and priorities for DOE to consider as it moves forward with maximizing the benefits of the historic clean hydrogen programs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
 
To further support DOE’s Hydrogen Shot to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 for one kilogram in one decade, last week DOE announced $28 million for R&D and front-end engineering design projects to advance clean hydrogen in industrial uses, as well as the transportation and electricity sectors. DOE’s new H2 Matchmaker resource is helping clean hydrogen producers, end-users, and others find opportunities to develop networks of production, storage, and transportation infrastructure. H2 Matchmaker displays a map using information received through an online form, which stakeholders can use to connect with others nearby.
 
The Administration’s Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization is bringing together stakeholders from across the private sector, philanthropy, labor, and community-based organizations to catalyze new job opportunities for energy communities, including in clean hydrogen. For example, a December roundtable included discussion of efforts to reduce emissions and create jobs in the South Louisiana industrial corridor. The region is a finalist in the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. An initial grant will help them continue to plan their clean hydrogen cluster, and they are eligible to apply for a Phase 2 implementation grant.
 
Launching “Buy Clean” Procurement

The federal government is the largest purchaser in the world, with annual purchasing power of over $650 billion. To harness that power to support low-carbon, made in America materials, the Council on Environmental Quality and White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy are establishing the first-ever Buy Clean Task Force. As directed by the President’s December 2021executive order on federal sustainability, the Task Force will promote use of construction materials with lower embodied emissions and pollutants across their lifecycle—including each stage of the manufacturing process.

Other members include the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Transportation; the Environmental Protection Agency; the General Services Administration; and the White House Office of Management and Budget. The Task Force, which will continue to expand, is convening to develop recommendations on:

  • Identifying materials, such as steel and concrete, as well as pollutants to prioritize for consideration in Federal procurement and federally funded projects
  • Increasing the transparency of embodied emissions through supplier reporting, including incentives and technical assistance to help domestic manufacturers better report and reduce embodied emissions
  • Launching pilot programs to boost federal procurement of clean construction materials 

With the Buy Clean Task Force now established, the federal government is at the leading edge of using public procurement to increase demand for cleanly manufactured materials, along with states including California, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, and Washington.

Buy Clean efforts are already well underway at the General Services Administration (GSA), which manages a nationwide federal real estate portfolio and oversees approximately $75 billion in annual contracts. Over the past year, GSA has actively engaged stakeholders to learn and adopt best practices for reducing embodied emissions of buildings and materials. Today, GSA is issuing Requests for Information (RFIs) focused on concrete and asphalt. In the coming weeks, GSA will use the RFI responses to shape the launch of national low-carbon concrete and sustainable asphalt standards for Land Port of Entry projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This groundbreaking effort may include requiring Environmental Product Declarations (disclosing lifecycle impacts) and the use of concrete with at least 20% lower global warming potential, whenever available.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is announcing new efforts to support use of low-carbon materials in federal transportation projects. A new pilot program will target key products and services to increase use of Environmental Product Declarations and incentivize acquisition of low-carbon materials. Additionally, DOT is standing up a Department-wide Embodied Carbon Working Group to assess and implement actions to reduce lifecycle emissions of construction materials used in transportation infrastructure.

The Administration is also bringing together large corporate purchasers to Buy Clean. At COP26, President Biden launched the First Movers Coalition, with 34 companies valued at $6 trillion—the biggest demand signal in history for innovation across hard-to-abate sectors, including heavy industry. Led by the State Department through the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and the World Economic Forum, and supported by the Departments of Commerce and Energy, the First Movers Coalition is making clean purchasing commitments, beginning with steel, shipping, trucking, and aviation. Today, the Administration is announcing plans to expand the First Movers Coalition to cover four additional sectors in 2022: aluminum, cement, chemicals, and carbon removal.
 
The Administration is also mobilizing investment in the production of clean technologies by the Department of Energy, including the Loan Programs Office, the Department of Commerce, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, as well as through a partnership between the First Movers Coalition and the Breakthrough Energy Catalyst. The First Movers Coalition will recruit additional companies and launch challenge competitions for suppliers to provide the breakthrough technologies that members have committed to purchase.
 
Using Trade Policy to Reward Clean Manufacturing
 
In October, the United States and the European Union announced their commitment to negotiate the world’s first emissions-based sectoral arrangement on steel and aluminum trade by 2024. Following on that announcement, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and senior White House officials are continuing to work with European Union counterparts on this unprecedented effort—never before have two global partners aligned their trade policies to confront the threats of climate change and global market distortions, ensuring that trade works to solve the challenges of the 21st century.
 
Together, the United States and European Union are working to restrict access to their markets for dirty steel and limit access to countries that dump steel in both markets, contributing to worldwide over-supply. The arrangement will be open to any interested country that wishes to join and meets criteria for restoring market orientation and reducing trade in high-emissions steel and aluminum products. It will thus drive investment in green steel and aluminum production in the United States, Europe, and around the world, ensuring a competitive U.S. steel and aluminum industry for decades to come.
 
Responsibly Advancing CCUS Technologies

Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (CCUS) refers to technologies that remove carbon pollution from point sources like smokestacks, or from the ambient air, and permanently store the carbon. In factories, CCUS can reduce emissions from chemical reactions and high-temperature processes that are difficult and expensive to electrify. The best scientific analyses also find that to achieve a net-zero economy, we will need to remove carbon pollution that has already been released in the atmosphere. While CCUS can be an important tool in tackling the climate crisis, the benefits and impacts of potential projects vary significantly—requiring careful planning and oversight to ensure deployment is safe, equitable, and environmentally sound.
 
To help federal agencies advance CCUS responsibly, today the Council on Environmental Quality is issuing CCUS guidance. This guidance, called for in the bipartisan USE IT Act, builds on CEQ’s June 2021 CCUS report and addresses issues including: 

  • Sound and transparent environmental reviews for CCUS projects
  • Incorporation of environmental justice and equity considerations to protect overburdened communities from any direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts
  • Meaningful public engagement and Tribal consultations from early in the process
  • Opportunities to create good-paying, union jobs and training programs
  • Life cycle analyses of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) projects

As agencies prepare to implement more than $12 billion in CCUS investments provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this guidance will promote projects informed by community perspectives and aligned with climate, public health, and economic goals.
 
To further support responsible deployment:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency is developing proposed rule revisions to strengthen the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program to improve transparency on CCUS activities. This Program collects and publishes annual greenhouse gas data from large industrial sources, and the proposed updates would add reporting requirements for direct air capture and carbon storage.
  • To train a racially diverse, highly skilled generation of engineers and scientists for carbon management roles, DOE is announcing $5 million for university training and research projects, including $2 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
  • The Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council and its member agencies are working together to facilitate collaborative CCUS project reviews.
  • The Department of the Interior is working to establish safeguards for geologic sequestration on federally managed lands and is developing new regulations for geologic sequestration in the outer continental shelf as required under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Supporting Equitable Innovation Across the Industrial Sector
 
Supporting the industrial sector to achieve net-zero emissions will provide benefits to communities across the country. To ensure that innovations in this sector meet the needs of diverse stakeholders, the Administration is launching a new Initiative for Interdisciplinary Industrial Decarbonization Research. Led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), this Initiative will bring together social scientists, engineering and physical scientists, community groups, industry, government, and other stakeholders. As a first step, OSTP is convening a workshop to get advice from social science thought leaders about the research agenda needed to support rapid, widespread industrial decarbonization. This research will help build the consensus necessary to ensure a just transition to clean industry, with new, good-paying jobs for American workers and health and economic benefits for communities.
 
To identify and catalyze the next generation of breakthroughs, DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office is launching the Industrial Technology Innovation Advisory Committee (ITIAC). This federal advisory committee will bring together a diverse cross-section of the industrial sector to find viable decarbonization pathways that will equitably benefit the industrial workforce and surrounding communities. DOE has also issued a Request for Information on Industrial Decarbonization. This RFI will provide insights on emerging technologies for industry to demonstrate or adopt, including for clean production of iron and steel, cement, chemicals, and food and beverages. The Advanced Manufacturing Office will use this information to shape priorities for reducing industrial emissions and increasing competitiveness.
 
Additionally, DOE is helping manufacturers optimize use of energy and materials while training the workforce of the future through its Industrial Assessment Centers—which provide no-cost energy assessments conducted by university-based teams of engineering students and faculty. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE will expand the Industrial Assessment Centers program by offering specialized training to staff and students and increasing access to innovation and workforce development opportunities, particularly in disadvantaged communities. These actions build on a year of progress—in 2021, DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office invested more than $332 million in industrial technical assistance, education and workforce development, and R&D at every stage of the supply chain.
 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also partnering with manufacturers through the ENERGY STAR program, which challenges and supports industrial plants in improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. EPA is now expanding ENERGY STAR by incorporating carbon intensity metrics for certain industries. Going forward, EPA will continue to increase ENERGY STAR’s focus on ambitious emissions reductions that support net-zero goals across the industrial sector.

Biden-Harris Administration ‘Ensuring Future is Made in America’

Tritium Announces EV Charger Manufacturing Facility in Tennessee; To Produce Up To 30,000 Buy America-Compliant Chargers Per Year, Create 500 Jobs
 

As part of its effort to increase manufacturing while attacking climate change and transitioning the country to a clean-energy economy, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program provides $5 billion over five years to help states create a network of EV charging stations along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors on the Interstate Highway System. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This fact sheet from the White House details progress the Biden-Harris Administration has made to use a “whole of government” approach to revitalize the United States’ manufacturing base, strengthen critical supply chains, drive down prices, and position American workers and businesses to not just compete but lead the world in the 21st century:

Since his first day in office, President Biden relentlessly focused on an industrial strategy to revitalize our manufacturing base, strengthen critical supply chains, drive down prices, and position U.S. workers and businesses to compete and lead globally in the 21st century. This whole-of-government effort is leading to a historic recovery in domestic manufacturing. During President Biden’s first year in office, the economy added 367,000 manufacturing jobs – the most in nearly 30 years. The U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in nearly 40 years in 2021, and manufacturing as a share of U.S. GDP has returned to pre-pandemic levels. Manufacturing activity has seen a significant expansion every month that President Biden has been in office, consistently above pre-pandemic levels.

The Build America, Buy America Act in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expands on the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to ensure that the future is made in America by American workers by strengthening and expanding Buy America rules to all taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects.

President Biden and Jane Hunter, CEO of Tritium, announced that Tritium will break ground on its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Lebanon, Tennessee. This facility will house six production lines that will produce up to 30,000 Buy America-compliant DC Fast Chargers per year at peak production and create 500 local jobs.

This is the latest of announcements in recent weeks by major companies announcing investments in U.S. manufacturing and jobs, including IntelGeneral Motors, and Boeing, and more than $200 billion in investments in domestic manufacturing of semiconductors, electric vehicles, aircraft, and batteries announced since 2021.

In addition to Tritium, EV charging manufacturers large and small are investing and expanding U.S. operations, driven by the Administration’s economic strategy, Made in America policies, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law:

  • Siemens, which is investing and expanding its U.S. manufacturing operations to support electric vehicle infrastructure in America, will produce 1 million EV chargers by 2025. This investment, spurred by the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is the latest in the company’s strategic plan to meet accelerating electric vehicle charging demand, and expand its U.S. manufacturing capabilities.
     
  • ABB, which currently manufactures Buy America-compliant transit bus chargers in the U.S., will expand its US EV charging manufacturing operations, including Level 2 and DC Fast Chargers, over the coming five years, employing hundreds of Americans and producing thousands of EV chargers each year.
     
  • FreeWire Technologies, based in Oakland, California, currently manufactures Buy America-compliant battery-integrated EV charging equipment, and recently announced groundbreaking on a research, manufacturing, and testing facility in Newark, California. FreeWire currently employs and plans to add more than 200 jobs in electrification and clean energy in and around disadvantaged communities this year.
     
  • Dunamis Clean Energy Partners, a Black- and woman-owned EV charger manufacturer based in Detroit, Michigan, will manufacture Level 2 EV chargers and charging connectors in a new production facility in Detroit beginning this summer. Dunamis’ training and workforce development efforts will focus on underrepresented, economically disadvantaged communities most impacted by greenhouse gas emissions.

The future of the auto industry is electric, and America can own that future by building more here at home, creating good-paying jobs in the process. In August, President Biden set an ambitious target and roadmap to get to 50% of electric vehicle (EV) sale shares in the U.S. by 2030. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included a down payment on the EV future, with more than $7 billion in funding to secure an American EV supply chain, from materials processing to battery manufacturing and recycling, along with $7.5 billion to build out the first-ever nationwide public EV charging network.

This charging network will provide a convenient, reliable, affordable and equitable charging experience, with a focus on serving national highway corridors, rural areas, and underserved communities. It will also accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, fight the climate crisis, and support domestic manufacturing jobs.

Later this week, Department of Transportation Secretary Buttigieg and Department of Energy Secretary Granholm will announce the state allocations and guidance for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, which will provide $5 billion over five years to help states create a network of EV charging stations along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors on the Interstate Highway System.

The Biden-Harris Administration has already taken action to prepare for the build-out of the nationwide public EV charging network.

  • In December, Vice President Harris announced the EV Charging Action Plan to outline the steps the Administration is taking to accelerate the EV charging investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
     
  • In December, the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation announced the creation of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, which will support and accelerate deployment of the national EV charging network, including by providing technical assistance to states as they develop their comprehensive EV charging plans.
     
  • Last week, the Department of Transportation released an EV Rural Charging Toolkit, a one-stop resource for rural communities to plan and implement EV charging infrastructure projects.

FACTS: A Year Advancing Environmental Justice by the Biden Administration

White House Marks Year of Progress Since President Biden Activated All of Government to Advance Environmental Justice

Neighborhood of Breezy Point, on Long Island’s south shore, after Superstorm Sandy. President biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural infrastructure in American history. The law invests over $50 billion to make communities safer and infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change – droughts, heat waves, wildfires and floods – which disproportionately impact communities of color. These investments have already begun flowing to resilience projects in underserved and overburdened communities. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

You wouldn’t believe it from the obsessive focus of media – especially right wing media – on griping over inflation in prices over supply chain and increased demand (instead of higher wages and record jobs creation) and the inability to surmount the Republican obstruction over Build Back Better and Voting Rights legislation, but the Biden Administration has chalked up quite a record of progress in major issues, chief among them climate action and environmental justice. Here is a fact sheet from the White House:

Nearly one year ago on January 27, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, laying the foundation for the most ambitious environmental justice agenda ever undertaken by an Administration and putting environmental justice and climate action at the center of the federal government’s work.

The executive order formalized the President and the Vice President’s commitment to ensuring that all federal agencies develop programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionately high and adverse health, environmental, economic, climate, and other cumulative impacts on communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.

Over the past year, senior administration leaders have worked tirelessly to secure historic and long overdue investments in environmental justice, advance science-based regulations that reduce environmental pollution, strengthen enforcement of the nation’s environmental and civil rights laws, and elevate the voices of environmental justice communities in the White House and throughout the Administration.

Mobilizing a Whole-of-Government Approach to Environmental Justice

  • Delivering on Justice40. As part of the President’s historic commitment to environmental justice, he created the Justice40 Initiative to ensure that federal agencies deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other investments to underserved communities. In total, hundreds of federal programs, representing billions of dollars in annual investment — including programs that were funded or created in the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — are being reimagined and transformed to maximize benefits to disadvantaged communities through the Justice40 Initiative. An initial cohort of Justice40 pilot programs are already working to maximize the delivery of benefits to disadvantaged communities, and some agencies are creating new programs to maximize the benefits of climate and clean energy programs directed to disadvantaged communities, such as the Communities LEAP (Local Energy Action Program) Pilot, the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize, and the Energy Storage for Social Equity Initiative. An annual Federal environmental justice scorecard, the first of which will be published this year, will report on agencies’ progress in the implementation of the Justice40 Initiative and other key environmental justice priorities and commitments.
     
  • Building a Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool. This screening tool, which will be continuously updated and refined based on public feedback and research, will improve the consistency across the federal government of how agencies implement programs and initiatives that are intended to benefit underserved communities. A beta version of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool will be released for public review and comment early this year.
     
  • Establishing the First-Ever White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. This advisory body – which brings together national environmental justice leaders from across the country – ensures that the voices of overburdened and underserved communities are heard in the White House and reflected in the policies and investments of federal agencies. This body has provided extensive  recommendations that are informing the implementation of the Justice40 Initiative, the development of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, and other policies and programs across the Administration.
     
  • Renewing Focus on Environmental Equity and Justice across the Federal Government.  Agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Department of Labor, the General Services Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have launched new or strengthened equity and justice offices, task forces, strategies and policies. USDA, for example, is standing up an independent Equity Commission to examine USDA programs to identify and make recommendations for how USDA can reduce barriers to access and advance equity. The Commission will also ensure accountability within and empower stakeholders in underserved communities outside of USDA to take fuller advantage of the department’s programs and services. To coordinate, lead, and elevate environmental justice policy and implementation across the government, the Administration has also established the White House Environmental Interagency Council led by Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory.

 
Protecting Communities from Toxic Pollution

  • Advancing an Ambitious Regulatory Agenda. Over the last year, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken more than 200 actions to repair the damage caused by the prior Administration’s rollbacks and implemented an ambitious regulatory agenda to address environmental justice. From revoking usage of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that has negative health impacts on farmworkers and children, to taking action on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a dangerous “forever chemical” linked to certain cancers, weakened immunity, thyroid disease, and other health effects – this Administration has prioritized rulemakings that protect the health and well-being of vulnerable communities. The President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children is also leading and coordinating cross-agency work to reduce pollution burdens and exposures, including lead exposure and asthma disparities in children of color.
     
  • Strengthening Enforcement of Environmental Laws. The Biden-Harris Administration has taken steps to enhance civil and criminal enforcement of environmental violations in communities overburdened by pollution. The EPA, for example, has taken steps to initiate early and expedited cleanup actions, deliver case outcomes that bring tangible benefits to overburdened communities, provide more robust monitoring and transparency tools, and bolster community engagement. The President’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget request for the Department of Justice includes $5.0 million in increased funding for the Environment and Natural Resources Division to expand its use of existing authorities in affirmative cases to advance environmental justice and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the impacts of climate change and to continue defensive and other work related to climate change.
     
  • Journey to Justice Tour. In November 2021, EPA Administrator Michael Regan embarked on a “Journey to Justice” tour, traveling to Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas to spotlight longstanding environmental justice concerns in historically overburdened communities and to hear firsthand from residents dealing with the impacts of pollution. Today, EPA is announcing a series of concrete actions to respond to the communities’ concerns, including more community air pollution monitoring, fenceline monitoring, inspections, and funding commitments.
     
  • Addressing Legacy Pollution. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history. The law will invest $21 billion to clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine lands, and cap orphaned oil and gas wells that are sources of blight and pollution. These investments are happening now. EPA recently announced a historic $1 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to initiate cleanup at 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country. Approximately 60 percent of the sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects are in historically underserved communities.

Recognizing that millions of Americans live within a mile of one of the tens of thousands of abandoned mines and oil and gas wells across the country, DOI is working to speed the deployment of initial grants from the law’s $16 billion in funding for mine and well clean-ups. DOI recently released initial guidance for states interested in applying for Federal grants that will fund the proper cleanup of orphaned oil and gas wells and well sites, with 26 states responding to express their intent to apply for formula grant funding.

  • Investing in Clean Drinking Water. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will expand access to clean drinking water to all American families, eliminate the nation’s lead service lines, and help to clean up dangerous PFAS chemicals. Specifically, the law will invest $55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure for households, businesses, schools, and child care centers all across the country, including in Tribal Nations and rural disadvantaged communities that need it most. These investments will be guided by the Biden-Harris Administration’s Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan, a historic and ambitious effort to deploy catalytic resources from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law while leveraging every tool across Federal, state, and local government to deliver clean drinking water, replace lead pipes, and remediate lead paint. The plan includes over 15 new actions from more than 10 Federal agencies to ensure the Federal government is marshalling every resource and making rapid progress towards replacing all lead pipes in the next decade. The White House also has developed a whole-of government research plan on contaminants of emerging concern in drinking water that will support safe drinking water advisories, standards, and mitigation efforts that protect public health.
     
  • Improving Air Quality. The Biden-Harris Administration has taken decisive action to improve air quality – especially in disadvantaged communities. EPA has initiated rulemakings to reduce harmful air pollutants from heavy-duty trucks that heavily impact low-income communities and communities of color. EPA has also targeted leaded fuel used in small planes, which contributes to air pollution and accounts for 70 percent of lead borne emissions. In December 2021, EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation launched a $20 million grant competition that calls for proposals to conduct air pollution monitoring in communities experiencing disparities in health outcomes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on behalf of DOT, is proposing revised fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2024-2026; DOT estimates that this would increase the average fleet’s fuel efficiency by 12 miles per gallon by model year 2026.  In addition, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $17 billion in modernizing ports and waterways, including funds that will support electrification of port infrastructure and provides the investment needed to deliver thousands of clean school buses to help reduce harmful environmental impacts on communities on the fence line of industry and transportation corridors. The law also provides a $5 billion investment in electric vehicles that will support the deployment of an equitable nationwide network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers.

Strengthening Resilience to Extreme Weather and Climate Change

  • Investing in Community Resilience. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural infrastructure in American history. The law invests over $50 billion to make communities safer and infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change – droughts, heat waves, wildfires and floods – which disproportionately impact communities of color. These investments have already begun flowing to resilience projects in underserved and overburdened communities, including a $163 million investment to restore the Cano Martin Pena urban tidal channel and surrounding areas of the San Juan Bay National Estuary – an urban waterway project that will significantly improve the health and welfare of the surrounding communities in San Juan. In the coming year, the Army Corps will also engage with environmental justice communities in the development of a strategy to allocate $130 million for two pilot programs that target the needs of economically-disadvantaged communities.
     
  • Building a Coordinated Federal Response to Climate Impacts. To address the multi-faceted nature of climate change and its impact on frontline communities, the Biden-Harris Administration launched five cabinet secretary level Resilience Interagency Working Groups under the National Climate Task Force focused on coastal resilience, drought, extreme heat, flood, and wildfire. These Working Groups are tasked with recommending and coordinating actions, programs, and resources to mitigate climate impacts and subsequent recovery challenges that are often felt most heavily by underserved and overburdened communities. For example, the Extreme Heat Working Group was responsible for launching a coordinated, interagency effort to address extreme heat – including the first-ever employer mandates on heat risk –  to respond to extreme heat that threatens the lives and livelihoods of Americans, especially frontline and essential workers, pregnant workers, children, seniors, economically disadvantaged groups and those with underlying health conditions.
     
  • Advancing Equitable Outcomes for Disaster Survivors. Pursuant to Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) evaluated the equity of its programs and processes to reduce barriers to access experienced by underserved populations through programs that provide individual assistance to disaster survivors. Based on this review, FEMA has begun to amend its policies to provide greater flexibility and increase access to assistance for disaster survivors. The policy changes that FEMA is implementing include: expanding the types of documentation that homeowners and renters can use to prove ownership or occupancy; expanding financial assistance for home cleaning and sanitizing as well as for disaster-caused disability; and changing how the threshold for property losses are calculated to qualify for direct housing assistance, which helps ensure that damage evaluations are done in an equitable manner regardless of the size of the damaged home. As of mid-January 2021, these changes have resulted in the delivery of more than $120 million in financial assistance for mold remediation; $22 million for the cleaning and sanitization of homes; and more than 100,000 survivors receiving home repair and rental assistance as a result of expanded ownership and occupancy documentation requirements.  
     
  • Bolstering Tribal Community Resilience. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes historic investments in Indigenous communities’ efforts to tackle the climate crisis and boost the resilience of physical and natural systems. Enabled by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Administration recently committed $40 million to the Espanola Valley, Rio Grande and Tributaries, New Mexico to restore and protect 958 acres of aquatic and riparian habitats that are an integral part of constructing social identity and transmission and retention of traditional knowledge for both the Pueblo of Santa Clara and Ohkay Owingeh. As part of this broader commitment to Tribal community resilience, DOI also recently awarded nearly $14 million to dozens of American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations and organizations to support their climate adaptation planning, ocean and coastal management planning, capacity building, and relocation, managed retreat, and protect-in-place planning for climate risks. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has invited Tribal leaders to consult on the agency’s implementation of its Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, including $400 million to enhance fish passage (of which up to 15 percent will go directly to Tribes), $492 million to improve and restore natural infrastructure through the National Coastal Resilience Fund, and $172 million to support recovery of Pacific coastal salmon. Further, the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget includes an increase of more than $450 million to facilitate climate mitigation, resilience, adaptation, and environmental justice projects in Indian Country. This includes investments to begin the process of transitioning Tribal colleges to renewable energy through DOE, and a new Indian Land Consolidation Program through DOI that will enhance the ability of Tribal Nations to plan for and adapt to climate change and promote economic development on lands restored to Tribal ownership.
     
  • Empowering Communities with Actionable Climate Data. The Biden-Harris Administration launched a whole-of-government initiative to deliver accessible and actionable information to individuals and communities that are being hit by flooding, drought, wildfires, extreme heat, coastal erosion, and other intensifying climate impacts. This effort is designed to put authoritative and useful information into the hands of more Americans—from broadcast meteorologists sharing climate information with communities, to farmers checking drought outlooks, to businesses planning for extreme weather, to families making decisions about their homes and neighborhoods. By continuing to strengthen partnerships with community stakeholders, state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, and businesses, the Biden-Harris Administration will ensure that Federal information services respond to evolving needs, particularly those of disadvantaged communities.

 
Delivering Clean, Affordable Energy

  • Lowering Energy Burdens. The Biden-Harris Administration has provided $8.2 billion in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds to States, Territories, Tribes, and Tribal Organizations, including $4.5 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). Combined, these funds more than doubled the typical annual appropriations—the largest increase in the program’s history—to assist low-income households with meeting their home energy needs. HHS followed this with guidance providing flexible options for states, territories, Tribes, and Tribal organizations to adjust their LIHEAP programs to address extreme heat. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law doubles down on the Administration’s commitment to lowering energy burdens by investing: an additional $500 million in LIHEAP, which will prioritize eligible households with young children, the elderly, and people with disabilities; and a historic $3.5 billion in the Weatherization Assistance Program, reducing energy costs for more than 700,000 low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes, while ensuring health and safety and creating jobs.
     
  • Increasing Access to Clean Energy. The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized the deployment of distributed and community scale energy resources in the underserved and overburdened communities that need them most. The Department of Agriculture launched the Rural Energy Pilot Program with $10 million in available grants for rural communities that are particularly underserved to deploy community-scale clean energy technologies, innovations, and solutions. DOE launched the Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP+) tool, an online platform that enables jurisdictions to rapidly approve residential solar installation permits. EPA launched new residential sector partnerships to accelerate efficiency and electrification retrofits with a focus on underserved residential households through its ENERGY STAR Home Upgrade Program. To coordinate these interagency actions, the Biden-Harris Administration launched a Distributed Energy Resources Working Group under the National Climate Task Force focused specifically on accelerating deployment of distributed energy resources in disadvantaged communities.
     
  • Modernizing the Grid. FEMA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are working collaboratively with the government of Puerto Rico to administer over $12 billion of Federal recovery funds earmarked for rebuilding and improving Puerto Rico’s grid. These funds are being used to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and support initiatives in Puerto Rico that focus on mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. DOE and FEMA have also launched a comprehensive study to evaluate pathways to meeting Puerto Rico’s 100 percent renewable energy targets in a way that achieves both short-term recovery goals and long-term energy resilience. The study, titled PR100, will be grounded in a commitment to environmental and energy justice and informed by extensive engagement with Puerto Rico stakeholders to reflect the island’s diverse priorities.

 
Enabling Equitable and Sustainable Communities

  • Increasing Affordable Transportation Options. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expands access to public transit and makes the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak – a major investment in transit equity. The law will invest $66 billion to provide healthy, sustainable transportation options for millions of Americans by modernizing and expanding rail networks across the country. The law also provides $1.2 billion annually through the Safe Streets and Roads for All program to fund Vision Zero plans and construct projects that will prevent transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries, which disproportionately impact rural communities and communities of color.  To ensure these funds facilitate equitable outcomes, DOT has solicited input from stakeholders on the data and assessment tools available to assess transportation equity.  The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also includes investments for a new program that will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic transportation investments and ensure new projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access. DOT also requested $110 million in its Fiscal Year 22 budget to create a new Thriving Communities program that would establish a new office to support communities with eliminating persistent transportation barriers and increasing access to jobs, school, and businesses.
     
  • Tackling Segregation, Discrimination, and Exclusion. The Biden-Harris Administration has restored the implementation of the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” requirement, which requires HUD and its funding recipients, such as local communities, to take affirmative steps to remedy fair housing issues such as racially segregated neighborhoods, lack of housing choice, and unequal access to housing-related opportunities. HUD anticipates issuing a proposed rule that would help recipients of HUD funding identify needs and take meaningful actions to overcome patterns of residential segregation. To increase access to affordable housing, DOT’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of approximately $10 million in competitive grant funds for FTA’s Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning. The funds will support comprehensive planning efforts that help connect communities, and improve access to public transportation and affordable housing.
     
  • Investing in Healthy Housing and Buildings. The American Rescue Plan provided State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds that dozens of states and cities have used to develop and preserve affordable housing, as well as support for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions that provide housing finance. Last week, the President launched the National Building Performance Standards Coalition to work with stakeholders, especially frontline communities, to address health, energy affordability, and emissions reductions goals across the buildings sector. Coalition members have agreed to ground their climate work in equity and justice through community-driven processes providing a voice for communities that were previously not invited to the table. These efforts will be bolstered by the more than $1.8 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support building sector policies, including $500 million for DOE’s State Energy Program, which provides funding and technical assistance to state, local, and Tribal governments to advance state-led energy initiatives; $550 million for DOE’s Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant program to assist eligible governments to develop, promote, implement, and manage energy efficiency and conservation policy and projects in their jurisdiction; $250 million for grants to capitalize state-level revolving loan funds for energy efficiency; and $500 million for competitive grants to fund efficiency and renewable improvements in public school facilities.

Biden Administration Makes Historic Investment to Strengthen Port, Waterway Supply Chains, Bolster Climate Resilience

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Invest $14 Billion from President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Other Appropriations to Strengthen Port and Waterway Supply Chains and Bolster Climate Resilience
 

The Biden Administration issued a fact sheet detailing its historic $14 billion investment in the nation’s ports and waterways – funding in fiscal 2022 for over 500 projects across 52 states and territories that will strengthen the nation’s supply chain, provide significant new economic opportunities nationwide, and bolster our defenses against climate change © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Biden Administration issued a fact sheet detailing its historic $14 billion investment in the nation’s ports and waterways – funding in fiscal 2022 for over 500 projects across 52 states and territories that will strengthen the nation’s supply chain, provide significant new economic opportunities nationwide, and bolster our defenses against climate change, and address a source of inflation while creating jobs:

Modern and resilient infrastructure strengthens our supply chains, supports U.S. competitiveness and economic growth, and protects communities from the accelerating impacts of climate change. Yet, decades of under-investment and neglect have left our nation’s infrastructure – from ports and waterways to levees and dams to the aquatic ecosystems that supply our water and energy – vulnerable to climate change and struggling to keep up with our strong economic recovery from the pandemic.
 
Recognizing the vital role of modern, resilient infrastructure in reducing costs for American families and businesses, President Biden secured unprecedented investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to increase climate resilience and make long overdue improvements at ports and waterways, as well as additional funds through supplemental appropriations to help impacted states and Tribes recover and become more resilient to natural disasters. Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing that it will invest more than $14 billion of this funding in fiscal year 2022 for over 500 projects across 52 states and territories. These key projects will strengthen the nation’s supply chain, provide significant new economic opportunities nationwide, and bolster our defenses against climate change, including through:

  • The largest single investment ever to restore and revitalize the Everglades in Florida.
  • Expanding capacity at some of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing ports, including the Port of Long Beach.
  • Commitments to help underserved coastal communities build back more resilient from extreme weather.

A full list of projects receiving funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other appropriations can be found HERE.
 
The investments announced today further advance the President’s Justice40 commitment to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of Federal climate and clean energy investments flow to historically marginalized, underserved, and overburdened communities to build their economies. The investments also underscore how President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering results to communities across America, advancing racial equity, combatting climate change, and creating job opportunities for American workers.
 
In just over two months since the President signed the historic legislation into law, the Administration has already mobilized resources to connect Tribal Nations to reliable, high-speed internet, replace, repair, and rehabilitate bridges across the country, upgrade critical infrastructure at 3,075 airports, update America’s aging water infrastructure, sewerage systems, pipes and service lines, stop toxic waste from harming communities, and more. With these additional investments, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will initiate projects in fiscal year 2022 that:

STRENGTHEN DOMESTIC SUPPLY CHAINS

American ports and waterways are a cornerstone of the U.S. economy. According to the 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure Report issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), in 2018, America’s ports supported more than 30 million jobs and approximately 26% of our nation’s GDP. However, decades of neglect and underinvestment have strained their capacity and jeopardized supply chains.
 
Building on the work this Administration has done this past year to get goods flowing from ships to shelves faster, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is committing $4 billion through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand capacity at key ports, allow passage of larger vessels, and further enhance the country’s ability to move goods. These waterside investments will compliment landside investments at our ports and across the goods movement chain such as the Port Infrastructure Development Grants announced in December. Specific projects for fiscal year 2022 include work to:
 

  • Enhance the Country’s Ability to Move Goods. America’s waterways are vital to getting goods moving faster and more efficiently through the nation. Recognizing the role of inland waterways in creating and sustaining jobs, relieving landside congestion, and providing more cost-effective transportation capacities, the Administration will provide $858 million to support the replacement of locks that keep water levels high enough for large cargo ships to pass through the upper Ohio River, west of Pittsburgh. The Administration will also provide more than $470 million to complete construction of a new lock along St. Mary’s River in Sault Saint Marie, Michigan, which serves as a passageway for nearly all domestically-produced iron ore. These funds will build on the Department of Transportation’s recent investments to enhance the movement of goods along the nation’s navigable waterways.
     
  • Reinforce America’s Largest Port Complex. The Administration will invest $8 million to improve commercial navigation and allow larger and more ships to pass at the Port of Long Beach, California – part of the nation’s largest port complex. The investment will support design work to widen the port’s main channel, deepen the entrance channel, and build an approach channel and turning basin. It also builds on the $52 million grant the Administration previously announced to support the Port of Long Beach’s on-dock rail facility, as well as a multi-billion dollar loan agreement with California to modernize the state’s ports, freight, and other goods movement infrastructure.
     
  • Move More Goods Faster at One of the Nation’s Fastest Growing Ports. The Administration will invest $69 million to improve navigation and expand capacity at Norfolk Harbor, Virginia, which handled 67 percent more containers in 2021 than it did 10 years ago. Work will include deepening and widening the harbor’s shipping channels to improve navigation and enable safer access for larger commercial and naval vessels, and to provide significant new economic opportunities to the region.
     

BOLSTER THE NATION’S DEFENSES AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE AND ADVANCE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
 
Damage from extreme weather events and natural disasters, including those from Hurricane Ida, were estimated to cost the United States at least $141 billion in 2021, and is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. President Biden knows that down payments now to bolster the resilience of our infrastructure to climate change will save Americans money in the long run. The Biden-Harris Administration will commit $5.5 billion through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to better protect communities from climate change, and protect vital ecosystems and the people and businesses throughout the country that rely on them.

For instance, the funding from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law announced today will:

  • Restore and Protect Critical Ecosystems and Water Supplies, Including the Everglades. The Administration is making the largest single investment in the Everglades in U.S. history. The iconic American landscape provides drinking water supply for over 8 million Floridians, supports the state’s $90 billion tourism economy, and is home to dozens of endangered or threatened species. However, rising sea levels and other climate change impacts are endangering this vital ecosystem and the people, businesses, and habitats it supports. Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Army Corps will invest $1.1 billion to restore, protect, and preserve the South Florida ecosystem and increase its resilience to the impacts of climate change. These funds will support improvements to the Everglades by capturing and storing excess surface water runoff, reducing excess water releases to water conservation areas, and minimizing seepage losses during dry periods.
     
  • Advance Environmental Justice. The investments announced today will further deliver on the President’s Justice40 commitment to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits from Federal investments in climate and clean energy flow to disadvantaged communities in building their local economies. The Administration will provide $163 million to restore the Cano Martin Pena urban tidal channel and surrounding areas of the San Juan Bay National Estuary. The urban waterway project will significantly improve the health and welfare of the surrounding communities in San Juan by reducing exposure to contaminated waters and sediments, improving water quality, and restoring fish and mangrove habitat. The Administration is also committing $40 million to the Espanola Valley, Rio Grande and Tributaries, New Mexico to restore and protect 958 acres of aquatic and riparian habitats. These habitats are critical to the functioning of the third longest river in the country, and are an integral part of constructing social identity and transmission and retention of traditional knowledge for both the Pueblo of Santa Clara and Ohkay Owingeh. In addition, the Army Corps is committing nearly $28 million to prevent coastal erosion of Kenai River Bluff in Alaska. In the coming year, the Army Corps will also engage with environmental justice communities in the development of a strategy to allocate $130 million for two pilot programs that target the needs of economically-disadvantaged communities.
     
  • Reduce Flood Risk. The Army Corps will leverage funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to increase community resilience to flooding, including $645 million to reduce coastal flood risk through 15 projects and $1.7 billion to reduce inland flood risk through an additional 15 projects across the country.  Projects include $378 million to protect people, property, and the fragile marshland in coastal Louisiana, $250 million for storm surge barriers, levees, and pump stations to reduce storm risk to the City of Norfolk, Virginia, $66 million to refurbish the levee system along the Little Colorado River outside of Winslow, Arizona in Navajo County, and $35 million in the San Joaquin River Basin to help reduce flood risk to the City of Stockton, California. As a result of Hurricane Ida, 90 percent of Terrebonne Parish in Louisiana sustained significant damages, including to five floodgates of the Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection System.

In addition to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds announced today, the Administration will invest more than $5.7 billion in fiscal year 2022 through the Disaster Relief and Supplemental Appropriations Act to reinforce disaster mitigation and recovery efforts in communities recovering from extreme weather events, and to better enable homes and businesses to reduce their risks of climate change. This includes $3.3 billion in funding for Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, where major disasters were declared due to Hurricane Ida. In Louisiana, for instance, the Biden-Harris Administration will invest over $1.7 billion to help the state build back more resilient from extreme weather events, including through the replacement or modification of levees infrastructure on the east and west banks of Plaquemines Parish, completion of construction of the Atachafalaya Basin floodway system, and initiation construction for the Algiers sub-basin in southeast Louisiana.  
 

NYS Finalizes First Two Contracts for Offshore Wind Energy Projects

Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, pops cork in 2017 after Long Island Power Authority pledged to move forward with offshore wind. Today, Governor Hochul signed contracts for the state’s first two offshore wind projects. “This announcement is one step forward for wind power, and a giant leap for a cleaner energy future. It is thrilling to see significant progress that guides our transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The public strongly supports this transition and New York is delivering! As we build a green economy and advanced offshore wind, we are fulfilling the commitment to make New York a leader in the battle to fight climate change. Thank you to Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for continuing to forge a pathway of progress.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul today at the Port of Albany, alongside U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, Congressman Paul Tonko and other elected officials, announced the finalization of contracts between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Empire Wind Offshore LLC and Beacon Wind LLC, each a 50-50 partnership between Equinor and bp, for the Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind offshore wind projects, representing a key milestone in the advancement of offshore wind development in New York State.

“We know what it takes to build and sustain for the future, it’s in our DNA as New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “By advancing these significant offshore wind projects, we can maintain our cadence for developing projects that will spur much-needed green job creation and investment. No state has felt the impacts of climate change more than New York State, and now more than ever, we can continue to lead the way with our ambitious, nation-leading vision to transition to a renewable energy and a cleaner, greener future.”

Today’s announcement formally closes the State’s second offshore wind competitive solicitation and also includes the first awards for the State’s Offshore Wind Training Institute. Coupled with this week’s issuance of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Final Sale Notice for the New York Bight and the State of the State announcement of a nation-leading $500 million investment in offshore wind ports, manufacturing, and supply chain to be integrated within NYSERDA’s 2022 solicitation, these events represent a significant step forward in advancing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.  

“Hats off to Governor Hochul for taking a huge step towards lowering energy bills for New York households, creating thousands of good-paying jobs, and advancing President Biden’s goal of a robust offshore wind industry in America,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said. “We can and will overcome the challenge of climate change, and we’ll do it one clean energy worker at a time.”

Senator Gillibrand said,”As we celebrate New York’s innovation in clean energy this week in Albany, I’m thrilled to announce this key partnership between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Empire Wind Offshore LLC and Beacon Wind LLC. This marks another milestone in our state’s leadership and innovation in clean energy and offshore wind development. I look forward to continuing our great work to bring clean energy jobs and technology to New York.”

“We know New York’s potential for offshore wind development is tremendous,” Congressman Paul Tonko said. “Today’s exciting news will play a pivotal role in expanding this industry, creating good-paying jobs, training the energy workforce of the future, and helping address our most pressing climate challenges. Thanks to all involved in this forward-thinking announcement that invests in our region and pushes New York further down the path to becoming a powerhouse of wind manufacturing.”

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said“New York State has been steadfast in its commitment to establish itself as the leading offshore wind market in the nation and a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse. These contracts with Equinor further solidify our progress and will create new economic opportunities while building a new electric grid powered by clean, renewable energy that paves our way to a healthier and more sustainable future.”  

The 1,260-megawatt Empire Wind 2 and 1,230-megawatt Beacon Wind projects were provisionally awarded in January 2021 as a result of NYSERDA’s second offshore wind competitive solicitation. Expected to enter into commercial operation in 2027 and 2028, respectively, the projects will strengthen New York’s economy and further drive investments in ports to directly support offshore wind projects while establishing New York as the hub of the offshore wind supply chain. NYSERDA payments to the projects will commence once they obtain all required permits and approvals, complete construction, and begin delivering power to New York.  

The final project contracts are available on NYSERDA’s website and include commitments to the following key benefits: 

  • Unprecedented public and private funding commitments of $644 million in port infrastructure, including: 
  • $357 million in the nation’s first offshore wind tower manufacturing facility to be built at the Port of Albany 
  • More than $287 million in an offshore wind staging and assembly facility at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), owned by the City of New York and managed by New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)
  • More than $8.9 billion in anticipated in-state spending and the creation of more than 5,200 jobs backed by prevailing wage and project labor agreement commitments. 
  • The average bill impact for customers will be approximately 0.8 percent, or about $0.95 per month. Total project costs, including a cost-effective average all-in development cost of $80.40 per megawatt hour, are approximately seven percent lower than those of NYSERDA’s 2018 awards, signaling offshore wind is a competitively priced renewable energy resource with tremendous benefits. 

Equinor Wind US President Siri Espedal Kindem said, “Today’s announcement sets Equinor and bp on the path to provide over 3.3 GWs of offshore wind power for New York. It also offers a large-scale, tangible demonstration of the incredible economic activity and carbon reduction potential being driven by New York’s green energy transition. We are proud to help lead the growth of this exciting industry in New York.” 

“These are world class assets and we are moving quickly and safely to get them producing the energy people need in the way that they want it – all the while creating positive ripple effects for the surrounding communities and industry,” bp Senior Vice President for Zero Carbon Energy Felipe Arbelaez said. “Today’s milestone is a critical step forward and we will continue to work hard to deliver the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects, providing clean energy and stable returns for decades to come.” 

Director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance Fred Zalcman said, “Today’s suite of announcements moves the state inexorably closer to realization of its’ nation-leading goal of 9,000 MW by 2035 and secures New York as the undisputed economic epicenter for the emerging offshore wind industry. We congratulate NYSERDA and the Equinor-bp joint venture on achieving this major commercial milestone, as well as the recipients of the first training grants to support the first generation of skilled workers to be deployed on these New York’s groundbreaking projects.”

“This is another important step toward reducing emissions, securing New York’s place in the offshore wind industry, and creating good union jobs and careers in communities across the state,” Executive Director of Climate Jobs NY Jeff Vockrodt said. “We look forward to working with the Hochul administration to ensure that these projects move forward expeditiously, that the jobs created are good family-sustaining union jobs, and that New Yorkers see the economic benefits of these investments. We are also encouraged to see that NYSERDA plans to issue the next solicitation for offshore wind power soon, which together with Governor Hochul’s recent announcement of $500 million in new supply chain investments will help build out ports and other essential offshore wind infrastructure.”

This week, Governor Hochul joined United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to announce BOEM’s Final Sale Notice of six new leases, comprised of 488,000 total acres for offshore wind development in the New York Bight, and the release of the document “A Shared Vision on the Development of an Offshore Wind Supply Chain,” which describes a coordinated offshore wind supply chain effort between New York, New Jersey and BOEM. These additional lease areas are needed for New York and New Jersey to achieve their respective offshore wind goals and support the federal government’s offshore wind goal of 30,000 megawatts by 2030. 

Keeping pace to be the U.S. leader in the offshore wind industry, New York will launch its third statewide solicitation round in early 2022. As announced in Governor Hochul’s 2022 State of the State address, NYSERDA’s next solicitation is expected to result in at least 2 gigawatts of new projects — enough to power 1.5 million homes, bringing the state’s combined total to more than 4.5 million homes powered by offshore wind. NYSERDA will couple this procurement with a $500 million offshore wind infrastructure investment to catalyze private investments to build the critical infrastructure needed to assure New York’s prominence as the hub for this burgeoning industry. The solicitation will include improvements to the approach for offshore transmission based on recommendations from the New York State Power Grid Study, increased emphasis on in-state manufacturing, inclusive economic development and climate equity, an emphasis on close relations with New York’s labor force including construction backed by prevailing wage and project labor agreements, and additional scoring credit for projects that propose to repurpose existing downstate fossil-based electric generation infrastructure and utilize energy storage to enhance future system reliability. 

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Offshore wind is breathing fresh air into New York’s economy. With the support of a well-trained workforce, this emerging sector will bring economic prosperity for years to come. I thank Governor Hochul for continuing to strategically invest in our economy, our environment, and New York’s workforce.”

“Offshore wind ports will fuel both a green economy and economic opportunities,” Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said. “Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind will make New York State greener and create green jobs, which advances Empire State Development’s mission to prepare our economy for the future. With today’s announcement, New York will continue to be leaders in the fight against climate change and production of green energy and green jobs – bringing us closer to the State’s ambitious climate goals.” 

President and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth Mark Eagan said,”We are witnessing the birth of a sector that is not only new to New York State, but the entire country. It’s real and it’s concentrating here – in the Capital Region. New York State is a pioneer in the offshore wind industry, and we are deeply thankful for the vision and commitment of Governor Hochul and NYSERDA. We congratulate  Equinor, bp, and the Port of Albany on this contract, which will help transform our economy and provide good-paying jobs. CEG started globally marketing the region’s offshore wind potential three years ago, and that has helped yield this nation-leading investment with more on the way. CEG will continue to work with its partners to leverage state and federal dollars to further build out the Capital Region as the location-of-choice for offshore wind component manufacturing.”

Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “This announcement is one step forward for wind power, and a giant leap for a cleaner energy future. It is thrilling to see significant progress that guides our transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The public strongly supports this transition and New York is delivering! As we build a green economy and advanced offshore wind, we are fulfilling the commitment to make New York a leader in the battle to fight climate change. Thank you to Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for continuing to forge a pathway of progress.” 

These advancements build on New York’s continued responsible and cost-effective approach to developing offshore wind, including NYSERDA’s recently published Guiding Principles for Offshore Wind Stakeholder Engagement, and Request for Information seeking feedback from the public and interested stakeholders to identify topics to consider in the analysis of offshore and onshore cable corridors. NYSERDA will also initiate a new Offshore Wind Master Plan 2.0: Deep Water to unlock the next frontier of offshore wind development this year. 

New York State has five offshore wind projects in active development, the largest portfolio in the nation. This initial portfolio totals more than 4,300 megawatts and will power more than 2.4 million New York homes and is expected to bring a combined economic impact of $12.1 billion to the state. The projects are also expected to create more than 6,800 jobs in project development, component manufacturing, installation, and operations and maintenance. Achieving the State’s 9,000 megawatt by 2035 goal will generate enough offshore wind energy to power approximately 30 percent of New York State’s electricity needs, equivalent to nearly 6 million New York State homes, and spur approximately 10,000 jobs. 

Offshore Wind Training Institute 

Also announced today were the first round of competitive awards under the State’s $20 million Offshore Wind Training Institute, the largest public investment in offshore wind workforce development by any state in the U.S. Through a partnership between the State University of New York’s Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook University on Long Island, the training institute aims to advance offshore wind training programs and the educational infrastructure needed to establish a skilled workforce that can support the emerging national offshore wind industry. The Institute will certify and train 2,500 New York workers beginning this year to support both offshore and onshore renewable energy projects.

The first two winning proposals will receive a combined $569,618 to support early training and skills development for disadvantaged communities and priority populations – including veterans, individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals, homeless individuals, and single parents – in both the Capital Region and New York City. Awardees include: 

  • Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY (HVCC)  
  • LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY (LAGCC)  

To help build a strong pipeline for the Capital Region’s offshore wind initiative, HVCC recently began offering a two-year associate degree in welding and fabrication and will focus student recruitment efforts on priority populations in urban and rural disadvantaged communities, providing full or partial scholarships to participants. Foundational welding skills training will be provided by the Capital Region Educational Opportunity Center, a division of HVCC with additional non-credit training and certifications be provided at the college’s main campus. The college will also partner with regional manufacturers building turbine components to provide a skilled workforce pipeline of welders and fabricators, aiming to train 75 individuals, including 65 from priority populations and disadvantaged communities.

LAGCC is partnering with Siemens Gamesa to build an inclusive offshore wind workforce that ensures a robust local talent pipeline for the construction, repair, and maintenance of offshore wind facilities in the New York City metro area. The college will convene employers to detail the skill gaps for both new entrants to the workforce and incumbent workers in the construction trades to help inform and develop a best-in-class custom curriculum. A total of fifty low-income individuals from the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront will be trained to work as offshore wind technicians. 

Penny Hill, Dean of Economic Development and Workforce Initiatives for HVCC, said, “Hudson Valley Community College is committed to helping supply the workforce for New York State’s clean energy future. In addition to those trained in welding and fabrication, the college is ready to provide other educational opportunities to support the offshore wind industry. We look forward to partnering with manufacturers to provide job training and build stronger, more resilient communities.” 

“Building an inclusive offshore wind workforce will allow us to ensure that low-income communities of color and other communities that have been left behind in the past have a chance to lead the green economy of the future,” Hannah Weinstock, Senior Director of Workforce Development for LAGCC, said.

NYS’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan 

New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings. 

Historic Wind Energy Auction Offshore NY, NJ Has Potential to Power 2 Million Homes With Clean, Renewable Energy

New York Bight lease sale has potential to generate up to seven gigawatts of clean energy, power nearly two million homes

Long Island activists, in 2017, cheer an agreement by Long Island Power Authority to move forward with offshore wind power. Then the Trump administration stalled progress. Now the Biden Administration announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold a wind auction in February for more than 480,000 acres offshore New York and New Jersey, in the area known as the New York Bight, that is projected to produce 5.6 to 7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, enough to power nearly 2 million homes © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com


WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced today that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold a wind auction next month for more than 480,000 acres offshore New York and New Jersey, in the area known as the New York Bight. Secretary Haaland was joined by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, and Liz Shuler, President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, to highlight what will be the first offshore wind lease sale under the Biden-Harris administration.
 
The Feb. 23 auction will allow offshore wind developers to bid on six lease areas – the most areas ever offered in a single auction – as described in BOEM’s Final Sale Notice. Leases offered in this sale could result in 5.6 to 7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, enough to power nearly 2 million homes. As offshore wind technology continues to advance, these areas may have the potential to produce even more clean energy.
 
“The Biden-Harris administration has made tackling the climate crisis a centerpiece of our agenda, and offshore wind opportunities like the New York Bight present a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fight climate change and create good-paying, union jobs in the United States,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “We are at an inflection point for domestic offshore wind energy development. We must seize this moment – and we must do it together.”
 
On today’s call, the leaders outlined a shared vision for developing a robust offshore wind 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 market.
 
The Biden-Harris administration’s goal to install 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 is complemented by state offshore wind policies and actions throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Collectively, New York and New Jersey have set the nation’s largest regional offshore wind target of installing over 16 GW of offshore wind by 2035.
 
“Offshore wind holds the tremendous promise for our future in terms of climate change, economic growth, strengthening our work force, and job creation,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “New Jersey is already committed to creating nearly one-quarter of the nation’s offshore wind-generation market and these transformative projects are proof that climate action can drive investments in infrastructure and manufacturing, while creating good-paying, union jobs. By acting on this this shared vision, we can promote our joint offshore wind goals, and deliver benefits to residents of both states, particularly those in overburdened communities. Together, with this critical cooperation with the Biden-Harris administration and our state partners, we will turn this vision of becoming a leader in the global offshore wind market into a reality.”
 
“Here in New York, we are already living with the disastrous effects of climate change through extreme weather that pose a direct threat to our way of life,” said Governor Hochul. “We must chart an ambitious path toward a cleaner energy economy now more than ever, and today’s milestone further highlights New York’s commitment creating a greener tomorrow. This effort will require collaboration at all levels, and I applaud the Biden Administration for their action and thank Secretary Haaland and BOEM, as well as New Jersey Governor Murphy, for their partnership as we confront the climate crisis.”
 
recent report indicates that the United States’ growing offshore wind industry presents a $109 billion opportunity in revenue to businesses in the supply chain over the next decade.   
 
The New York Bight offshore wind auction will include several innovative lease stipulations designed to promote the development of a robust domestic U.S. supply chain for offshore wind and enhance engagement with Tribes, the commercial fishing industry, other ocean users, and underserved communities. The stipulations will also advance flexibility in transmission planning and make use of project labor agreements throughout the construction of offshore wind projects. 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.
 
To advance the Department’s environmental justice and economic empowerment goals, the Sale Notice also requires lessees to identify Tribes, underserved communities and other ocean users who could be affected by offshore wind development. The Interior Department will hold companies accountable for improving their engagement, communication and transparency with these communities.
 
These additions are intended to promote offshore wind development in a way that coexists with other ocean uses and protects the ocean environment, while also facilitating our nation’s energy future for generations to come. 
 
BOEM initially asked for information and nominations of commercial interest for 1,735,154 acres in the Bight. Based on the bureau’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 by 72% to avoid conflicts with ocean users and minimize environmental impacts. BOEM will continue to engage with stakeholders as the process unfolds.
 
More information about the auction, lease stipulations, list of qualified bidders for the auction and Interior’s collaboration with New York and New Jersey can be found on BOEM’s website.
 
The Biden-Harris administration catalyzed the offshore wind industry by announcing the first-ever national offshore wind energy goal, creating a clear vision for the future of this innovative industry. This goal is reinforced by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will make robust investments in sustainable economies, clean energy, and climate resilience.
 
The Administration has already made significant progress toward creating a pipeline of projects. It has approved the nation’s first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects in federal waters: the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project (approved on May 11, 2021) and the 130-megawatt South Fork Wind project (approved on November 24, 2021). 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.
 
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.

In addition, Governor Hochul announced plans to invest in offshore wind infrastructure, procure enough wind energy to power at least 1.5 million homes, initiate planning for an offshore wind transmission network, and launch the offshore wind Master Plan 2.0 Deep Water in her 2022 State of the State address. This will ensure that the state has the strongest offshore wind energy market along the Eastern Seaboard. The Governor’s plan for offshore wind will support more than 6,800 jobs, a combined economic impact of $12.1 billion statewide, and more than 4.3 gigawatts of energy, enough to power nearly 3 million homes in New York.