Category Archives: Infrastructure

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Rallies States, Cities and Companies to Boost Clean American Manufacturing

White House “Buy Clean” Convening Spurs New Commitments to Reduce Industrial Emissions and Support Made in America Steel, Concrete and More


American manufacturing is getting a new lease on life with the Biden Administration’s Federal Buy Clean Initiatives which leverages the Federal Government’s power as the largest purchaser in the world to advance low-carbon construction materials across its procurement and funded infrastructure projects. President Biden has ushered in an American manufacturing boom, with nearly 700,000 manufacturing jobs added during his Administration so far. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

At a White House convening, National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi and Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory joined state leaders to share knowledge and discussed opportunities to collaborate on expanding the purchase of lower-carbon materials made by American workers. Ahead of this convening, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a new set of public and private sector commitments aligned with President Biden’s Federal Buy Clean Initiative, which leverages the Federal Government’s power as the largest purchaser in the world to advance low-carbon construction materials across its procurement and funded infrastructure projects.
 
President Biden has ushered in an American manufacturing boom, with nearly 700,000 manufacturing jobs added during his Administration so far. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the President secured historic investments to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure and grow our clean energy economy. By leveraging the U.S. Government’s purchasing power, President Biden is catalyzing markets and positioning American manufacturing to compete and lead.

Partnerships between state, Tribal, regional, local and industry leaders are critical to ensure that Buy Clean investments in clean manufacturing and climate-resilient infrastructure benefit all Americans across the country. President Biden’s Action Plan to Accelerate Infrastructure recognizes that over 90% of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding is delivered by non-federal agencies, underscoring the need for strong partnerships across public and private sectors. Building on recent Administration announcements through the Federal Buy Clean Initiative, today’s actions to create more good-paying manufacturing jobs while tackling the climate crisis include:  

  • New Federal Support: Federal agencies are supporting Buy Clean through new nationwide programs. The Department of Transportation is announcing that 25 states will receive the first Federal Highway Administration Climate Challenge grants to support sustainable pavements. The Department of Energy will coordinate Inflation Reduction Act funds for an Advanced Industrial Facilities Deployment Program. This will help industrial facilities retrofit, upgrade, or install industrial technologies and produce low-carbon materials.
     
  • Private Sector Commitments: Companies are also stepping up and announcing new support for Buy Clean initiatives. Major manufacturers are committing to boost the supply of clean products made in America. Across the industrial sector, 60 companies have joined the Better Climate Challenge where they’ve committed to reducing portfolio-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% by 2030. At the same time, leading businesses are using their engineering, design and purchasing power to drive the demand for low-carbon construction materials.
     
  • State and Local Action: Leaders from 20 states will join today’s White House convening to share knowledge and discuss opportunities for collaboration and alignment between State Buy Clean efforts and the Federal Buy Clean Initiative. Cities are also harnessing their purchasing power through public works projects to shift the construction industry toward a cleaner future. Through initiatives like the C40 Clean Construction Accelerator and the Clean Construction Action Coalition, cities and industry leaders are working together to achieve thriving, resilient, and healthy communities—especially for the most vulnerable and historically-marginalized neighborhoods.


NEW FEDERAL SUPPORT

In September, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a major set of Buy Clean initiatives, including a policy to prioritize the Federal Government’s purchase of steel, concrete, asphalt, and flat glass that have lower embodied emissions across their lifecycle—including manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal. These construction materials account for nearly half of all GHG emissions from U.S. manufacturing.  
 
New actions from across the Biden-Harris Administration announced today include: 

  • The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is announcing grants for 25 State Departments of Transportation through the Climate Challenge to reduce GHG emissions in highway projects through the use of sustainable construction materials. It also supports the new Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) announced earlier this year that unlocks $6.4 billion in formula funding for states and localities over five years to develop carbon reduction strategies and address the climate crisis.
     
  • The Department of Energy (DOE), through the Better Climate Challenge, is partnering with organizations across the U.S. economy to set ambitious goals for reducing their carbon emissions, and to share real world strategies to decarbonize buildings and plants. Since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, three new industrial firms–Metal Technologies, Inc, Intertape Polymer Group, and Bentley Mills–have joined the Better Climate Challenge. Cleveland-Cliffs is the first American steel producer to participate in the Challenge, and represents the largest industrial energy user in DOE’s Better Plants program. DOE also recently launched the Industrial Heat Shot™ to develop cost-competitive solutions for industrial heating processes, used to make everything from food to cement and steel. The effort aims to not only realize at least 85% lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, but also support DOE’s Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap to reduce industrial emissions while benefitting workers and revitalizing communities.
     
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is kicking off a series of stakeholder engagement sessions to help shape $350 million in new grants, technical assistance, and tools from the Inflation Reduction Act to lower GHG emissions in construction materials. EPA’s ENERGY STAR Industrial Partnership is also helping over 800 manufacturing companies improve energy efficiency in manufacturing plants. Industrial energy efficiency can provide over 30% of the emission reductions needed from the industrial sector in 2050.
     
  • The General Services Administration (GSA) recently issued a Clean Construction Materials Request for Information to gather input from industry partners on the availability of domestically-manufactured, locally sourced, and low-carbon construction materials. This feedback will help inform $2.15 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funding for federal procurement of lower-carbon materials and products containing steel, concrete, flat glass, asphalt, and potentially other construction materials used in nationwide federal construction, modernization, and paving projects.
     
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is designing a new program supported by the Inflation Reduction Act. The Green and Resilient Retrofit Program will make funding available to support energy and water efficiency retrofits, make use of clean energy and energy storage, promote building electricity, and increase climate resilience for HUD-assisted multifamily properties. HUD has released a Request for Information to assess program design and uses for project funding and/or financing, including low-emission building materials or processes.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMITMENTS
 
Concrete and steel are the most widely used construction materials in the world. Each year, more than four billion tons of cement are produced, accounting for around 8% of global GHG emissions, all of which occur well before a concrete truck arrives on a job site. Federal, state, and local governments purchase about half of concrete poured and cast in the United States; the other half is purchased by the private sector. Strong partners in the manufacturing sector are innovating and investing in scaling up production of lower-carbon materials. At the same time, design, architecture and engineering firms are integrating cleaner materials into project designs, and major corporate purchasers are sending clear demand signals. Together, we can grow clean manufacturing jobs and reach net zero emissions:

  • General Motors will join the First Movers Coalition, the public-private partnership that intends to help commercialize zero-carbon technologies by harnessing purchasing power. General Motors joins the coalition as a member of the concrete sector, with an ambitious pledge to purchase at least 10% (by volume) near-zero concrete by 2030 and beyond.
     
  • Starbucks commits to reduce carbon emissions in its direct operations and supply chain 50% by 2030, including advancing measurement and reductions in embodied and lifecycle carbon for its equipment and building materials. Through the Greener Stores program, it has launched an open-source educational series, with actions that can be taken to support reductions in carbon, water and waste—including sourcing sustainable materials.
  • Lehigh Hanson, one of North America’s leading producers of cement, concrete and aggregate construction materials, commits to transforming concrete to carbon neutral by 2050, and to generating as much as 50% of revenues from sustainable products by 2030. This will be driven with product transparency and innovation in the manufacturing process and substantial CO2 reduction in its construction products.
     
  • Central Concrete, a subsidiary of Vulcan Materials Company, the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates, is collaborating on Buy Clean by continuing to develop mixes and evaluate technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with concrete production, and to partner with local governments on the development of low-carbon building specifications. The company has a proven track record of reducing carbon in concrete by up to 50%.
     
  • National Grid commits to work with suppliers to set carbon reduction targets that support net zero, including engaging its most carbon-intensive suppliers through CDP. National Grid will advance these and other priorities within the Federal Buy Clean Initiative.
     
  • Perkins&Will, the second-largest architecture firm in the world, commits to reducing embodied and operational carbon in the buildings and places it designs. The firm uses tools like the Embodied Carbon Calculator (EC3) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to reduce embodied carbon by 30% or more.
     
  • Organizations such as Breakthrough Energy, Meta, and Baker Concrete Construction are teaming up through the NEU Center to scale low carbon concrete solutions. The Center will drive adoption of innovative materials and technologies entering the marketplace. 
     
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Structural Engineering Institute’s “SE 2050  commits to achieving net zero embodied carbon structural systems by 2050. As of today, the program has 98 structural firms signed onto the commitment across 29 states and the District of Columbia.
     
  • Through “MEP 2040” over 50 Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) systems engineer and designer firms commit to achieve net zero carbon in their projects: operational carbon by 2030 and embodied carbon by 2040. Signatories request EPDs in project specifications for all building systems.
     
  • Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) has launched the Decarbonizing Industrial Supply Chain Energy (DISC-e) program to harness the collective power of large consumers to accelerate the market for low-carbon industrial commodities that use carbon-free energy throughout the manufacturing supply chain. Lightsource bp is building 2.0 gigawatts of clean energy, representing more than $2.1 billion of investments across America, with a commitment to domestic content and lower embodied carbon. They are driving demand for made-in-America solar manufactured by suppliers with a lower emissions footprint. Avangrid a member of Iberdrola, will support the group’s global commitment of specifying 100% net zero steel by 2050 and 50% by 2030.
     
  • Arup, a leading global engineering and design firm, commits to lifecycle carbon assessments for all buildings projects, and will help the sector to reach net zero by 2050. 
     
  • Carbon Leadership Forum announces 20 embodied carbon Regional Hubs across 16 states. Strong collaborations with building designers and policymakers have supported their Embodied Carbon educational series and the development of a pilot national database of whole building life cycle analysis models to set ambitious carbon-reduction targets and incentivize high-impact reduction strategies.
     
  • Lendlease and Robert Bird Group join the Climate Group’s ConcreteZero initiative today, committing to specify, buy and use 100% net zero concrete by 2040 and 2050 respectively, with two ambitious interim targets of using 30% low emission concrete by 2025 and 50% by 2030. Together, these global businesses send a strong demand signal for sustainably produced concrete to the U.S. market.
     
  • SSAB Americas commits to producing steel with zero emissions in the United States as early as 2023 (in limited quantities). And today, through the installation of an onsite, renewable fuel storage and supply system, SSAB is embracing emerging technologies that help put the steel industry on the path to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure

The Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure aims to upgrade our public schools with modern, clean, energy efficient facilities and transportation—delivering health and learning benefits to children and school communities, saving school districts money, and creating good union jobs. The action plan activates the entire federal government in leveraging investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan to advance solutions including energy efficiency retrofits, electric school buses, and resilient design. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

 
Administration Launches $500 million Grant Program from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Program to Save Schools Money with Energy Upgrades

 
Vice President Kamala Harris announced the Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure to upgrade our public schools with modern, clean, energy efficient facilities and transportation—delivering health and learning benefits to children and school communities, saving school districts money, and creating good union jobs. The action plan activates the entire federal government in leveraging investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan to advance solutions including energy efficiency retrofits, electric school buses, and resilient design.
 
The science of learning and development has shown that students need school environments filled with safety, belonging, and health to learn and thrive. Yet many schools rely on outdated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that make classrooms less comfortable and may pose health risks to students and teachers exposed to contaminants or particles in the air that can trigger allergies or asthma attacks and potentially spread infectious diseases – including COVID-19. Dirty diesel buses pose additional health risks for students on board and the neighborhoods they travel through — and exhaust from idling buses can pollute the air around schools. Studies show that poor air quality inside classrooms takes a toll on student concentration and performance, and diesel exhaust exposure is linked to increased school absences. Reducing this pollution will provide better health and educational outcomes — particularly in low-income communities and communities of color that have long faced underinvestment and the burden of high pollution.
 
The action plan will save schools and taxpayers money. Public K-12 districts spend roughly $8 billion a year on energy bills — the second largest expense after teacher salaries. Energy efficiency improvements to HVAC systems, lighting, insulation, and other energy upgrades can not only protect the health of our children, but also unlock significant savings to go toward students and learning. Off-the-shelf improvements can provide energy savings of 10 to 30 percent and broader upgrades can unlock even more savings for years to come – all while creating opportunities for good paying union jobs for electricians, carpenters, painters, sheet metal workers, plumbers and pipefitters, and more.
 
The Administration is seizing the opportunity to align classrooms with the science of learning and development to improve educational equity and environmental justice. The new actions build on President Biden signing the American Rescue Plan into law one year ago, which helped reopen more than 99% of schools with resources to put in place critical health and safety measures like ventilation improvements to make in-person learning safe and accessible for students and educators.
 
The Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure will:

  • Invest in More Efficient, Energy-Saving School Buildings: The Department of Energy (DOE) is launching a $500 million grant program through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make public schools more energy efficient. This new program will lower energy costs, improve air quality, and prioritize schools most in need, enabling schools to focus more resources on student learning.
     
  • Improve Classroom Air Quality through the American Rescue Plan: The Administration is supporting states, school districts, and local communities in leveraging American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief resources to address school infrastructure needs—like repairing, upgrading, or replacing of ventilation systems; purchasing air filters and portable air cleaning devices; and fixing doors and windows so that schools can stay open for in-person learning. Additionally, the Department of Treasury will soon release additional information to help school districts understand how they can use State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for a range of air quality and other school facility improvements, including energy efficiency.
     
  • Help Schools Access Resources and Best Practices: The White House is releasing a toolkit to help schools and school districts access available funding, as well as technical assistance opportunities and planning tools to help schools improve air quality, energy efficiency, and more. This new toolkit will further support school participation in the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which the Administration recently launched to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and improve indoor air quality in buildings of all kinds, including schools. The Department of Energy is also announcing the inaugural honorees of the Efficient and Healthy Schools Campaign, which provides technical assistance to school districts seeking to implement high-impact indoor air quality and efficiency improvements that will reduce energy bills and improve student and teacher health.  
     
  • Expand Clean and Safe School Transportation: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with support from the Department of Energy (DOE), is releasing new online resources to help school districts and other eligible recipients prepare for the $5 billion Clean School Bus Program created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—with the first opportunity to fund clean and electric buses opening later this spring. The DOE is working closely with the EPA to develop targeted technical assistance programs that assist school districts in implementing clean and electric buses effectively into their fleets–starting with a technical assistance video series on electric buses. To support projects that help students safely walk and bike to school, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has provided state and local governments with new guidance to access $90 billion in available federal funding, including Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs.  
     
  • Support for Rural, Tribal, and Puerto Rican Schools: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing its full commitment to use its array of rural development loan and grant programs to support electric school bus acquisition, charging station infrastructure, energy efficiency investments at schools, and broadband and distance learning in rural school districts – to accelerate the shift from dirty fuel sources toward school facilities and vehicles powered by clean electricity. DOE is partnering with the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to improve the state of our federally-operated schools. And the Administration’s Working Group on Puerto Rico has prioritized supporting school reconstruction.

Today’s announcements build on ongoing efforts to support students, including the Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan to reduce lead exposure in 400,000 schools and child care facilities and the Justice40 Initiative, which agencies are implementing to deliver 40 percent of the benefits of federal climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.

Investments to Improve School Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality

The Administration is advancing a suite of investments to upgrade our K-12 public school facilities, many of which face maintenance backlogs and are long overdue for new equipment. While teachers and education leaders have long raised concerns about the level of comfort and air quality in our classrooms, the pandemic has laid bare disparities in access to healthy facilities, including modern, efficient, and clean HVAC systems. Outdated, inefficient buildings also saddle underserved school districts with higher energy bills and generate significant greenhouse gas emissions, keeping them in a cycle of underfunding operations and overpaying maintenance costs. This Action Plan will help schools make facility improvements that simultaneously deliver health protections, savings, and climate benefits.
 
Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a Request for Information to launch its new $500 million grant program for energy improvements at public school facilities, funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The projects funded by these grants will improve the quality of the air our students and educators breathe while reducing energy costs and freeing up local funds to invest more in education. These grants can support comprehensive energy efficiency audits and building retrofits, HVAC and lighting upgrades, clean energy installation, and more—along with training to help staff maintain these improvements over the long-term. DOE will prioritize projects in rural and high-poverty schools, and support leveraging of additional private, philanthropic, and public funding to maximize the benefits of these grants. In step with the Administration’s priority to create good union jobs accessible to all workers, the DOE will work to promote high quality labor and equity standards into school improvement grants. The RFI solicits input from schools and other stakeholders on important design considerations to ensure the grant program achieves the greatest reach and impact.
 
The Administration is also leveraging the American Rescue Plan, which President Biden signed into law one year ago, to address a range of health and safety issues in schools. The American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief program has provided $122 billion to states and districts to help schools stay open and address the significant academic and mental health needs of students resulting from the pandemic. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan also includes $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to support a wide range of pandemic response and recovery efforts, including school improvements to ventilation and building energy systems that reduce energy costs and support healthy environments. And, according to independent analysis, school districts are already planning to spend $15 billion of these funds to address facilities issues impacting student and staff health and safety, such as improving indoor air quality. The Department of Treasury will soon provide additional clarity to help recipients of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds understand how they can partner with local education agencies to use more of these funds for building upgrades and construction, including pre-project development costs, such as building assessments, energy audits, and feasibility studies. The Department of Education continues to outline how states and districts can use its funds for repairs and renovations, including improving indoor air quality through HVAC upgrades and door and window replacement, and ensuring clean drinking water in schools.
 
New Resources and Recognition to Support Schools
To help schools access funding sources and technical assistance opportunities, the White House is releasing a toolkit mapping out available resources across the federal government for school infrastructure upgrades. By compiling resources and programs from across the federal government, this toolkit will help state and local officials find the support they need for building assessments, air quality improvements, energy efficiency upgrades, lead removal, resilience planning, and more. It builds on the Administration’s priority on improving indoor air quality through the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in buildings and to deliver better health outcomes and protection for all building occupants.
 
To support and uplift schools and districts undertaking this critical work, the Administration is announcing the first round of honorees as part of the Efficient and Healthy Schools Campaign, which provides technical assistance to school districts seeking to implement high-impact indoor air quality and efficiency improvements that will reduce energy bills and improve student and teacher health. This innovative campaign has a goal of reaching 5,000 schools by the end of 2022. To date, 26 school districts across 16 states have joined or are prepared to join the campaign—representing over 1,500,000 students in 2,600 individual schools—more than half way toward the campaign’s goal.
 
Today, the Campaign announced its first round of awards to eight school districts for their best-in-class efforts across four categories: Efficient HVAC Technologies, Inspection & maintenance, Ongoing Monitoring & Analytics, and Team Approach to Support Strategic Investments. The inaugural honorees include:

  • Adams 12 Five Star Schools, CO 
  • Boulder Valley School District, CO
  • Charleston County School District, SC
  • Columbia Public Schools, MO
  • Davis School District, UT
  • Greenville County Schools, SC
  • Mariposa County Unified School District, CA
  • Newark Board of Education, NJ

DOE is also accelerating a range of grants, technical assistance, and lending to support schools along each step of the school improvement process. These efforts include the Better Buildings Challenge and its K-12 Sector partnerships; DOE’s new tool—eProject eXpress—that can support state and local governments and K-12 schools in project management for energy saving performance contracts, and help leverage financing to maximize impact; and DOE’s Loan Programs Office Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Solicitation that can be accessed by schools to provide up to $3 billion in loan guarantees for retrofit projects.

And to ensure that schools are supported in creating healthy, safe, sustainable, 21st century learning environments, the Department of Education is proposing a new Office of Infrastructure and Sustainability, as part of the President’s FY2023 Budget. This office would oversee a proposed National Clearinghouse on School Infrastructure and Sustainability and administer the ongoing U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award. The proposed National Clearinghouse on School Infrastructure and Sustainability would provide technical assistance and training to state and local education agencies on issues related to educational facility planning, design, financing, construction, improvement, operation, and maintenance, including green building design and operation practices consistent with the Administration’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis. The Clearinghouse would also develop resources and assemble best practices on issues related to ensuring equitable access to healthy, educationally adequate and environmentally and fiscally sustainable public-school facilities and grounds. To set the stage for this new office, the Department of Education recently named a Special Advisor for Infrastructure and Sustainability to spearhead agency-wide consideration of how existing programs might support school sustainability and infrastructure.

These actions build on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which calls on all building owners and operators, schools, colleges and universities, and organizations of all kinds to adopt key strategies to improve indoor air quality in their buildings and reduce the spread of COVID-19. It serves as a call to action to assess indoor air quality and make ventilation and air filtration improvements to help keep occupants safe. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a best practices guide for improving indoor air quality and reducing the risk of spreading dangerous airborne particles.

Clean and Safe School Transportation
School buses safely transport more than 25 million children every day across America. However, diesel exhaust from buses produces particulate matter and other pollutants that can cause lung damage and aggravate asthma and other health problems in children. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation, with support and technical assistance from the Department of Energy, are making historic investments in cleaner school buses and safer school transportation routes.

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency is building public awareness for the new $5 billion Clean School Bus Program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Throughout the next month, EPA will regularly post new online resources and webinars for the Clean School Bus Program to help school districts and other eligible recipients prepare for the first round of applications. These resources build upon EPA’s public education and outreach effort, to gather ideas and increase awareness within communities and school districts, particularly for lower-resourced schools—in support of the President’s Justice40 commitment.

The Department of Transportation is helping communities take advantage of funding to support safer routes to schools made available by the Bipartisan Infrastructure LawThe Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program at DOT helps communities plan, design, and construct infrastructure projects that increase healthy transportation choices and substantially improve the ability of students to walk and bicycle safely to school—particularly in communities underserved by safe transportation options. Since 2015, the SRTS program has supported over $1 billion in safe school route projects benefiting nearly 7 million students across more than 17,000 schools—a third of which were in disadvantaged communities and Title I schools.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expanded the eligibility of the SRTS program to schools through 12th grade and added eligibility for safe school route projects through the nearly $17 billion-per-year Highway Safety Improvement Program—including for use in training and education.

Support for Rural, Tribal, and Puerto Rican Schools
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today a new commitment to support school facility and vehicle electrification, including school buses. In support of this commitment, USDA released a new guidance that informs how Rural Development programs can support rural electric cooperatives to advance electrification projects for schools and other public facilities and vehicles.

These funding and assistance programs can support rural utilities like those in a newly formed Electric Cooperative School Bus Initiative , a collaboration of more than 350 local distribution cooperatives across 32 states, providing educational and administrative support to help rural communities access funding for electric school buses and school bus infrastructure.

Additionally, DOE is partnering with the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to improve the state of our federally-operated schools. Aligning with the President’s Justice 40 Initiative, the DOE Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) is assisting BIE to initiate a set of pilot assessments in Tribal schools for energy efficiency and indoor air quality projects.

The Administration’s Working Group on Puerto Rico has prioritized supporting school reconstruction efforts on the island. Agencies collaborated on a toolkit in both English and Spanish outlining federal resources available to help Puerto Rico recover and rebuild safe, healthy and modernized school facilities. Agencies have also provided technical assistance to Puerto Rican officials on how they can leverage multiple funding streams to rebuild, repair, and modernize their schools.

Support for Training and Workforce Development
School improvements provide critical training opportunities for building an effective workforce. Large school projects often last multiple years and draw upon a large mix of trades. This continuity of training and employment makes them ideal opportunities for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs that lead directly to good-paying careers. And when done alongside the President’s Justice40 Initiative, these investments will prioritize under-resourced schools while also investing in communities that can benefit from long-term training and employment.

The Department of Labor’s Good Jobs Initiative is supporting federal agency partners as they embed job quality and equity policies into their infrastructure investments.  The Good Jobs Initiative is supporting federal agency partners as they work to leverage their infrastructure investments to provide meaningful opportunities for all communities to enter good paying union careers. 

The wide array of federal offerings can support initiatives such as the Carbon Free and Healthy Schools campaign–which is led by labor unions in collaboration with students, parents, and climate advocates across the country–to create safe, healthy, and cost-effective school environments through building retrofits and solarization, while supporting strong labor standards and robust worker training opportunities. The campaign is currently working with school districts representing more than five million students across Texas, California, IllinoisNew YorkConnecticutRhode Island, Michigan, Maine, and Wisconsin, with more state campaigns in formation.

DoE Seeks Input for $500 Million Grant Program for Energy Upgrades to 100,000 Public Schools

The U.S. Department of Energy released a Request for Information for a $500 million grant program from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for K-12 public school energy upgrades. The program will help deliver cleaner and healthier classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, playgrounds, and gyms where over three million teachers teach and 50 million students learn, eat, and build friendships every day. Energy upgrades to America’s public schools, including leveraging renewable power sources and electric school buses, will bring the nation closer to President Biden’s goal to build a net-zero economy by 2050. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.— As part the new Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a Request for Information (RFI) for a $500 million grant program from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for K-12 public school energy upgrades. The program will help deliver cleaner and healthier classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, playgrounds, and gyms where over three million teachers teach and 50 million students learn, eat, and build friendships every day. Energy upgrades to America’s public schools, including leveraging renewable power sources and electric school buses, will bring the nation closer to President Biden’s goal to build a net-zero economy by 2050. 

“Children should be able to learn and grow in environments that are not plagued with poor insulation and ventilation, leaky roofs, or poor heating and cooling,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “President Biden fought for these funds to give schools and their communities the resources they need to improve student and teacher health and cut energy costs, allowing districts to focus more resources on student learning.” 

Many of America’s public schools are in desperate need of energy improvements. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s 100,000 public K-12 schools a D+ in their 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure report. Dilapidated school facilities can negatively affect student learning and health as indoor air quality problems can aggravate respiratory illnesses, reduce student and teacher attendance and performance, and increase risk of transmission of respiratory infections like COVID-19. 

Energy consumption is the second-highest operational expense schools face with a significant portion of this energy lost through leaky school walls, windows, and other inefficient equipment and systems. Districts that serve rural, high poverty, or Hispanic/Latino, African American, and Native American communities experience the greatest burden of failing or antiquated school facilities. 

Public school facilities will be eligible for energy improvements that result in a direct reduction in school energy costs, including improvements to the air conditioning and heating, ventilation, hot water heating, and lighting systems. In addition, funding would support any improvement, repair, renovation to, or installation in a school that leads to an improvement in teacher and student health.  

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s grant funding will also support additional improvements, repairs, or renovations such as the installation of renewable energy technologies, the installation of alternative fueled vehicle infrastructure on school grounds such as school buses or the purchase or lease of alternative fueled vehicles to be used by a school. 

DOE encourages Local Education Agencies, school staff, states, local governments, energy service companies, unions, service providers, and utilities to respond to the RFI. 

The deadline to submit your response to this RFI is May 18, 2022, at 5 p.m. ET. Download the RFI to see the full list of questions and instructions on how to submit your response. 

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.

President Biden to Lay Out Bold Commitments on Rebuilding America’s Crumbling Infrastructure Over the Next Year

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 the President’s plan to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure over the next year:

The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will rebuild crumbling road and bridges, replace lead pipes, help make available reliable, affordable high-speed internet to every family in America, and produce concrete results that change people’s lives for the better. It will also support American manufacturing jobs by making sure taxpayer dollars are spent purchasing American made goods. Rebuilding our infrastructure and supply chains here at home, and making more here in America, means we can create more good jobs, move what we make more efficiently, and ultimately lower prices for the American people. By reaching all communities all across the country – including rural communities and historically underserved populations – these once-in-a-generation investments will position the United States to win the 21st century.
 
In the first 106 days since President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the White House Infrastructure Implementation Team has hit the ground running to deliver concrete results for the American people. Nearly $100 billion of dedicated funding has been announced and is headed to states, territories, Tribes and local governments, with another nearly $50 billion of notices of funding opportunity released. To date, over 4000 projects have been announced, from airport improvements to port upgrades to superfund cleanup sites. Over 90 percent of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will be spent by non-federal partners, meaning the Biden-Harris administration will be partnering with states, territories, Tribes, local governments and others to deliver the crucial infrastructure projects and the good-paying jobs created by these investments.
 
In his first State of the Union Address, President Biden will highlight how our historic federal investments in infrastructure will create a visible impact in the lives of American families this year by committing to start repair on 65,000 miles of roads and 1,500 bridges. The President will also commit to rapid progress across every facet of the law.
 
TRANSPORTATION
                    

  • Roads & Bridges: As a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Department of Transportation announced $52.5 billion for highways and more than $5.3 billion for bridges for fiscal year 2022. Over the next year, states, territories, Tribes and local governments will start to improve 65,000 miles of roads and 1,500 bridges with federal funding, representing at 44% and 50% increase respectively from average annual improvement levels over the past six years.
  • Airports: In December, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at USDOT announced $3 billion for 3,075 airports across the country that can use investments to upgrade critical infrastructure. Over the next year, FAA will be able to invest in over 600 airport infrastructure projects, including preserving 400 pavement projects on taxiways and runways.
  • Transit: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes the largest Federal investment in public transit in historyOver the next year, communities will be investing in an estimated 15,000 new buses, ferries and subway cars, improving commutes for working Americans, families, and students across the country and reducing greenhouse emissions.
  • Rail: The Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak are transforming the nation’s transportation system. In the next year, Amtrak is investing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding in 75 new, Made-in-America locomotives, at least 73 Made-in-America Intercity Trainsets, and major improvements to facilities in the Northeast Corridor.
  • Ports, Waterways, and Flood Mitigation: With $14 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other appropriations, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will advance over 500 projects across 52 states and territories to strengthen supply chains, improve waterways, and reduce flooding. Additional projects will be funded by the Port Infrastructure Development Program.

 
HIGH-SPEED INTERNET
 

  • Broadband Access & Deployment: In the next year, the Department of Commerce will issue final guidance and notices of funding opportunity for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program and the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, which together will distribute more than $43 billion in broadband funding. The Department of Agriculture will issue a new funding opportunity notice for the ReConnect program which will provide nearly $2 billion in funding for rural broadband deployment.
  • Broadband Affordability: Over the next year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will build on the more than 10 million lower-income households already receiving subsidized internet service through the Affordable Connectivity Program. The FCC will also adopt rules requiring broadband providers to display easy-to-understand labels to allow consumers to more effectively comparison shop for broadband services.
     

 
CLIMATE, CLEAN ENERGY, AND ENVIRONMENT
 

  • Clean Water: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $7.4 billion for Fiscal Year 2022 in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will be available to states to upgrade America’s aging water infrastructure, sewerage systems, lead pipes and service lines, and more through their State Revolving Fund programs. By this time next year, using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding alone, EPA will have worked with state and local governments to fund more than 400 new water projects from replacing lead service lines to improving drinking water systems.
  • Abandoned Mine Lands: The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced nearly $725 million in Fiscal Year 2022 funding for 22 states and the Navajo Nation to create good-paying union jobs and catalyze economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands. Over the next year, DOI expects states, Tribes, and other partners to reclaim over 15,000 acres of abandoned mine lands, as well as launch new reclamation efforts that will ultimately address tens of thousands of additional acres across the country using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds. This investment delivers on President Biden’s historic commitment to investing in the revitalization of the energy communities that have powered our country for generations.
  • Orphan Wells: The first $1.15 billion in funding is now available to 26 states to create good-paying jobs cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells across the country. Over the next year, we expect the DOI’s new Orphan Well Program will start work plugging, capping, and remediating over 8,000 abandoned oil & gas well sites in communities across the country.
  • Superfund: EPA announced $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, with work expected at more than 80 Superfund cleanup projects in the next year.
  • Great Lakes Restoration: EPA announced $1 billion for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, including $200 million in Fiscal Year 2022, to accelerate progress in the clean-up and restoration of the Great Lakes’ most environmentally degraded sites, securing clean water and a better environment for millions of Americans in the Great Lakes region. In the next year, EPA will work across more than 20 sites across the Great Lakes basin targeting open areas of concern.
  • Wildfire Resilience: In the next year, the DOI will increase its work to reduce the risk of wildfires to communities by more than 30 percent– removing over 300,000 acres of burnable fuels in the places where communities and wildlands meet – as well as the start of work to reduce wildfire risk on an additional 250,000 acres across the country. With BIL funding and existing appropriations, the US Forest Service at the Department of Agriculture also expects to execute hazardous fuels reduction work on more than 4 million acres over the next year, including reforesting up to 400,000 acres to create new carbon sinks on previously burned lands.
     
  • Critical Mineral Refinery: The Department of Energy (DOE) released a Request for Information for the construction and operation of a first-of-its kind $140 million demonstration facility to extract and separate rare earth elements and other critical minerals from coal ash, mine tailings, acid drainage, and other legacy fossil fuel waste to sustainably produce materials key to next-generation clean energy technologies. This facility will support good-paying manufacturing jobs and help secure a sustainable domestic supply chain to fight the climate crisis.
     
  • Battery Manufacturing: This Spring, DOE will make available nearly $3 billion to bolster domestic manufacturing of advanced batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage. This includes refining and production of battery materials, manufacturing of battery cells and packs, and end-of-life recycling to create good-paying manufacturing jobs and support growing demand for electric vehicles and energy storage to meet the Administration’s ambitious net-zero climate goals.

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.

White House Announces Additional Actions to Help Families Afford Energy Bills, Building on Historic Investments

On National Energy Assistance Day, White House Coordinates Outreach and Encourages Families to Enroll in Assistance Programs

The White House is joining states, localities, advocacy groups, and utilities in encouraging American families to apply for programs that can help hard-pressed families address home energy costs. Households in need of help with their energy bills can identify resources in their area at EnergyHelp.us or call the National Energy Assistance Referral hotline at 1-866-674-6327. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The White House is joining states, localities, advocacy groups, and utilities in encouraging American families to apply for programs that can help hard-pressed families address home energy costs. These resources include the record funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provided by the Biden-Harris Administration this year and funds to reduce home energy costs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In addition to outreach efforts across the Administration, the White House also announced information encouraging states to use all available American Rescue Plan resources for energy assistance and funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to reduce home energy costs.

  • Funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Are Building on the American Rescue Plan’s Investment That More Than Doubled LIHEAP Funding: The Biden-Harris Administration has delivered nearly $8 billion in LIHEAP funding nationally, more than doubling typical annual appropriations—thanks to an additional $4.5 billion provided by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Earlier this month, the White House announced state-by-state breakdown of this funding (see below for total awards to date by state/territory). Last week, the Administration also distributed the first $100 million installment of a five-year, $500 million investment in LIHEAP provided by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These funds represent the largest investment in a single year since the program was established in 1981. These resources are already allowing states across the country to provide more home energy relief to low income Americans than ever before.
  • The American Rescue Plan Provided Additional Historic Resources for Utility Relief Including the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program and State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund: The American Rescue Plan provided other critical resources that states and localities can use to address home energy costs. ERA programs, which received an additional $21.5 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan, can provide help with past-due utility bills or ongoing assistance with energy costs to help distressed renters avoid shut-offs and keep current on expenses. State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds can also be deployed to help deliver energy relief to families.
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Made Historic Investments to Reduce Home Energy Costs: The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invested a historic $3.5 billion in the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, reducing energy costs for hundreds of thousands of low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes.

 The Administration is announcing the following:

  • Outreach in Support of National Energy Assistance Day: Today, the Department of Health and Human Services released a radio announcement in English and Spanish and a video to encourage families to apply for LIHEAP. The radio announcement will air over 2,000 times and reach an estimated 36 million listeners. Yesterday, the Department also released a Dear Colleague Letter to LIHEAP Administrators encouraging their participation in National Energy Assistance Day. Other agencies across the Administration are also celebrating National Energy Awareness Day by disseminating information about assistance programs, including LIHEAP and ERA. The White House also coordinated outreach to state and local elected officials as well as other stakeholders.
  • Information on Using the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund for Utility Assistance: The American Rescue Plan created a $1 billion fund for states, territories and tribes that is available to provide cash or targeted assistance to needy families. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services released a brief on how to use these funds to respond to winter utility needs.
  • Significant Support Distributed Through American Rescue Plan Housing Programs: As of the end of 2021, well over $25 billion of funds have been obligated to assist households across the country through the ERA program, which provides both rental and utility assistance to households in need. Treasury continues to promote best practices such as avoiding shut-offs for eligible households and allowing self-attestation to document substantial increases in home heating or other utility costs to support eligibility. Treasury is also working with states and Tribes to distribute $9.8 billion in funding for the Homeowners Assistance Fund, with a majority of approved plans including utility assistance to homeowners in need.
  • Best Practices on Coordination with Utility Providers: Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department hosted a webinar with over 700 utility assistance program administrators and utility providers from across the country to discuss how programs including LIHEAP and ERA can coordinate with utility providers to increase the efficiency and reach of their programs. Panelists from across the country shared their perspectives on effective coordination between utility assistance administrators and utility providers and highlighted a range of best practices.

 Today’s announcements build on the Administration’s previous actions to ensure these historic resources are distributed swiftly and equitably:

  • Encouraged States to Plan Early: In November, the White House called on states, localities, and tribes to plan early to distribute American Rescue Plan funds to address home energy costs this winter.
  • Secured Commitments from Utilities to Avoid Shut-offs and Expedite Aid: The White House has called on utility companies to prevent devastating utility shut-offs and help expedite the delivery of unprecedented federal aid. In January, the White House announced that it has already welcomed commitments from fourteen major utility companies across the country, including Atlantic City Electric, Baltimore Gas and Electric, ComEd, Delmarva Power, DTE Energy, Eversource, Green Mountain Power, National Grid, NorthWestern Energy, Pacific Gas & Electric, PECO, Pepco, Portland General Electric and Vermont Gas, as well as the delivered fuel trade association NEFI.
  • Called for Coordination of LIHEAP and Emergency Rental Assistance Relief to Families: To maximize the impact of home energy assistance, the White House called for states, localities, and tribes to coordinate across programs including LIHEAP and ERA. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department have issued guidance and co-hosted webinars on LIHEAP and ERA best practices that attracted 500 administrators – collectively representing 47 states, the District of Columbia, and 72 Tribal governments. More than 50 percent of these administrators now report they are coordinating across these programs.

Households in need of help with their energy bills can identify resources in their area at EnergyHelp.us or call the National Energy Assistance Referral hotline at 1-866-674-6327.