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Author: WHCEQ Staff Published: 9/30/2023 White House Council on Environmental Quality
This Week in Environmental News
Yesterday, the Biden-Harris administration hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities, which included representatives from more than 25 states, territories, and Tribal Nations. The Summit, which fulfilled a commitment President Biden made in June, underscores the Administration’s commitment to solutions that will both dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better manage climate threats, and recognizes the importance of locally tailored, community-driven strategies.
In conjunction with the Summit, the Biden-Harris Administration released the National Climate Resilience Framework, a vision for a climate resilient nation designed to guide and align climate resilience investments and activities by the federal government and its partners. The Framework identifies common principles and specific actions to accelerate progress towards six objectives. Federal agencies also announced new actions – including the awarding or availability of more than $500 million in dedicated funding – to build climate resilience.
Also this week:
- President Biden signed a Presidential Memorandum to prioritize the restoration of healthy and abundant wild salmon, steelhead, and other native fish populations to the Columbia River Basin. The Memorandum follows a historic agreement signed last week with Tribal Nations to reintroduce salmon into blocked areas in the Upper Basin. Learn more about the Administration’s historic ecosystem restoration efforts in the Columbia River Basin here.
- The U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the Internal Revenue Service announced that applications for the Inflation Reduction Act’s Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program under Section 48(e) of the Internal Revenue Code will open at 9:00 am ET on October 19, 2023. The program will spur clean energy investments in underserved communities by providing a 10 or 20-percentage point tax credit boost for solar and wind projects in low-income and Tribal communities.
- DOE announced the eighth cohort of its Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants, with $167.7 million in awards from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of climate-driven extreme weather while also ensuring power sector reliability.
- The Department of the Treasury issued guidance on the Inflation Reduction Act’s 45L new energy efficient home tax credit that offers up to $5,000 to eligible contractors who construct, reconstruct, or rehabilitate an energy efficient home to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Certification and DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Homes Certification.
- The Administration announced that it will develop a standard national definition for a zero-emissions building for non-federally owned buildings. This action will accelerate climate progress by helping the building industry construct buildings that are both zero-emissions and more climate resilient. The final definition will be published in early 2024 following a stakeholder engagement process.
- The Federal Aviation Administration announced nearly $300 million in funding for projects to help achieve America’s goal of net-zero emissions from aviation by 2050.
- EPA announced the availability of $100 million in grants to support efforts to report and reduce climate pollution linked to the manufacturing of construction materials and products, which account for 11% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions.
- President Biden vetoed two resolutions that would overturn protections for at-risk wildlife. S.J. Res. 24 and S.J Res. 9 would overturn science-based rulemakings that follow the requirements of the law, and thereby undermine the Endangered Species Act and America’s proud wildlife conservation tradition.
#ICYMI (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
Last week, the Biden-Harris Administration celebrated Climate Week with major action across the Federal government to tackle the climate crisis:
- The Administration launched the American Climate Corps, a workforce training and service initiative that will put a new generation of more than 20,000 young people to work in the growing fields of climate resilience, conservation, and clean energy.
- The Administration announced its latest steps to expand offshore wind opportunities for years to come, with a new federal-state agreement on regional supply chain collaboration, an Atlantic Offshore Wind Transmission Action Plan, and $72 million in funding for wind energy innovation.
- DOE announced the availability of $325 million to accelerate the development of long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies.
- The Biden-Harris Administration announced $400 million for states to improve building energy efficiency, save consumers money, and make buildings more climate resilient.
- EPA launched a $4.6 billion competition to fund state, local, and Tribal programs and policies that cut climate pollution, advance environment.
Investing in America Project Spotlight:
Protection and Restoration of Historical Graveyard Spit Dune
Project: Graveyard Spit Restoration and Resilience Project
Location: Willapa Bay, Washington
Funding: $3.9 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Project start date: April 2023
The Graveyard Spit Restoration and Resilience Project will help protect vulnerable community infrastructure and cultural resources from rising sea levels and coastal hazards in Willapa Bay, Washington. The project will include the rehabilitation and revegetation of the historic barrier dune, the protection and restoration of the backshore marsh and tidal embayment, and the construction of a nature-based cobble berm.
The project, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management, is a partnership between the local communities of North Cove, Tokeland, and Pacific County, along with the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, the state of Washington, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Learn more about the project here.
This project is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is part of the President’s Justice40 Initiative. Learn more about how President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is advancing public infrastructure and clean energy investments in communities across the nation here.
Top: Graveyard Spit Site Inspection, NOAA, 2022.
Bottom: Wetland Erosion Graveyard Spit, NOAA,
News Clips of the Week
The Washington Post: White House to announce new definition of zero-emission buildings
Recent Biden-Harris Administration Announcements
“Today President Biden is fulfilling a commitment he made in June to host the first-ever White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities. This Summit, which will include representatives from more than 25 states, territories, and Tribal Nations, underscores the Administration’s commitment to solutions that will both dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better manage climate threats, and recognizes the importance of locally tailored, community-driven strategies.”
Today, the Department of Commerce and NOAA announced the availability of $100 million to support climate resilience projects through U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Regional Associations as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. This funding is from the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate investment in history, and comes one day after the first-ever White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities.
“The Department of the Interior today announced up to $328 million in funding opportunities available through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, to help communities address impacts of climate change through water recycling, water storage and desalination projects.”
“Today, the Department of Commerce and NOAA announced that $6 million in funding over five years has been awarded to the University of Iowa and its partners to expand collaborative research and community engagement projects for climate adaptation planning and action. The initiative, which targets the Central Midwest states of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, will add a 13th regional team to the NOAA Climate Adaptation Partnerships (CAP)/ Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) network.”
“Today, the Department of Commerce and NOAA announced $12.7 million in funding to advance the Climate-Smart Communities Initiative. This funding, which is available as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda under the Inflation Reduction Act — the largest climate investment in history — will bring climate adaptation expertise to communities across the U.S. over the next four years.”
“In support of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $38 million in funding for 13 projects aimed at advancing clean energy technology deployment in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. This funding will bolster ongoing efforts to reduce and stabilize energy costs, increase energy security and resilience, and provide electric power to Native communities.”
“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced two settlements with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) to address non-compliance with its Clean Water Act wastewater programs. NTUA operates the Shiprock and Window Rock wastewater treatment plants, which discharge treated wastewater within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation.”
“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $100 million in grants to support efforts to report and reduce climate pollution linked to the manufacturing of construction materials and products, which account for 11% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. The funding through EPA’s new Reducing Embodied Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Construction Materials program will help manufacturers disclose environmental impacts across the life of a product and inform institutional purchasers who are prioritizing lower embodied carbon construction materials.”
“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that will provide EPA, its partners, and the public with the largest-ever dataset of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) manufactured and used in the United States. This rule builds on over two years of progress on the Biden-Harris Administration’s action plan to combat PFAS pollution, safeguarding public health and advancing environmental justice, and is a key action in EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap.”
“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of at least $500 million in funding from the Clean School Bus rebate competition that is transforming school bus fleets across America and protecting children from air pollution. This second round of funding will build on the previous nearly $1 billion investment to further improve air quality in and around schools, reduce greenhouse gas pollution fueling the climate crisis, and help accelerate America’s leadership in developing the clean vehicles of the future.”
“U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA received record demand for funding to advance affordable and reliable clean energy in rural America under key programs made possible by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the largest clean energy and climate investment in history and the largest investment ever in rural energy infrastructure.”
PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Energy, IRS Announce Date for Opening of Applications for Investing in America Program to Spur Clean Energy Investments in Underserved Communities
“This groundbreaking program through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act — the largest climate investment in history — provides a 10 or 20-percentage point boost to the Investment Tax Credit for qualified solar or wind facilities in low-income communities. The goals of the program are to increase access to clean energy in low-income communities, encourage new market participants, and benefit individuals and communities that have experienced adverse health or environmental effects or lacked economic opportunities.”
“Today, President Biden signed a Presidential Memorandum to prioritize the restoration of healthy and abundant wild salmon, steelhead, and other native fish populations to the Columbia River Basin. The Presidential Memorandum is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s unprecedented commitment to honor the United States’ obligations to Tribal Nations and protect and restore America’s natural wonders for future generations, while also recognizing the important co-benefits that the Columbia River provides to communities and businesses throughout the region.”
“In support of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $22 million to 12 state-run programs to accelerate smart manufacturing at small- and medium-sized facilities.”
“Earlier this month, the Department of Commerce and NOAA’s Office of Water Prediction awarded the Next Generation Water Prediction Capability contract to Raytheon, an RTX Business. The $80 million, four-year contract will transform water prediction by enabling rapid deployment of advanced water models to provide coupled, continental scale, operational coastal and inland flood forecasting and inundation mapping services.”
“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $235 million in grants from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, to assess and clean up polluted brownfield sites across the country. The new grants through EPA’s Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) program will advance environmental justice and help transform what were once polluted, vacant, and abandoned properties into community assets while spurring economic revitalization in underserved communities.”
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the availability of over $20 million in grant funding to support training for workers who protect and treat our nation’s drinking water and provide critical wastewater services. Through the Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Grant program, EPA will support training and career opportunities in the water sector.”