The Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled a $20 billion funding initiative that will facilitate the creation of multiple “green banks,” which will in turn fund green technology startups and local communities.
The financial support will be channeled through two grant competitions. First, the $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund will back several financial institutions that will facilitate funding to climate startups and green initiatives. Second, the $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator will aid in the development of environmentally-friendly projects in low-income areas, with funds being allocated by several nonprofit organizations.
The funding comes from the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) under the Biden administration. According to a mandate by Democratic lawmakers, this funding must be spent by September 30, 2024, as a measure to protect it from potential Republican repeal attempts.
Vice President Kamala Harris stated in the press release: “The President and I set ambitious goals to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The investments announced today move our nation towards achieving these goals and a cleaner, healthier future for generations to come.”
Despite this, Republicans have proposed reducing approximately $7.8 billion of this funding in their budget for fiscal year 2024. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) labeled the bill as a “taxpayer-funded $27 billion slush fund,” while Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) asserted that cutbacks are “necessary to right-size” the EPA’s “excessive level of funding.”
In response, EPA Administrator Michael Regan stressed the bipartisan nature of the environmental initiatives funded by the IRA. He said, “We have $27 billion to design a very effective program that, by the way, will go in all districts — red, blue and independent districts. This is about investing in America.”