Biden doles out $2 billion for local weather justice amid spending battle with Republicans

The Biden administration on Tuesday unveiled what it known as the only largest spending on an “environmental justice” challenge, with $2 billion in Environmental Protection Agency grants from the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act.

The announcement comes amid a authorities spending feud on Capitol Hill, the place House Republicans are proposing to slash such funding — a significant a part of President Biden’s local weather change agenda — by half.

The $2 billion tranche is a part of a $3 billion pot appropriated by the IRA and is the most recent in a collection of smaller bulletins. This funding spherical will go to deprived communities overburdened by air pollution for local weather resiliency, enhancing air and water high quality, clear vitality, and mitigating well being dangers from warmth and wildfires.

“At EPA, it is our privilege and greatest responsibility to ensure that all people in this country, no matter the color of their skin, the community they live in or how much money they have in their pockets, have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and the opportunity to live a healthy life,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan advised reporters on a press name.

However, the cash might be in jeopardy, at the same time as administration officers race to get it out the door.

House Republicans’ annual funding invoice for the Interior Department, which incorporates the EPA, appears to be like to claw again $1.4 billion of the IRA’s $3 billion for its newest environmental challenge. The program is one in every of a number of “misguided policies” from the legislation, the House Natural Resources Committee mentioned, which crafted the spending cuts.

“This responsible fiscal legislation trims wasteful spending while upholding conservative policies that will broadly impact rural communities, hunters and anglers, farmers and ranchers, and ultimately save money for the American taxpayer both in government spending and in reigning in programs that are driving up inflation for everyone,” Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman, Arkansas Republican, mentioned this month.

Gutting environmental funding is a nonstarter for Democrats and Mr. Biden, a big coverage disagreement with Republicans that’s one in every of many to be negotiated earlier than authorities funding deadlines in January and February.

House Democrats say Republicans’ proposal “exacerbates environmental discrimination against rural and poor communities.”

Mr. Regan expressed confidence the cash gained’t be stripped.

“For far too long, too many communities have been left out,” he mentioned. “So, I have no doubt that the president, Senate members and House members will be as diligent fighting to keep these resources as they were fighting for these resources.”