A $27 billion fund managed by the Environmental Protection Agency is designed to help states and local communities construct sustainable green projects to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gases. (Adobe Stock/AI)

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By Mark Richardson

September 27, 2023   

Elected officials in New York and across the country are urging state and local governments to use new funding available through the Environmental Protection Agency for local environmental projects to benefit their communities, particularly those left out of earlier development programs.

The group Elected Officials to Protect America is pointing toward a $27 billion fund created under the Inflation Reduction Act to award grants for greenhouse gas reduction programs.

Robin Reynolds Wilt, council member for the town of Brighton and an officer in the group’s New York Leadership Council, said the projects will be built under a presidential order, in which 40% of the overall investments flow to disadvantaged communities marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.

“This particular feature would allocate $27 billion to the EPA to make grants to fund entities that would effectively function as a national green bank,” Wilt explained. “$20 billion of the fund is eligible only for nonprofits.”

Wilt pointed out the projects will address climate change, clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transit, and affordable and sustainable housing. It will also fund the remediation and reduction of legacy pollution and the development of critical clean water and wastewater infrastructure. The deadline for applications is Oct. 12.

Wilt noted Elected Officials to Protect America is a network of current and former bipartisan elected officials who care about protecting the planet and democracy by working together to transition to a clean energy economy. She added the group educates and trains lawmakers through value-based storytelling and has national and state-based programs.

“These entities provide the funds toward clean-energy building, electrification projects,” Wilt outlined. “Any scope of work that would impact greenhouse gas in a positive sense.”

She stressed a national green bank would be the lending entity to finance projects reducing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in underserved communities. The funds could be used toward clean energy building electrification projects or any scope of work affecting greenhouse gas emissions.