The City of Austin to Receive $1 Million from EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grants
AUSTIN, TEXAS (February 12, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the City of Austin $1 million from the agency’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grants program to develop climate action plans with new and innovative strategies that benefit local communities. The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability will be the fiscal/fund manager and will be collaborating with partners across the region to ensure the process and delivery of these plans are aligned with previous projects. This award is made possible through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda which has made pivotal investments in public health for impacted communities across the nation.
“As part of the historic Inflation Reduction Act, EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grants program is a critical part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s emphasis on climate resilience and environmental justice,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “Austin and Central Texas counties will be part of this $5 billion nationwide effort to help to states and local governments develop ambitious air monitoring plans to reduce harmful emissions in communities, especially in underserved areas.”
“I’m thrilled that communities across Central Texas will receive EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grant,” said Congressman Greg Casar (TX-35). “In Texas, we’ve been devastated by the climate crisis already: from Winter Storm Uri, to historic floods, to wildfires. This funding from the Biden Administration will help our communities in the heart of Texas reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle the climate crisis head-on.”
“Austin has a bold vision for climate action. Federal funding provides some support for extending that vision across Central Texas to help reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution. A cleaner, greener region for our families ensures healthier, happier lives. I will continue working in Congress with the EPA, the City of Austin, and all involved local partners to address the growing threat of the climate crisis and build lasting progress,” said Representative Lloyd Doggett (TX-37).
“We know that reducing the emissions that cause climate change is a challenge that extends beyond Austin’s city limits,” said Austin Mayor Kirk Watson. “Through this grant, we are excited to build on the great work that’s been done here in Austin in partnership with our neighboring counties.”
“The Environmental Protection Agency is a great partner in our fight against climate change. This is an issue that has impacted many families and businesses across Central Texas,” said Austin City Council Member Paige Ellis. “Central Texans are feeling the pain of extreme weather events wrought by climate change, from ice hurricanes to torrential floods to dangerous droughts to unprecedented snowstorms. Regional collaboration is imperative to tackle these issues that affect us all, and the EPA is pivotal in helping us be successful.”
With the help of the grant, the City of Austin will focus on completing three projects: the Priority Climate Action Plan (PCAP), the Comprehensive Climate Action Plan (CCAP), and the status report. The City of Austin has started by hiring temporary staff to form the Project Management (PM) team dedicated to overseeing the planning process and tracking the progress of each development. The PM team will draft quarterly reports, undertake technical analysis, provide background information, and will work with consultants on topics when necessary. The PCAP and CCAP are intended to build upon existing government plans such as the Austin Climate Equity Plan and the Travis County Climate Action Plan. The intended outcomes of these plans are to reduce emissions that cause climate change and achieve other benefits, such as improved compliance with the EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The City of Austin and Travis County’s greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and latest emissions forecasts will serve as a starting point for the regional PCAP GHG analysis. The CCAP will build on the PCAP methods and findings and include an in-depth GHG analysis to develop additional quantified GHG reduction measures by evaluating the sector-level emissions and projecting near-term (2030) and long-term (2040) GHG emissions. To help prioritize GHG-reducing measures, the CCAP will also incorporate results from analyses of benefits, funding availability, authority to implement, and workforce planning.
To ensure there is meaningful engagement during these processes, the City of Austin will develop outreach efforts, including conducting monthly meetings with a Community Advisory and Stakeholder Advisory Group for input to reach disadvantaged communities, holding meetings with regional agencies to review measures developed for the PCAP and CCAP, and providing opportunities for broad engagement throughout the CCAP development to gain feedback from community members and partners across the region.
The overall timeline for each plan is in accordance with EPA’s timeline, with the PCAP complete by March 1, 2024, the CCAP by fall of 2025, and the final Status Report by fall of 2027.