EPA Celebrates Massachusetts Efforts to Combat Climate Change
Commonwealth joins new Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program – funds from Pres. Biden's Inflation Reduction Act
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe today joined Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey in Cambridge, marking the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' participation in a landmark Biden-Harris Administration program to address climate change created by President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act. Under the new Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program, EPA is working with states, local governments, Tribes, and territories to develop innovative strategies to cut climate pollution and build clean energy economies.
"Tackling the climate crisis demands a sense of urgency to protect people and the planet," said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. "President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act is a historic opportunity to provide communities across the country with the resources they need to protect people from harmful climate pollution and improve our economy. EPA applauds Massachusetts and the leadership of Governor Healey, who are pursuing many actions to equip communities with the resources to create innovative strategies that reduce climate emissions and drive benefits across the Commonwealth."
On Tuesday, the pair visited Finch Cambridge, a Massachusetts-certified Passive House that offers 98 mixed-income units and meets the highest energy-efficiency and sustainability standards, including net zero carbon emissions. The site was funded by the state's Department of Energy Resources and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, as part of their Passive House Design Challenge that aims to demonstrate that multi-family affordable housing that meets Passive House standards can be built at a low- to no-cost premium.
"Thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to utilize federal funding opportunities to make real progress in combatting the climate crisis. We are honored to welcome Deputy Administrator McCabe to Massachusetts to celebrate our workplan that embraces an all-of-government approach to decarbonization, bringing together local, state and federal government, as well as the private sector, and centering environmental justice each step of the way," said Governor Maura Healey. "We appreciated the opportunity to show Deputy Administrator McCabe Finch Cambridge, a prime example of the decarbonized buildings we want to emulate across the state and the country. Together, we can build a cleaner, healthier and more equitable future for all of our communities."
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is one of the 48 states that have elected to participate in the new CPRG program which will provide flexible planning resources for state agencies to develop and implement scalable solutions that protect people from climate pollution and advance environmental justice.
"Moving toward a just clean energy future by addressing climate change is the greatest challenge and opportunity of our generation. EPA looks forward to partnering with Massachusetts to find ways to lower carbon emissions, increase the resiliency of our communities to withstand the impacts of a changing climate, and ensure that historically underserved communities are getting the workforce investments and environmental protection they deserve," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "We know that innovations driven from environmental challenges can reap major benefits for our communities and our economy."
Upon first opting in to the CPRG program, Massachusetts is receiving $3 million in initial grant funds. The state's proposed workplan draws upon capabilities across all secretariats of state government. With the administrative assistance of the Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the newly created Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience within the Office of Governor Maura Healey will convene workgroups across government to address economy-wide decarbonization. These inter-secretariat working groups will leverage the deliverables described in the CPRG Program Guidance as focal points of climate collaboration, building an internal infrastructure that may endure beyond the timeframe of the CPRG process.
Massachusetts' proposed workplan includes significant engagement with municipalities around climate action. The strategy will rely on collaboration with the 13 Regional Planning Agencies (RPAs) that work with cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth, as well as individual engagement with the ten cities that have over 100,000 residents and together comprise 50 percent of the state's population. They will leverage existing municipal climate programs administered by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), such as the Green Communities Program and the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program, and conduct outreach through established organizations such as the Massachusetts Municipal Association.
Similarly, Massachusetts will build on its existing work with environmental justice communities. Rather than create an additional layer of environmental justice process, adding complexity and administrative burden to many representatives and stakeholders, this workplan will meet environmental justice communities in the forums that already exist. Building on the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee established by EEA, this workplan will draw in a variety of processes to comprehensively engage Low Income and Disadvantaged Communities.
Later this year, EPA will launch a competition for $4.6 billion in funding to implement projects and initiatives included in the plans, which Massachusetts is eligible to compete in. Massachusetts can also use this funding to develop strategies for using the other grant, loan, and tax provisions secured by President Biden's historic legislation, including the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to achieve it clean energy, climate, and environmental justice goals.
President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act includes historic funding to combat climate change while creating good-paying jobs and advancing environmental justice. Today's announcement builds on $550 million announced last week for EPA's new Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking program and $100 million announced earlier this year for environmental justice grants to support underserved and overburdened communities. Additionally, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund will award nearly $27 billion to leverage private capital for clean energy and clean air investments across the country.
About the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program
The CPRG planning grants will support states, territories, Tribes, municipalities and air agencies, in the creation of comprehensive, innovative strategies for reducing pollution and ensuring that investments maximize benefits, especially for low-income and disadvantaged communities. These climate plans will include:
- Greenhouse gas emissions inventories;
- Emissions projections and reduction targets;
- Economic, health, and social benefits, including to low-income and disadvantaged communities;
- Plans to leverage other sources of federal funding including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act;
- Workforce needs to support decarbonization and a clean energy economy; and
- Future government staffing and budget needs.
In program guidance (pdf) (1.6 MB) released earlier this month, EPA describes how the agency intends to award and manage CPRG funds to eligible entities, including states, metropolitan areas, Tribes, and territories.
This funding for climate planning will be followed later this year by $4.6 billion in implementation grant funding that will support the expeditious implementation of investment-ready policies created by the CPRG planning grants, programs, and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the near term. Through the CPRG program, EPA will support the development and deployment of technologies and solutions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful air pollution, as well as transition America to a clean energy economy that benefits all Americans.
By summer 2023, EPA Regional Offices expect to award and administer the funding agreements.