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DEMOCRATS DELIVER through the Inflation Reduction Act

Shared from Alan Stern, Chair, Washington County Democratic Committee, April 3, 2023.

REAPing THE REWARDS: USDA last week announced $1 billion in grant opportunities for the Rural Energy for America Program. The money, funded in the Inflation Reduction Act, will go toward rural small businesses and agricultural producers to fund projects for energy efficiency or renewable energy systems. In practice, this could mean money for solar panels, better insulation or methane digesters.

REAP is an existing program USDA uses to fund the installation and improvement of renewable energy systems in rural areas. Grants can go toward systems like anaerobic digesters, installing solar fields, and wind farms, along with a number of other systems.

IRA provided $1.7 billion to the program in total, part of a total of nearly $14 billion in investments in rural energy. It’s separate from the nearly $20 billion allocated to four of the USDA’s conservation programs.

What they’re saying: On a call with reporters, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the IRA is “the nation's largest ever investment in combating the climate crisis.” He added, “We have the resources now to really help support rural Americans to lead the charge.”

The White House highlighted its spending on renewable energy and preparation for climate change and pointed to how the spending has been an economic boon, especially for rural communities.

“Oftentimes, the story of climate change is told as a story of gloom and doom,” White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi told reporters Friday. “What's important is to look at how we can sturdy ourselves and make ourselves more resilient in the face of these challenges.”

I urge our rural officials to take advantage of the grants available through this program. Let's all remember that it's Democrats who have made this happen.

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