In August, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), authorizing major new federal investment in meeting the challenge of climate change. The new law provides unprecedented levels of funding for renewable energy, climate resilience, agriculture, forestry, and environmental justice initiatives. While this bill is expansive, the elements we are most excited about include:
- Extension and expansion of clean energy: The IRA makes additional technologies like energy storage and biogas eligible for tax credits, and transitions to a technology-neutral credit so that the amount of emissions reduction potential is the primary criterion, rather than the technology itself. The bill also provides billions of dollars for grants and loans for new clean energy manufacturing, repair and upgrade of transmission infrastructure, and incentives for developing domestic supply chains for critical minerals.
- Climate-smart agriculture and resilience: Our fields, forests, and other working lands play a critical role in naturally storing carbon and reducing emissions. The IRA would provide $19.9 billion to support implementation of conservation practices on farms, ranches, orchards, and forests across the country. These practices can also help promote drought resilience in the West through river restoration projects, habitat restoration, and irrigation management and efficiency
- DOE Loans Program Office (LPO): The LPO is the part of the Energy Department that finances large-scale infrastructure projects. The IRA would give over $70 billion in new loan authority for the LPO, which is critical to expanding clean energy and transmission, as well as updating infrastructure to meet climate threats and ensuring that new projects are designed with conservation of existing environments in mind.
- Environmental and Climate Justice: Conservation is more than just protecting wild spaces and wildlife. It also means prioritizing investments to build healthy communities and restore communities that have historically shouldered the burden of pollution and climate change. The IRA will provide block grants of $2.8 billion through FY 2026 for environmental justice grants, including community-led air pollution monitoring, prevention, and remediation. Additionally, many of the tax credits provided for in the bill increase in value if they directly affect communities that have been disproportionately affected by climate change, including Black and brown, Indigenous, and lower-income communities.
The largest existential threat facing Florida is climate change, and this legislation is necessary for the protection of our special places, our incredible natural resources, and our inland and coastal communities. With nearly $369 billion in direct investment — which includes $20 billion to help farmers and ranchers adopt practices to increase their land’s resilience to climate change — this legislation has far-reaching impacts. It is by far the most meaningful step our nation has taken to work towards building resiliency in recent years.