Washington, D.C. – November 21, 2023
In a groundbreaking move, the Biden administration announced on Tuesday the opening of $2 billion in grants aimed at supporting lower-income communities disproportionately affected by pollution and susceptible to the impacts of climate change.
These grants, known as Community Change Grants, constitute the largest single investment in environmental justice made by any administration to date. The initiative is a pivotal step toward achieving the administration’s target of ensuring that 40% of federal clean energy investment benefits disadvantaged communities.
The funds, made available through the Inflation Reduction Act, the administration’s signature climate law, come with a deadline of November 2024, aligning with the next U.S. presidential election. The projects funded by these grants are expected to enhance community resilience to climate impacts and reinforce their capacity to monitor air and water quality.
Republican lawmakers, critical of the Biden administration’s climate agenda, have closely scrutinized spending on climate and environmental justice measures. The announcement of the Community Change Grants signifies a bold move to address environmental disparities in vulnerable communities.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan expressed optimism about the transformative impact of this historic funding, stating, “This historic, unprecedented funding has the promise to turn disadvantaged and overburdened areas into healthy, resilient, and thriving communities for current and future generations.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be accepting applications on a rolling basis and encourages early submissions. The agency has identified five target investment areas, including Alaska tribal areas, continental U.S. tribal land, territories like Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam, small and rural areas lacking fixed geographic boundaries, and regions along the southern border with Mexico.
As the Biden administration continues to prioritize climate and environmental justice, the Community Change Grants initiative marks a significant stride toward building sustainable and resilient communities that are equipped to face the challenges posed by climate change.