PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Low-income and minority neighborhoods often bear the worst impacts of climate change and pollution, but lawmakers are aiming to address those issues through funding in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act.
According to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan, “there are communities that are suffering from pollution disproportionately.” This is because polluting industries often border low-income and minority neighborhoods.
Regan says the Inflation Reduction Act dedicates about $60 billion to climate justice projects to address the problem.
“We will deploy those resources to communities on the ground that are grappling currently with the impacts of climate change,” Regan said.
The money will be split up into three major categories: Fighting pollution, access to affordable clean energy and building resiliency to climate change.
Block grants will be available for communities to fight pollution and the government will do more to monitor and address emissions from places such as airports, railyards and ports.
“We need to make sure those investments are prioritized in communities that have been overburdened by energy costs and fossil fuel pollution,” said David Smedick, with nonprofit RMI, which focuses on clean energy and sustainability.
A greenhouse gas reduction fund will be used to accelerate production of green energy — largely in disadvantaged communities.
The environmental justice plan will also improve quality of life and resiliency by restoring coastal habitats, and forests, along with creating new green spaces in urban areas.