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Top 6 Federal Policy Recommendations for Advancing Climate Equity

December 09, 2022

Communities most impacted by climate change are least likely to be included in the solutions. 

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) is the largest climate investment in U.S. history, with $369 billion dedicated to supercharging the green economy. Now it’s time to get this money to the communities that need it most. 

Here are our top 6 recommendations to ensure these funds are distributed equitably:

  1. Prioritize communities most in need and engage them in the process. 

    Those most impacted by climate change should be the first to benefit from these historic investments. We need to continually strengthen the Administration’s screening tool to center disadvantaged communities in selection and distribution.

  2. Remove funding barriers & incentivize public-private partnerships.

    The EPA should use the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to create a National Green Bank which will leverage private capital to make more money available for more green projects while ensuring that more than 40% of the investments go to disadvantaged communities and supporting a network of minority-serving financial institutions. 

  3. Create contracting opportunities for minority-owned green businesses.

    Federal agencies should ensure at least 15% of climate contracts are awarded to minority-owned businesses committed to creating work and wealth opportunities for communities of color. This will ensure the solutions to climate change become opportunities to invest in the communities most impacted by it.

  4. Provide technical assistance to states, local governments, and impacted groups.

    One reason communities have been left out of government support in the past is a lack of capacity to track and apply for grants. These groups need capacity building, application, and implementation assistance to compete for funds.

  5. Accelerate permitting for clean energy projects.

    The DOE should explore opportunities for accelerating approvals for green energy projects while increasing government efficiency. However, permitting reform cannot come at the expense of impacted communities, nor should it exacerbate the harmful effects of fossil fuels consumption.

  6. Reward community engagement in proposal development.

    Applicants that include affected community members in their proposals through community benefits agreements, anti-displacement policies, local hiring plans, and community advisory boards should be prioritized.

Read more about our Inflation Reduction Act implementation strategy here.

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