Evansville vies for statewide pollution reduction grants in $4.6 billion EPA project
Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) recently delivered an informational meeting in Evansville about the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant from the EPA — the city of Evansville could be selected for projects
The city of Evansville and surrounding communities have the chance to be part of a $4.6 billion dollar grant through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).
This is part of a Climate Pollution Reduction Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The state has until March 1 to deliver their Priority Climate Action Plan, which includes proposed projects from municipalities, tribes and territories.
Lauren Norvell is Climate Action Director for the city of Evansville. She said the city has a decent chance of projects being selected because Evansville is an environmental justice priority area, "it is a Promise Zone as identified by the US Department of Education,” Norvell said. “And it has a lot of census tracts in the US climate and environmental justice map.”
She said the city proposed several general ideas which fit within the scope of the grant.
These include helping low income families improve home efficiency, solarizing public buildings and electrifying fleets. "And then finally, I asked for help with development of a municipal composting program," she said.
“Those are all just ideas — there's no budget or approval. If they do select any of those ideas, then I'll be going forth with trying to plan.”
IDEM delivered an informational meeting in Evansville at the Oaklyn Branch of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library system about the grant on Feb. 8.
Amanda Mast led the meeting. “We estimate that more than 15 million metric tons of emissions could be avoided through renewable energy efforts,” she said, offering ways that climate action could improve the environment.
“These represent significant ways to draw down this footprint and combat climate change, which really poses a risk to residents across the state across the country.”
In researching the possible impact of pollution reduction, Mast said benefits to reducing pollution includes job creation, when paired with workforce training. Other significant benefits include reduced energy costs and better community health.
Mast was able to take questions from the audience about the action plan. A few attendees were concerned about a bill that could extend the life of coal-fired power plants in Indiana.
During public comment time, John Blair said, “my question is, is there communication with the legislature? Because they are fighting us in every aspect.”
Mast couldn’t comment on the pending legislature. “I think my answer is, ‘it is separate,’” she said. “So what's the point,” Blair asked.
The bill was authored by State Representative Cindy Ledbetter, which would put some protections in place for coal fired power plants, slowing (but not stopping) the state's transitions to renewable energy.
Her press Secretary Kendall Macri said that the bill actually died in committee on January 29.
Norvell said award notifications are in July and disbursements are in September.
More on the CPRG Program
IDEM was awarded $3 million in initial planning funds to conduct a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and develop a Priority Climate Action Plan to provide to the U.S. EPA by March 2024. A Comprehensive Climate Action Plan is due in July 2025.
About the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant (CPRG) The Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program provides $5 billion in grants to states, local governments, tribes, and territories to develop and implement ambitious plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollution. Authorized under Section 60114 of the Inflation Reduction Act, this two-phase program provides $250 million for noncompetitive planning grants, and approximately $4.6 billion for competitive implementation grants. For more information, visit on.IN.gov/cprg.
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