Although four states have rejected the Biden administration’s $3 million funding offer for climate planning, a provision in the president’s signature climate law may allow their largest cities to access funds anyways, E&E News reported Wednesday.
A provision in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) allows the three largest cities in a state to apply for the funding if a state rejects the opportunity, a move by Democrats to avoid a potential repeat of GOP governors’ efforts to block Medicaid funding in the Affordable Care Act, according to E&E. Of the four states to reject the funding — Florida, South Dakota, Iowa and Kentucky —three have Republican governors, with Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear facing a difficult reelection in a traditionally coal-heavy and conservative state, The Washington Post reported. (RELATED: Biden’s ‘Good-Paying, Union Jobs’ Might Cost Taxpayers Millions Each And Offer Low Wages: REPORT)
“It actually worked,” Trevor Higgins, senior vice president for energy and environment at the Center for American Progress, told E&E. “A bunch of cities became eligible and most states decided — even most Republican states — decided that it’d be better for them to accept the funding and do some planning themselves.”
While most Republican-led states opted to accept the funding, rather than turn it over to mostly Democrat-led city governments, the governors of Florida, South Dakota and Iowa have cited their opposition to “wasteful” spending and the administration’s climate agenda as reasons for rejecting the funding, the Post reported. Beshear has avoided this language, even as his challenger for the governorship, Kentucky’s Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, has attempted to link him to Biden’s “radical” climate agenda.
“The Beshear administration is actively applying for and receiving a number of federal grants to help boost efforts to build a better Kentucky for all our people,” John Mura, a spokesman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, told the Post. “In this instance, local governments are best situated to apply for and administer the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant funds.”
Andy Beshear wants you to think he has the backs of Kentucky coal miners. He doesn’t. He has the backs of national Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, who support replacing Kentucky’s coal industry with their radical Green New Deal. pic.twitter.com/7HaHc2tla8
— Daniel Cameron (@DanielCameronAG) June 29, 2023
The governor’s response has faced some pushback from the state’s largest cities, Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green, E&E News reported. Sumedha Rao, executive director of the Louisville Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, told the outlet that it is “a little unfortunate … that we’re missing out on the statewide opportunity” that other states have had.
“We’re seeing some of our peer cities in other states coordinate with their state agencies on these efforts — and we’re kinda having to go at it ourselves,” Rao told E&E, noting that roughly two-thirds of the state lives outside the biggest cities. “There’s going to be a lot of smaller cities that are left out of this effort entirely.”
Republican Gov. Ron Desantis of Florida, who currently faces an uphill battle against front-runner Donald Trump to secure his party’s nomination for presidency, has blocked or withdrawn from other federal climate funding opportunities, according to the Post. DeSantis recently told Fox Business that his climate plan is to “rip up Joe Biden’s Green New Deal” and “embrace American domestic energy.”
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