Over the weekend the full Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which will provide approximately $40 billion for climate change mitigation and resilience efforts over the next ten years through key agriculture provisions. Vice President Kamala Harris was the tie-breaking vote as the bill now heads to the House for approval. The House is currently on recess, so action would require House members to return for a vote.
According to a summary of the bill, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will make a “historic down payment on deficit reduction to fight inflation, invest in domestic energy production and manufacturing, and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030. The bill is touted to raise $739 billion in revenue by incorporating a 15% corporate minimum tax, prescription drug price reform, and increasing IRS tax enforcement.
Of the more than $369 billion that was approved for climate change and clean energy investments, approximately $40 billion, or roughly 10% of the funds, will go to USDA for climate-smart agriculture programs, biofuel development, forest restoration work, renewable energy tax credits, conservation technical assistance and rural electric cooperative carbon capture and storage and resilience projects.
The agriculture funding, spearheaded by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., includes $20 billion in new funding for USDA conservation programs. Last-minute negotiations to garner support from Democrat holdout Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., also saw the inclusion of $4 billion in additional drought assistance for the West.
Stabenow says the climate-smart agriculture, forestry and rural energy programs in the Inflation Reduction Act are supported by more than 1700 farm groups, companies, environmental advocates, leading economists, local elected officials and municipalities and trade associations.
“With the passage of this historic bill, Americans will see their energy costs go down while we tackle the urgent threats we face every day from the climate crisis,” says Stabenow. “We are equipping farmers, foresters, and rural communities with the necessary tools to be a part of the solution. At the same time, we are investing in good-paying clean energy jobs to grow small towns and rural economies.”
According to a one-page description of the agricultural provisions, the bill boosts funding to existing conservation practices which some are oversubscribed by as much as 3 to 1. It also provides $14 billion to support rural electric cooperatives’ transition to cleaner energy, help rural communities and farmers invest in renewable energy and be more energy efficient, and make the single-largest investment in infrastructure for home-grown biofuels.
It also includes $5 billion to protect communities from wildfires while combating the climate crisis and through climate-smart forestry. On Friday, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., joined with Sinema in securing $4 billion to address drought in the West and in the Colorado River Basin. An agreement was reached to include $4 billion in funding for the Bureau of Reclamation …….