Tag Archives: rural communities

IPCC Outlines Opportunities For Action In Rural Communities To Address Climate Change

By Nick Summers, Center for Rural Affairs

A recent report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reaffirms the importance of climate action in rural communities, calling on those communities to adapt to and mitigate climate impacts to preserve their own prosperity and protect food and energy security globally. The report takes a comprehensive look at the specific vulnerabilities of systems and communities and identifies pathways for adaptation and mitigation. Continue reading here.

Related Blog Posts

More CFRA Resources

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces the Rural Partners Network to Empower Rural Communities to Access Federal Resources

With today’s launch of the Rural Partners Network, the Department of Energy is committed to ensuring federal resources that can benefit rural America actually reach rural America.

This new collaboration between federal agencies and rural communities will help create jobs, build infrastructure, and make the government work better for rural America.

Learn more here:

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces the Rural Partners Network to Empower Rural Communities to Access Federal Resources

FACT SHEET: President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Empowers the Department of Energy to Deliver for Rural America

Biden Administration Releases Rural Playbook, Launches Building A Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour to Highlight Impact of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law on Rural America

The White House Briefing Room, April 11, 2022

Today, the White House released a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Rural Playbook to help state, local, Tribal and territorial governments in rural areas unlock the benefits from the historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure and launched a rural infrastructure tour led by the President and other senior administration officials to engage rural communities across the country.

The Rural Playbook, found at build.gov/rural, builds on the release of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook and provides rural communities with information on the “what, when, where, and how to apply” for funding under the law – so no community needs to hire a lobbyist to access their government. The Playbook also identifies over 100 programs funded under the law with federal cost share flexibilities and matching requirement waivers. Read more here.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook
Build.Gov

City Pursues Solar Option

By Forrest Hershberger, Publisher, Sun-Telegraph

The concept was first brought before the [Sidney City Council] Dec. 14, 2021. MEAN (Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska), the wholesale electricity provider for Sidney, approved a policy that allows communities to have renewable resources . . . MEAN has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) on behalf of 10 communities with MEAN staff recommending Sandhills Energy, LLC be awarded the Purchase Power Agreement (PPA). Part of the City’s motivation is to offset potential cost increases. Read more here.

BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW INVESTMENTS IN RURAL AMERICA CREATING WEALTH

Investments include Revitalizing America’s energy communities: 
In February 2021, President Biden established the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization to identify and deliver resources to the coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities that have powered our country for generations. The working group identified 25 communities across the country for immediate strategic investment. Since then, member agencies have delivered more than $2.8 billion in federal investment to these communities, including $167 million through USDA’s Renewable Energy for America Program and the Electric Loan Program. The working group also established a resource clearinghouse with more than $181 billion in open and planned funding opportunities for energy communities, to facilitate access to federal programs.

ST. LOUIS IN THE NEWS 

Coal giant Peabody announces joint venture focused on solar power and energy storage, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The renewable industry newcomer has plans to make big moves fairly quickly, by pursuing the development of more than 3.3 gigawatts of solar power and 1.6 gigawatts of battery storage capacity over the next five years, Peabody said in a release.

One gigawatt is enough power to illuminate 110 million LED bulbs.

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Races to Deploy Clean Energy that Creates Jobs and Lowers Costs

The White House Briefing Room, January 12, 2022

New Actions Advance Offshore Wind, Leverage Public Lands for Clean Energy, and
Build the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Transmission Lines

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is making major leaps forward on wind, solar, transmission, and other clean energy projects to create high-quality jobs and deliver affordable, carbon pollution-free electricity across the country. Seven federal agencies are announcing clean energy projects and plans that demonstrate the Administration’s unwavering commitment to creating cleaner and cheaper energy, and the actions showcase President Biden’s unprecedented coordination activating the entire government to fight climate change, produce good-paying, union jobs, and accelerate America’s clean energy economy. These actions include: Read more here.

RELATED READING

NPPD NEWS RELEASE

Jerry Chlopek elected NPPD Board Chair for 2022

Columbus, Neb. – Jerry Chlopek of Columbus was elected as Chair of Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) Board of Directors for 2022 following that body’s annual election of officers Wednesday in Columbus.

Also elected were Melissa Freelend of Kearney as first vice chair, Ed Schrock of Holdrege/Elm Creek as second vice chair, and Wayne Williams as secretary. NPPD Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Laura Kapustka was elected treasurer.

FROM OPPD THE WIRE

ALSO IN THE NEWS

FACT SHEET: President Biden Renews U.S. Leadership on World Stage at U.N. Climate Conference (COP26)

The White House 

Heading into COP26, President Biden announced  the Build Back Better Framework – the largest effort to combat climate change in American history alongside his Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal that the President is confident can pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law. The Build Back Better Framework will cut greenhouse gas pollution by well over one gigaton in 2030, reduce clean energy costs for working families, give our kids cleaner air and water, create hundreds of thousands of good-paying, union jobs, and advance environmental justice while investing in a 21st century clean energy economy. President Biden’s bold agenda, along with his robust executive and regulatory actions to date, represents the U.S. intention to capture the economic opportunity that addressing climate change presents. Read more here.

ACP & SEIA WEIGH IN 

MORE ON THE BUILD BACK BETTER FRAMEWORK

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on President Biden’s Framework for the Build Back Better ActUSDA News Release


“The Build Back Better framework is the largest effort in American history to combat the climate crisis, while spurring economic opportunity with innovation and good jobs here at home, better positioning us to compete globally. Agriculture can lead the way in the fight on climate with climate smart agriculture and forestry practices that sequester carbon, reduce emissions and create new and better market opportunities for producers.”

 

THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT AND JOBS ACT (IIJA)

The Infrastructure Bill Is Desperately Needed, Engineers SayScientific American

“You can’t build a healthy economy on a crumbling infrastructure,” says Maria Lehman, president-elect of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Every four years this professional organization publishes a report card on U.S. utilities, issuing letter grades in 17 categories such as roads, internet access and drinking water—and the grades rarely rise above a D. “We’ve had many, many, many decades of taking our infrastructure for granted,” Lehman points out. “And it’s all coming due at the same time.” 

Scientific American spoke with Lehman about what’s broken, whether the IIJA’s $1 trillion investment can fix it, and what happens if the federal government fails to invest in infrastructure.

H.R.3684 – Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)

IN NEBRASKA

Nebraska Infrastructure Overview, American Society of Civil Engineers

While the nation’s infrastructure earned a C- in the 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, Nebraska faces infrastructure challenges of its own. For example, driving on roads in need of repair in Nebraska costs each driver $461 per year, and 8.8% of bridges are rated structurally deficient. Drinking water needs in Nebraska are an estimated $1.6 billion. 149 dams are considered to be high-hazard potential. The state’s schools have an estimated capital expenditure gap of $292 million. 

This deteriorating infrastructure impedes Nebraska’s ability to compete in an increasingly global marketplace. Success in a 21st-century economy requires serious, sustained leadership on infrastructure investment at all levels of government. Delaying these investments only escalates the cost and risks of an aging infrastructure system, an option that the country, Nebraska, and families can no longer afford.

Image Credit: Nebraska Public Power District

INDIVIDUAL CLIMATE ACTION

COP26: This is what individuals can do to slow down climate change, according to experts, ABC News

As the leaders of the world gather in Glasgow to discuss the fate of the climate crisis, the power to save the planet from destruction caused by humans does not only lie in the hands of those in power. While the majority of reductions in greenhouse gases will need to be accomplished by transformation in policy and industry, individual actions can also help prevent further warming, according to the experts.

PAUL HAWKEN INTERVIEW & HIS NEW BOOK

Paul Hawken: Sustainability isn’t enough. Here’s what is, GreenBiz

Sustainability is a limited framework. The solutions to the climate crisis hinge upon embracing regeneration as a universal organizing principle. That’s according to entrepreneur and author Paul Hawken, who just published a “what-to-do,” action-packed handbook for those seeking to channel collective action on complex, systemic problems in ways that nurture life and livelihoods.

His new book, Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation, is joined by a website that details “what needs to be done and how to do it on all levels of agency, from a classroom to a CEO.” The site offers snapshots of systemic issues — including clean cookstoves, electrifying everything and wasting nothing — with action items, key players, governance, bad actors and media to digest for each.

Photo: Paul Hawken and Joel Makower speaking at GreenBiz’s VERGE 21 virtual event.

FACT SHEET: Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework Creates Economic Opportunities for Rural America

The White House Briefing Room, July 8, 2021

Today, despite the fact that rural and Tribal communities across the country are asset-rich, they make up a disproportionate number of persistent poverty communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework invests in rural and Tribal communities, creating jobs in rural America and wealth that stays in rural America. The Framework delivers 100% broadband coverage, rebuilds crumbling infrastructure like roads and bridges, eliminates lead pipes and service lines, builds resilience to climate change and extreme weather events, and puts Americans to work cleaning up pollution that has impacted fossil fuel communities in rural America. 

In addition to being the largest-long term investment in our infrastructure in nearly a century – four times the infrastructure investment in the 2009 Recovery Act – the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is a generational investment in rural America. Read more here.

MORE ON INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Business and labor groups come together to back bipartisan infrastructure plan, NBC News

    The organizations, which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO, said that investing in the nation’s roads, bridges, airports, transit, water, energy and broadband infrastructure “will create middle-class family sustaining jobs.” “Don’t let partisan differences get in the way of action — pass significant, meaningful infrastructure legislation now,” their statement said. 
    Other groups that signed the statement include the Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, American Association of Port Authorities, and American Public Transportation Association.

  • Accelerating The Way Forward And Creating Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, by Paul Vosper, Forbes Technology Council member and President and CEO of JuiceBar

    As the details of the American Jobs Plan are under discussion and negotiations, the auto industry is well underway producing and planning for a successful transition to electric and autonomous vehicles.  New estimates by the firm Wood Mackenzie suggest that the EV charging infrastructure market will grow from $11 billion in 2020 to $89 billion by 2030 — an almost nine-fold increase in 10 years.

Climate Bill Would Expand USDA Stewardship Program

By Chuck Abbott, Successful Farming

The USDA would double the size of the Conservation Reserve, the government’s largest land-idling program, as part of supporting land stewardship on 100 million acres of farmland under companion bills filed in the House and Senate on Monday. Democrats Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Abigail Spanberger, the sponsors, compared the legislation to New Deal programs to help farmers and combat soil loss during the Dust Bowl.

“The Climate Stewardship Act is a critical investment to seriously engage farmers, ranchers, and rural communities as part of the solution to climate change,” said Booker, who filed a version of the bill in 2019. Spanberger, who chairs the House Agriculture subcommittee on conservation, said she was “committed to finding new ways to both protect the health of our soil and benefit farmers’ bottom lines.” Continue reading here.

The Climate Stewardship Act (PDF)

Sec.108 Rural Energy for America Program

  • Increases funding from $50M to $3 billion per year to provide grants and loan guarantees for tens of thousands of farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to expand renewable energy production and make energy efficiency improvements.
  • Gives funding priority to solar projects that include pollinator habitat.
  • Sets aside 5% of the additional funding for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
  • Sets aside 5% of the funding for new and beginning farmers and ranchers.

USDA Agency Launches New Site for Science-Minded Students, USDA News Release

AgLab, a new science-education website operated by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, is now “open for business” to students and educators alike. 

Geared toward K-12 students with an interest in food and science, AgLab offers a variety of content to promote a greater understanding of how agricultural research is helping meet the food, fiber, feed and fuel needs of a growing world population while also safeguarding our environment and natural resources.

USDA Seeks Public Input to Help Create a New Rural Renewable Energy Pilot Program

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2021 — Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is requesting public input from interested parties, including potential customers and interested stakeholders, to help create a new Rural Renewable Energy Pilot Program. To ensure a diverse group of voices are heard, USDA is seeking written comments and will host a public listening session on April 22, 2021.

“When we invest in creating new sources of renewable energy, we invest in rebuilding the middle class by creating good-paying jobs in rural America,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson said. “To meet this goal, we must put rural communities at the heart of climate action and climate-smart solutions, and that begins with getting feedback from a broad, diverse set of voices from the start.” Continue reading here.

For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE CLIMATE ALLIANCE REPORT

Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance Expands Membership, Drills Down on Policy Recommendations, National Farmers Union News Release

[In February] the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) announced expanding membership and new policy working groups focused on developing a set of more specific policy proposals that drill down on the 40+ recommendations released by FACA in November 2020. FACA’s eight founding members — American Farm Bureau Federation (co-chair), Environmental Defense Fund (co-chair), FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (co-chair), National Farmers Union (co-chair) and The Nature Conservancy — welcomed 14 new groups to the Steering Committee. FACA’s original 40+ recommendations cover six areas of focus: soil health, livestock and dairy, forests and wood products, energy, research, and food loss and waste. They are outlined in a 50-page report [PDF] and summarized in a hand-out [PDF].

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN NEWS & RESOURCES

ENVIRONMENTAL ENTREPRENEURS REGENERATIVE AG REPORT

Healthy Soils and the Climate Connection: A Path to Economic Recovery on America’s Farms
 provides a roadmap for how climate-smart agriculture policies could provide profit boosts for farmers and climate wins for advocates.

Most initiatives to fight climate change today focus on reducing fossil fuel emissions from electricity generation, transportation, and buildings. But to avoid the worst impacts of climate change we must also significantly reduce the atmospheric carbon that has already been emitted. While efforts are underway to develop new and high tech mechanisms to accomplish this, there is an immediately available and economically viable pathway for atmospheric carbon removal—one that provides a compelling new value proposition for farmers to revitalize their soils and get paid for doing it.

E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital.

Previously Posted
Biden to Engage Farmers & Build Climate Resilience, NRDC
What Biden’s Climate Plan Means For Regenerative Ag, Rodale Institute

Buyer’s Guides
A Buyer’s Guide To Regenerative Food, Rodale Institute
RegeNErate Nebraska Resource Guide

Recommended Books 

 

Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land, by Leah Penniman

 

 

 

Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Farming, by Gabe Brown

Renewables Offer Rural America the Economic Development Opportunity of a Generation

By Katie Siegner, Rocky Mountain Institute

The prospect of a deeply decarbonized electricity system raises important considerations and questions. What does the industry’s growth mean for rural America, where most onshore wind and utility-scale solar projects will be sited? How will the US electric grid maintain reliability with high percentages of variable renewable generation? How can we plan new clean energy projects to minimize consumer costs? RMI’s newest report, Seeds of Opportunity, addresses the first question, with subsequent reports planned for those that follow.

As the endpoint of a zero-carbon America becomes more clearly defined, the intent of this report series is to provide a playbook for those who will lead the United States in that direction, from the Biden administration, to grid operators, to county commissioners making renewables siting decisions. Read more here.

Download Seeds of Opportunity: How Rural America Is Reaping Economic Development Benefits from the Growth of Renewables

At the same link, directly above, register for a webinar on February 10 from 11 am to 12 pm with the authors of the Seeds of Opportunity report and community leaders from its three case studies, who will discuss how to effectively foster wind and solar project developments locally. The event will take place via Zoom. An email confirmation will be sent containing the Zoom link to join.