Denver Receives $1M Funding to Support Climate Change Efforts

Climate Change
Downtown Denver, courtesy of Ryan Dravitz.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week that the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) will receive up to $1 million from the agency’s Climate Pollution Reduction Act grant program to develop innovative strategies to support climate change by cutting pollution and building clean energy economies in communities across the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Statistical Area. This program, funded through the Inflation Reduction Act, provides flexible planning resources to local governments, states, tribes and territories for climate solutions that protect communities from pollution and advance environmental justice.

“This is the first step in a strategic effort to help our cities build common-sense solutions to reduce climate pollution,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker.  “EPA looks forward to supporting locally-grown projects that will make Denver-area communities healthier and stronger.”

“Denver is proud to be a leader in climate action and this funding will support our ongoing regional efforts to implement climate solutions,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “This is the first step to unlocking billions of federal dollars that will be invested in community solutions to address the climate crisis.”

“DRCOG is honored to be awarded EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Planning Grant,” said Doug Rex, Executive Director of the Denver Regional Council of Governments. “We look forward to bringing stakeholders throughout the region together to develop a climate action plan that is dynamic, accessible, and equitable.  By bringing Climate Pollution Reduction Grants to our region, we hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively, and at the same time benefit from improved infrastructure, better air quality, and more vibrant and livable communities.”

“The Regional Air Quality Council is excited to partner with DRCOG and local governments on climate pollution reduction strategies,” said Mike Silverstein, executive director of the Regional Air Quality Council. “Greenhouse gas and climate change mitigation goes hand in hand with ozone precursor reduction efforts and increased collaboration on Colorado’s front range is good everyone.”

Denver is among more than 70 metropolitan areas across the nation eligible to receive $1 million each in grant funds. DRCOG will use the funds to develop a climate action plan in collaboration with municipalities and communities across the metro area and conduct meaningful public engagement on the plan, focusing on low-income and disadvantaged communities.  EPA Regional Offices expect to award and administer funding agreements for these grants later this summer.

Later this year, EPA will also launch a competition for $4.6 billion in follow-up funding to implement projects and initiatives in climate action plans, which DRCOG is eligible to receive. The organization may use this current funding to develop strategies for using other grant, loan, and tax provisions secured by President Biden’s historic legislation, including the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to achieve its clean energy, climate, and environmental justice goals.

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act includes historic funding to combat climate change while creating good-paying jobs and advancing environmental justice. Today’s announcement builds on $550 million announced earlier this month for EPA’s new Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking program and $100 million announced  for environmental justice grants to support underserved and overburdened communities earlier this year. Additionally, the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund will award nearly $27 billion to leverage private capital for clean energy and clean air investments across the country.

On March 1, EPA announced the availability of these funds, which are the first series of climate pollution funding opportunities for states, local governments, territories and Tribes. The CPRG planning grants will support states, territories, Tribes, municipalities and air agencies, in the creation of comprehensive, innovative strategies for reducing pollution and ensuring that investments maximize benefits, especially for low-income and disadvantaged communities.

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