Written by Jim Wylie
Perhaps you've heard about the tax credits and rebates available and coming from the Biden administration to help with home energy improvements, electrification and electric vehicle purchases (new and used). But did you also know that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIL - 2021) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA - 2022) also have over 400 grant programs to help communities improve their water and air quality, walkable downtowns, electrify school buses and much more. Many, if not most, are focused on currently disadvantaged communities and stakeholder groups.
These are not mandates. They are opportunities to take advantage of resources from the federal government. And if PA homeowners/renters, schools, water departments, non-profits, tribal entities and local governments don't step up to take the tax credits and apply for grants, then we will miss out on some important climate action opportunities.
Community Advocates for Clean Energy
A group of volunteers in southeastern PA, NJ and DE from Sierra Club and The Climate Reality Project have organized a project (based on the SC national Community Advocates program) that is aimed at engaging with local stakeholder groups that can take advantage of these federal programs. [by the way, some of these programs are actually managed by state governments, so we need to make sure PA applies for federal funding that will then be available to local entities]
Volunteers have organized into 4 sub-teams: Program Experts (translating the grant language into highlights and plain language); Stakeholder Outreach (researching the best groups in our area to engage with); Workshops & Speakers (hosting in-person, online workshops and offering to speak at stakeholder events/meetings); Support Stuff (creating the glue that makes this all work - web sites, flyers, scheduling etc).
Dec 9 In-Person Event
Our first in-person event is scheduled for December 9 in King of Prussia. See details on the registration page - Making Progress On Climate And Community Improvements in 2024. Join us if you can. This will be a great opportunity to meet our volunteers and learn about the goals and summary of the IRA/BIL programs.
It's A Marathon (with urgency)
Many of these programs are still being defined - application windows, who is managing, stakeholder project guidelines. This will be a long-running project spanning several years. Watch our website for the workshop calendar and contact us for info about volunteer opportunities. More partner groups are welcome.
We are organizing in the greater Philadelphia area now, but plans for spreading across PA are in the works. Contact Nate Reagle (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you'd like to stay in the loop about Community Advocates project expanding to other regions of Pennsylvania.
Community Advocates for Clean Energy of Greater Philly Steering Cmte
Jim Wylie Mattea Felictia
Bill Sabey Mary Ann Baron
Julia Nakhleh Merion Rector
Can be contacted at email@example.com