SCHUMER: WITH THE ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS AT HIS BACK, SENATOR BREAKS DOWN HOW THE LARGEST INVESTMENT IN FIGHTING CLIMATE HE JUST DELIVERED WILL HELP PRESERVE THE NORTH COUNTRY’S GREATEST NATURAL WONDERS & OUTDOOR RECREATION ECONOMY, STOP POLLUTION, AND PROTECT THE ADIRONDACKS FOR GENERATIONS TO COME
Inflation Reduction Act To Lower Healthcare and Energy Costs, Reduce Inflation, And Fight Climate Change Is Now Law; Clean Energy Investments Alone Are Estimated To Create Nearly 9 Million New Jobs Across America, With Upstate NY Set To Benefit In BIG Ways
Schumer Says Outdoor Recreation And Tourism Are The Lifeblood Of The Adirondack Park; Inflation Reduction Act’s Historic Environmental Investments Will Protect and Preserve Adirondack Mountains, Bolster Rural Development, Reduce Energy Costs For Working Families, All While Creating Good-Paying Jobs In Places Like The North Country
Schumer: Inflation Reduction Act Will Protect The Natural Beauty Of The Adirondacks For Our Health, Our Economy, And Our Grandchildren
Standing with the Adirondack Mountains at his back, and on the heels of delivering the largest federal investment in fighting climate change in history, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today broke down the impact the Inflation Reduction Act would have for families and the environment in the Adirondack Park and across the North Country. Schumer explained that this bill will accelerate the domestic production of clean energy and transition to a greener economy, all of which is vital to places like the Adirondacks, which have historically been on the frontlines of fossil fuel pollution like acid rain. Schumer said that this also presents a major opportunity for places like the North Country which are set to benefit not only from major boosts to conservation funding, but also by helping families lower energy costs by upgrading their homes, creating good-paying clean energy jobs, and strengthening rural development, all while fighting climate change!
“We have just passed the largest federal investment in fighting climate change ever, and I did this with the Adirondacks and Upstate New York always at the top of my mind. Places like the North Country are primed to reap the rewards, lowering electric bills for families, creating good-paying manufacturing and clean energy jobs to help secure America energy independence, all while preserving the natural beauty of the Adirondacks for our children and grandchildren,” said Senator Schumer. “The North Country is already leading the charge with clean technology from clean hydrogen to electric buses made in Plattsburgh, and now with this major federal boost we can supercharge these efforts to help our local economies grow like never before. Like the creation of the EPA and the passage of the Clean Air Act half a century ago, this legislation will mark a turning point for the Adirondacks and is a down payment on a brighter future for the North Country and Upstate New York.”
Schumer added, “To the Upstate New Yorkers who’d lost faith that Congress can do big things, this bill was for you. To the tens-of-millions of young Americans who have spent years marching, rallying, demanding that Congress act on climate change, this bill was for you.”
“We offer Senator Schumer our sincere gratitude for the work he did to secure the first meaningful legislation to combat climate change ever approved by Congress,” said William C. Janeway, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council. “Our children and their children will look back on this day as a turning point in American history, when we finally took responsibility for our impact on the climate and took the first real steps to address it. This is a happy day for the Adirondack wilderness, for brook trout and black bears, and for a new generation of children, whose future just got brighter.”
Michael Barrett, Executive Director of the Adirondack Mountain Club said, "ADK applauds Majority Leader Schumer for leading the largest climate action ever taken by the United States. This unprecedented investment into renewable energies, vulnerable communities, and land conservation sets the stage for a better protected Adirondack Park and a better future for us all."
Schumer said that climate change poses a serious threat to the delicate ecosystem of the Adirondacks. Schumer explained that for decades Upstate New York suffered significantly from emissions from Midwest coal fired power plants that produce acid rain, which devastated the Adirondacks waters, wildlife and vegetation. At one point, nearly 700 of the Adirondacks’ water bodies were declared “dead,” too acidic from pollution to support life. Schumer said the Clean Air Act, however, worked wonders to curb the nitrogenous oxides (NOX) and sulfur dioxides (SOX) that led to acid rain in the Adirondacks, and now we are seeing dozens of lakes come back to life with fish and the call of loons.
The senator said the historic climate investments in the Inflation Reduction Act can similarly be a turning point and supercharge our fight against climate change to bring life back to the Adirondacks. Schumer said that when you invest in fighting climate change it not only will curb pollution, but can help create new good-paying clean energy jobs, and lower costs for families by making America energy independent, and Upstate New York is primed to reap those rewards. This investment, Schumer said, is the boost the Adirondacks needs so that future generations can enjoy the full bounties of its natural landscape, breathing new life into both the environment and main street shops, restaurants and businesses that depend on outdoor recreation for their success.
Specifically, Schumer highlighted that the bill includes:
$370 Billion To Invest In Clean Energy And Fight Climate Change
Schumer said the roughly $370 billion in climate investments across the Inflation Reduction Act represents the largest ever federal investment in clean energy, transportation, buildings, and manufacturing and is a game-changer to fight climate change and kick off a new era of lower household bills across Upstate New York. The bill is estimated to create 9 million jobs across the country, and will bring manufacturing of clean technology like solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, electric vehicles, and much more back to America, with places like the North Country primed for new investment and jobs. These provisions include:
- An estimated $43 billion in production tax credits to accelerate U.S. manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, clean hydrogen, and critical minerals processing. Plus, $10 billion in investment tax credits to build clean technology manufacturing facilities, like facilities that make electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels. Schumer said that these tax credits will spur growth of companies in every corner of New York. Specifically, he highlighted that additional industrial emissions reduction investments will benefit companies like Alcoa in Massena, Convalt Energy, which wants to create hundreds of solar manufacturing jobs in the Watertown area, and clean hydrogen manufacturers in the North Country like Air Products, which recently announced a green hydrogen production facility in Massena, and Capital Region like Plug Power.
- $1 billion for clean buses, garbage trucks, and transit buses that can be deployed across the state, with an emphasis on deploying these vehicles in disadvantaged communities. This is a big potential boost New York manufacturers like Plattsburgh’s Nova Bus that makes clean electric buses, and is already benefiting from the tremendous investments in electric vehicles and buses made in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act.
- Over $160 billion in estimated value for new and expanded clean electricity tax credits will incentivize the transition to a cleaner power supply, driven by wind, solar, and batteries, deploying gigawatts of clean power across New York. This is further bolstered by about $25 billion in loans, grants, and other forms of financial assistance to build a cleaner grid and power sector across the country.
- Billions in loans and grants to build new clean vehicle manufacturing facilities and retool existing auto manufacturing facilities to manufacture clean vehicles across the country.
Included in the nearly $370 Billion Investment is $60 Billion To Clean Up New York & Protecting The Environment Nationwide
In addition to investments in clean energy, the bill also includes $60 billion in environmental justice priorities to clean up Upstate New York and the North Country making our air safer to breather, water cleaner, and communities more equitable and vibrant. These provisions include:
- Two new environmental justice block grants that will provide funding to reconnect communities, including $3 billion for Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants and $3 billion for Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants, to help address the disproportionate environmental and public health harms related to pollution and climate change. These investments build on the $1 billion for a new Reconnecting Communities program that Schumer secured in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and will help bring investment to redevelop communities that have been divided by highways like the community grid-I-81 project in Syracuse, the redevelopment of the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo and of the Inner Loop in Rochester, and the LINC project in New Rochelle.
- $1.5 billion investment nationwide to plant trees, establish community and urban forests, and expand green spaces in cities, which combats climate change and provides significant community benefits by increasing recreation opportunities, cooling cities, lowering electric bills, and reducing heat-related death and illness. This is especially pertinent to places like Rochester and Syracuse which have ongoing initiatives to expand urban forests as a means of achieving equity across neighborhoods.
- Reinstating the Superfund tax, so that Superfund sites across New York have a guaranteed source of funding, paid for by the companies responsible for the pollution, that raises an estimated $11 billion over the next 10 years, and can help fund Superfund cleanups across New York and the North Country, like the Black River PCBs Superfund site or the Crown Cleaners of Watertown Inc. site.
- $3 billion for grants to reduce pollution at ports, like the Port of Ogdensburg to combat poor air quality in nearby communities, as well as targeted funding for the vehicles moving goods to and from New York’s ports.
- $125 million for invasive species control and to increase habitat and infrastructure resiliency within the National Wildlife Refuge System and State wildlife management areas.
- $500 million for conservation, resilience, and ecosystem restoration projects on NPS and BLM lands.
- $125 million for endangered species recovery plans.
- $500 million to pay for the additional National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management employees necessary to carry out projects and respond to increased public interest in outdoor recreation.
Investing In Climate-Smart Agriculture And Rural Development
Schumer said that in places like the North Country agriculture is a leading economic driver and way of life and that the Inflation Reduction Act bolsters programs tailor made to help rural communities both grow and become more environmentally friendly. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has several voluntary land conservation programs that provide technical assistance, financial support, and opportunities for farmers and landowners to implement new land management practices on their land to help lead the way in cleaning their communities. Schumer said these programs are extremely popular and are oversubscribed, but this bill significantly increases funding so rural communities like those in the North Country can get the added support they need. These provisions include:
- $18.05 billion in increased funding for USDA voluntary conservation programs, which will scale up the climate and environmental impact of these popular programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect working farms and wetlands, decrease the need for fertilizers, improve water and air quality, restore wildlife habitat, and create conservation easements.
- $1.3 billion to collect data on carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions, provide conservation technical assistance and information related to climate smart agricultural and forestry, and to carry out climate change adaptation and mitigation activities through the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
- $3.1 billion for loan modifications and economic relief for economically distressed farmers, as well as technical fixes to language in the American Rescue Plan needed to unlock funding for land access grants and loans, scholarships, and other assistance for underserved farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, as well as $2.2 billion for farmers who have experienced discrimination in USDA lending programs and funding for an equity commission to address issues of racial equity at USDA.
- $2 billion to provide loans and grants to agricultural producers and rural small businesses that would like to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems.
Saving New Yorker’s Money On Energy Costs While Going Green
On top of historic investment in clean energy production and manufacturing, Schumer said the bill also includes major cost-saving benefits for North Country families with home energy rebates and consumer tax credits. Schumer said these provisions will make energy saving upgrades more affordable and accessible like rooftop solar, energy efficient appliances, heat pumps, and electric vehicles to lower energy costs month after month and make our communities cleaner: a true win-win. These provisions include:
- Clean Energy Credit, formerly known as the 25D Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit, which provides a 30% credit for residential solar, battery storage, small wind, geothermal, biomass, fuel cells, and solar water heating.
- Residential Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit. This $1,200 annual credit per household for upgrades to exterior doors, windows, central air conditioners, etc. to make homes more energy efficient. Which increases to a $2,000 annual credit for air and water heat pumps and biomass stoves and boilers.
- $9 billion for Home Energy Performance Based, Whole House Rebates and Training Grants. Schumer explained these grants for state directed home efficiency programs and rebates are designed to make investments in single-family and multifamily energy efficiency retrofits, new energy efficient appliances, and electrification, with the latter program specifically tailored to low- or moderate-income households to help those who need it most save on their bills.
- Extensions, Increase, and Modification of New Energy Efficient Home Credit. Schumer said this includes a $2,500 credit for new homes meeting energy efficiency standards to lower their monthly bills, $5,000 credit for zero-energy ready homes, and higher credits for meeting certain labor requirements.
- $27 billion for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to deploy reliable clean power and energy efficient building technology, with at least 60 percent of those funds focused on disadvantaged communities.
- Electric Vehicle Tax Credits. Schumer said New Yorkers looking to buy a new electric vehicle can receive up to a $7,500 credit beginning next year. In addition, there is also an up to $4,000 credit for people who buy used electric cars, helping to majorly reduce the number of gas-guzzling vehicles on the road.
- $1 billion for Assistance for Latest and Zero Building Energy Code Adoption. Schumer said the funding will help incentivize states to adopt stricter energy efficient building codes.