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Andy Olsen

The Bullseye on Agriculture Climate Programs

A House subcommittee has targeted climate programs for rural communities. Here’s why that matters.

House Republicans are preparing to gut rural climate and clean energy investments. On May 17, the House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee released their FY2024 appropriations bill, fast-tracking it to pass the next morning on a party-line vote. The bill would eliminate nearly $4 billion in funding for climate programs for agriculture and rural areas, even as we set new global warming records and climate risks grow.

The Agriculture Appropriations bill paints a bullseye on the historically bipartisan Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) by attempting to raid it of $500 million. The agriculture appropriations bill also attempts to rescind $3.25 billion of USDA assistance for rural electric cooperatives to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels and adopt clean energy. Two important programs that could bring significant clean energy and efficiency investments to rural America.

The House Agriculture Appropriations bill can be modified when the full Appropriations Committee takes it up. [UPDATE: On May 23, they postponed full committee markup to a date unknown. Keep up the pressure!]

Now is the time for people to speak out to the US House against these draconian cuts to our climate change defenses.

TELL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS TO OPPOSE CUTS TO REAP 

REAP brings energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities to farms, ranchers, and rural small businesses across the country, to cut energy waste and tap renewable energy, sparking rural economic development. Over its first 20 years, REAP has sparked investment via grants and loan guarantees in over 22,000 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, and it is ready to do more.

Read about more REAP Successes

Recognizing this impact, the Inflation Reduction Act provided this popular program nearly $2 billion over the next 10 years. The appropriations bill released on May 17th proposes to slash that by a half billion dollars.

These attempted cuts come as our society looks down the barrel of a record 1.5 °C increase in global temperatures – sure to harm agriculture. Part of providing for our nation’s defense is to reduce climate risks and the costs of climate change. These cuts must be rejected.

Andy Olsen,

Senior Policy Advocate

Andy Olsen is a senior policy advocate at ELPC, leading the Farm Bill Clean Energy and Rural Solar programs.

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