August 09, 2021
REAP Helps Rural Americans Be Part of our Climate Solution
Rural America’s farmers, ranchers and businesses can help decarbonize the U.S. economy with energy efficiency and renewable energy investments offered through REAP.
It’s appropriations season and Congress is launching a Budget Reconciliation process that will include critical investments for climate action.
The IPCC 6th assessment report makes clear that people are driving the climate crisis and we must act now to tackle climate pollution across our economy. And rural America is a key part of the solution.
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) helps rural America invest in, and benefit from, on-site clean renewable energy and energy efficiency, while creating jobs and business opportunities. REAP has always enjoyed bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and it should get a big funding boost in Reconciliation.
ELPC led a diverse coalition in sending a letter to Congress in support of robust REAP funding for next year. We called for protecting the $50 million in mandatory funding provided in the 2018 Farm Bill, as well as robust discretionary (additional) funding to benefit more farmers and rural businesses. President Biden provided important support for REAP, calling for $80 million; an increase that will help more farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses access and benefit from the program.
We also worked with a broad range of stakeholders to send a letter to President Biden making the case that REAP be included in his Build Back Better plan with $300 million per year between 2022-2031.
Investments in REAP: Renewed and Expanded
The House Appropriations Committee passed its FY22 Agriculture Appropriations bill that includes:
- Full mandatory funding of $50 million for REAP for FY22; and
- Additional funding of $30.4 million.
The Senate has also started work on its appropriations bill for agriculture and supports $50 million in mandatory funding and $22.3 million in discretionary funding.
Even as Congress continues to work on the annual spending bills, the Reconciliation process is now underway. This is an important opportunity for the Senate Agriculture Committee to shape its priorities for reconciliation. Hopefully, the committee will include $300 million per year for REAP over ten years, as our letter called for.
Given that the rural economy has been hard hit, saving money on energy through efficiency and renewable energy benefits farmers and rural communities. In addition, through REAP, farmers and rural small businesses are part of the climate solution. If you are interested in how REAP actually works on a farm, here’s just one example.
The new IPCC report makes clear that we cannot delay action. REAP is a critical piece in the climate action puzzle and Congress must include it in Reconciliation with $300 million per year.