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The Biden administration has started laying the groundwork for the most substantive federal policies to slash planet-heating emissions ever. And at the city level, mayors and lawmakers are making plans to zero-out carbon pollution through renewable power and better building codes.
But conservative lawmakers bent on preserving fossil fuels’ grip on the economy have been busy erecting new barriers at the state level. Texas is considering bills to curb renewables. West Virginia is advancing legislation to force power plants to keep burning coal. A dozen states are considering legislation that would bar cities from enacting building codes that ban natural gas hookups in new buildings.
On Monday, Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) plan to introduce legislation that would provide $1 trillion in federal spending directly to cities, towns and tribes seeking to slash carbon emissions and clean up pollution, circumventing state governments. Nearly two dozen other progressives are co-sponsoring the bill.
The proposal to target local governments, shared first with HuffPost, is modeled on funding provisions in the two COVID-19 relief bills Congress passed over the past year. But the bill allows for money to be spent on a long list of climate-related issues, ranging from projects to cut emissions with electric vehicles and energy efficiency retrofits to those that would remediate toxic water and soil pollutants and help communities adapt to more extreme weather.
While eligible projects listed in the legislation include standard green infrastructure, such as bike lanes and geothermal heating systems, it also allows for funding “to support reparations programs for Black and Indigenous people and communities.”
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