$1 million federal grant will help region reduce polluting emissions

Date: Thursday, August 24, 2023

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a $1 million grant to the Metropolitan Council for creation of a regional plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and partner with local governments to implement prioritized strategies as the region heats up and becomes more prone to both flooding and drought.

Woman at a podium flanked by four other women.

The EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction planning grants are designed to provide flexible support to states, metropolitan areas, tribes, and territories regardless of where they are in their climate planning and implementation process. The grant program is part of the federal Inflation Reduction Act.

“Leading on climate change is a priority of the Met Council, and a key goal in our 2050 regional development guide – a guide for the growth and development of the seven-county metro region,” said Lisa Barajas, executive director of the Met Council’s Community Development division. “The 2050 planning process is already under way, so this grant is very timely. It will support the next step of our work.”

Met Council will deepen engagement on regional climate policies

We will be working closely with state agencies in this work, as the state also received an EPA grant for a statewide effort. Among the ways the Met Council will use the EPA grant:

  • Engage low income and disadvantaged communities to help develop regional climate-related policies
  • Coordinate with local governments to prioritize emissions reductions strategies
  • Develop new tools and refine existing tools that will help the Met Council and local governments reduce emissions and become more resilient

“The grant will expand on our engagement for the 2050 regional plan in ways we’ve never done before,” Barajas said. “We will have much more capacity to reach communities whose voices historically have not been included in planning processes and who often bear the greatest impacts of climate change.”

“We’re also excited about this grant because we know many cities and towns across the region have worked to create their own climate action plans,” she said. “This grant will help us build off that strong work of local governments and identify strategies that we can do together to make a significant impact sooner.

“Our hope is to build regional consensus around collective actions we can take that will make a difference and improve the lives of those who live and work in the region — specifically those who are overburdened by climate change.”

Rows of solar panels in a field.

Grant supports ongoing Met Council climate action

Over the last two decades, the Met Council has made progress to save energy and reduce our operational emissions. We have also been building tools, like Growing Shade, the Climate Vulnerability Assessment, and the regional Greenhouse Gas Strategy Planning Tool. These tools support us and local governments in their efforts to act on climate change.

In December 2022, the Met Council adopted our first internally focused, agency-wide Climate Action Work Plan to reduce emissions and adapt our facilities and operations to be more resilient as the climate changes.

Second phase of grants will fund project implementation

The EPA grant covers the 13-county Twin Cities metropolitan statistical area, which includes two counties in Wisconsin. Counties, cities, and towns within the area, in addition to the Met Council, will be eligible for a second phase of competitive federal grants next year, also funded by the Inflation Reduction Act. The second phase grants will support implementation of investment-ready policies, programs, and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the near term.

Climate Action Resources at the Met Council

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Posted In: Communities

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