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The Villages
Monday, November 28, 2022

Florida needs to get its share of the Inflation Reduction Act

To the Editor:

The Inflation Reduction Act has been a source of much discussion ever since President Biden signed it into law.
But whether our feelings about this partisan bill are positive or negative, the money has been allocated, and we should make sure that money works for Florida residents
The act combines programs, fees, and tax credits to increase the speed at which the U.S. adopts clean energy including solar, wind, nuclear, and hydrogen. It will give Americans rebates covering 50% to 100% of the cost of installing new, energy-saving home electric appliances, such as heat pumps, water heaters, clothes dryers, stoves, and ovens, as well as a 30% rooftop solar tax credit to lower utility bills.
Even without the rebates and credits, it’s estimated that American households will save $170 to $220 per year by 2030 thanks to lower electricity costs. The funding for clean domestic energy will also decrease the burden on American taxpayers to subsidize fossil fuel costs or the deployment of our military to protect global trade routes around foreign oil production.
Farmers and ranchers, who can implement important climate solutions, but often can’t afford to pay for investments out of pocket, will get money for conservation. The cash will finance projects to help store carbon in soil and trees, reduce methane, and switch to sustainable fertilizer and crop rotation methods. Meanwhile, foresters will benefit from funds for forest health and resilience as well as incentives to maximize the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the air.
Here in Florida, the benefits for residents include more jobs in the renewable energy field, healthier air for seniors, and protection of billions of dollars of real estate and infrastructure on the coasts.
The act contains a huge investment in low-carbon technologies and is expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, reducing the air pollution that sickens millions of Americans and adds up to billions of dollars in public health costs.
The transition to clean power will benefit Republican districts around the country — more than two-thirds of renewable capacity can be found in rural districts which are ideologically more conservative.
And as the American Nuclear Society has stated, the IRA provisions for nuclear energy will “help preserve the existing nuclear fleet, and scale-up new and advanced reactors leading to tens of thousands of American jobs.”
The economic opportunities here in Florida include the nearly 20 solar panel manufacturers and suppliers in Central Florida alone. Florida uses solar energy for only 3% of our electricity. Expansion of solar power utilities and residential use is almost a no-brainer for the “Sunshine State”
In Florida, we’re already feeling the impact of an altered climate. Besides being the most frequent target of hurricanes, we already see evidence of rising sea levels as hundreds of acres of coastal forests have died from salination. Florida is extremely vulnerable to sea level rise, having the second lowest elevation of all states and the second longest coastline. We must embrace solutions that are good for people and the economy while ensuring we slow the emissions warming our world and causing costly extreme weather events.
The Inflation Reduction Act was passed to clean up the air at home, but we still need to fix the problems it does not address — specifically, while we reduce pollution in the U.S., other countries continue to release heat-trapping gasses into the air which warms the planet for all of us.
One way to increase responsibility elsewhere is to impose a fee on imported products from nations that release more pollution in their manufacturing process. The E.U. is rapidly moving forward with a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), which will force countries trading with it to produce products with a lower carbon footprint or pay a fee. We too can level the playing field by placing a CBAM on foreign manufacturers undercutting our U.S. businesses with their cheaper, higher carbon-intensive goods.
Now it falls to Republicans to hold other countries accountable. As the new Congress approaches, we urge Senators Rubio and Scott, and congressional representative Webster to support federal policy that does just that.
With the Inflation Reduction Act now the law of the land, it’s essential our communities in Florida secure the full benefits available. We can also send a firm message to high-polluting countries — if you don’t follow our lead, you’ll pay to do business.

Drew Eyerly is Conservative Outreach Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
Hank Farrell is a Village of Buttonwood resident and a member of the local chapter.

 

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