The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and Environmental Defense Fund have just launched IRAtracker.org. This free online resource includes a searchable database that catalogues all of the climate change-related provisions in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), as well as a tracker that records actions taken by federal agencies to implement those provisions.
The IRA is this country’s largest climate investment to date. It provides nearly $400 billion in federal investments, solutions, programs and protections to support climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives. Much of that funding will be delivered through tax credits and incentives, obligating the Department of the Treasury and more than a dozen other federal agencies—including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of the Interior (DOI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—to implement the IRA.
With so many agencies involved, it can be difficult for state and local governments, Native American tribes, community groups, non-profit organizations, and others to keep track of what is happening and to engage and participate in the development and implementation of the tax credits, grants, policies and other programs created by the IRA. That is where IRAtracker.org comes in. Both the IRA database and tracker highlight ways in which eligible entities can engage in the programs established by the IRA and participate in related agency rulemakings and other activities.
Transformative IRA Programs Advance Climate Progress, Environmental Justice, Resilient Communities, and Science
IRAtracker.org is organized into two primary pages: a database and linked tracker. The database includes summaries of all of the climate-focused provisions of the IRA, organized by federal agency. For example, by selecting “EPA” on the database homepage, users can see a list of the IRA programs EPA is responsible for implementing. These summaries highlight where EPA is required to, for example, establish new grant or loan programs, implement protections and safeguards under the Clean Air Act such as the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, provide technical assistance, or take other steps to implement the IRA. The entities that are eligible to receive grant funding or otherwise participate in a program established under the IRA are specified. There is also a filter that can be used to highlight programs that refer to environmental justice considerations.
A review of the database illustrates the breadth of the IRA’s transformative climate investments and protections. The IRA allocates significant funding for both new and existing federal grant programs. Some examples are section 22002 of the IRA, which appropriates around $2 billion for the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy development for agricultural producers and rural small businesses, section 60201, which appropriates $3 billion for EPA to provide Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants to assist community nonprofit organizations and Indian Tribes in local climate resiliency projects, and section 23002, which provides funding for underserved forest landowners for climate mitigation or forest resilience practices.
Section 60501 creates a new “Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program,” which provides the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration around $3 billion to fund grants aimed at improving affordable transportation access, connectivity, and mitigating environmental impacts from surface transportation facilities that burden disadvantaged communities.
Section 60103 creates a “Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund” (GGRF), which the EPA Administrator can use to make grants for the deployment of zero-emission technologies, and to carry out other greenhouse gas emission reduction activities. This section appropriates $27 billion to EPA for the GGRF, including $7 billion for low-income and disadvantaged communities.
The IRA also supports the advancement of scientific research by, among other things, appropriating $150 million to the NOAA to support research into ocean and atmospheric processes that relate to weather, coasts, oceans, and climate. The IRA also appropriates funding to the DOI, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and DOE for the promotion of efficient and effective environmental reviews.
Tracking IRA Implementation
The IRA Tracker will monitor how federal agencies are implementing the law. Activity to implement the IRA has already started. IRAtracker.org shows 72 actions already taken by 11 different federal agencies. More will follow, and the site will be updated regularly to reflect ongoing IRA agency implementations. Each tracker entry includes a summary of the action, specifies the IRA section under which that action was taken, and lists the entities eligible to receive funding or otherwise participate. Each entry also includes a list of relevant resources that users can access for more information about the agency action.
The IRA extends and expands several tax credits and incentives, including those for renewable energy investments and production, clean vehicles, carbon capture and sequestration, biofuels, and commercial and residential energy efficiency. The expanded renewable energy investment tax credit, for example, now supports investments in energy storage and microgrids. Additionally, the package establishes new tax credits, such as those for used clean vehicles, commercial clean vehicles, sustainable aviation fuel, hydrogen, and electricity produced by qualified nuclear power plants. To implement these expanded tax credit offerings, the Treasury Department is required by the IRA to issue regulations and guidance to clarify the various new programs and requirements.
The Treasury Department has so far issued 10 requests for comment on how it should implement the many new tax credits it administers, including for renewable energy investment and production, clean vehicles, and energy-efficient home improvements. The Treasury Department also issued initial guidance for several of its programs, such as the clean vehicles programs, the low-income communities bonus credit, the section 48C qualifying advanced energy project credit, and the section 179D energy-efficient commercial building tax deduction. In addition, the agency issued initial guidance on prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements that will provide increased tax incentives to a variety of clean energy projects when they meet the specified criteria.
Similarly, other agencies have made significant progress towards implementing the IRA programs they administer. The EPA, for example, has requested comment on programs related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with construction materials, funding to assist states, tribes and local governments with developing climate pollution reduction plans, and funding for new clean transportation programs. EPA has also issued guidance announcing the initial program design of its GGRF.
Be sure to regularly check our tracker for the latest IRA agency implementation updates.