LVPC gets $1 million for climate action planning. Here’s how it plans to spend it
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A recent $1 million infusion of federal funds awarded to Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has been earmarked to create two separate climate action plans over the next four years.
- Lehigh Valley Planning Commission has gotten $1 million in federal funds to create two climate action plans over the next four years
- Over the next two years, LVPC must create a Priority Climate Action Plan, focused on industrial decarbonization
- It also must create a Comprehensive Climate Action Plan that would include monitoring "built to carry on this initiative into the long term”
“We're going specific first, then we're going to zoom out and go [to a] comprehensive, region-wide Climate Action Plan,” LVPC Executive Director Becky Bradley said.
“That's the way this program works, and it funds that larger initiative. So it makes sense to follow the EPA guidelines to make that happen.”
Over the next two years, LVPC must create a Priority Climate Action Plan, focused on industrial decarbonization, as well as a Comprehensive Climate Action Plan.
Bradley gave a presentation on the funding requirements Wednesday at LVPC’s monthly Environment Committee meeting.
I was dancing. It's funny, actually. But I was dancing in the hallway when I found out if that tells you anything, I was just so excited – still am.LVPC Executive Director Becky Bradley
Officials announced earlier this month that the LVPC had been awarded the money by opting into the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant program, part of the federal Inflation Reduction Act.
“I was dancing," Bradley said of the funding during the meeting. "It's funny, actually, but I was dancing in the hallway when I found out if that tells you anything, I was just so excited — still am.”
In addition to the LVPC, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission received funding through the program.
Priority, comprehensive plans
The priority plan, due in March 2024, will be completed in coordination with the state Department of Environmental Protection, Bradley said.
State officials had chosen industrial decarbonization as a prime concern but at the regional and state level.
“We were super excited about that because, as we all know, there's not a single month that goes by that we're not talking about the impact of industrial development, freight movement, air quality impacts, water quality impact — all of these, working with local governments to try to manage that, working with state agencies and others,” Bradley said.
“It’s great that the state picked that, as well.”
Having the priority plan will let the commission apply for more than $4 billion in nationwide, competitive grants for implementation, she said.
The comprehensive plan must be developed within two years of receipt of the funding.
“It would just start right on the heels and probably be a little timed with the Priority Climate Action Plan,” Bradley said.
“And then by the end of the reporting period in 2027, we would have to have a monitoring and complete capacity, built to carry on this initiative into the long term.”
Over the next few weeks, officials also will need to complete a budget and work plan. It must be submitted by May 30 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“So a lot of really cool things that we've been dreaming about doing are now possible because of this grant,” Bradley said.
“Clearly, there's a lot to be done, and it sort of shifts our work plan in a little bit of a different direction, though not wildly different direction.”
Greenhouse gas in the Lehigh Valley
The federal funding comes a little over a month after LVPC published its greenhouse gas assessment. The study showed the Valley’s 2019 emissions made up just shy of 4% of the commonwealth’s total gross greenhouse gas emission.
About 35% of the Valley’s total emissions was attributed to industrial electricity and natural gas, while about 27% was from transportation and mobile sources, according to the study.
LVPC also has published a regional climate action assessment that outlines local plans and their potential impacts on climate change.