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New Mexico, USA – An organized network of climate and environmental advocacy groups today applauded application submissions from the State of New Mexico and the City of Albuquerque to receive $3 million and $1 million, respectively, from the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program (CPRG), administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). CPRG funds, part of the federal Inflation Reduction Act, were made available to all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, as well as to the 67 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), to engage in planning for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. States that successfully apply for planning dollars will receive $3 million for climate action planning. MSAs are eligible for $1 million, with Albuquerque and the County of Bernalillo being the only eligible MSA in New Mexico.  

Climate planning funds are the first stage in the CPRG process, with competitive implementation grant applications expected to be announced in early 2024. Successful implementation grants in the second phase will provide additional funds to states and MSAs to implement recommended actions for reducing GHG emissions – the leading cause of climate change – resulting from the community engagement process funded by the first stage. 

All planning application recipients are required to facilitate a robust community engagement process to inform the development of a Priority Climate Action Plan (PCAP). To ensure success of the planning grant, the EPA indicated that funds can be used to engage consultants to produce a GHG inventory and benefits analysis, and provide staffing funds to oversee the process. All recipients are required to include Justice40 Initiative components as part of the process and PCAP recommendations. Justice40 calls for 40% of the overall benefits of federal investments to flow to historically underinvested communities. 

Quotes from Climate and Environmental Justice Advocates: 

“The State of New Mexico and City of Albuquerque have just taken important steps towards addressing climate pollution in our state by submitting their applications to receive critical federal Inflation Reduction Act funding. With this funding, we can accelerate and empower community-driven solutions to address climate change and environmental injustice. We look forward to working with our state and local governments to ensure that frontline communities and workers are brought into the planning and implementation process,” says Michael Guerrero, Sustainable Economy Policy Advisor, Center for Civic Policy (CCP).  

“After a disappointing legislative session for climate action, we are excited about this opportunity to work with State and City of Albuquerque officials to fund essential community-driven planning for climate action that protects our most vulnerable communities. We are hopeful that this is one of many steps that will lead to resolute pursuit of our zero-carbon goals,” says Samantha Kao, Climate & Energy Advocate, Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM)

“We look forward to working with state and Albuquerque city leaders on this exciting initiative to help protect frontline communities, who have for far too long endured disproportionate harm from exposure to toxic air and water pollution,” says Alexis Mena, New Mexico director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). 

“We are excited to work with the State of New Mexico and the City of Albuquerque as they continue to lead the nation on climate justice. Our frontline communities need immediate and comprehensive change to ensure the health and safety of their communities and our entire state, and they are the “experts” whose voices are critical to success,” says Ona Porter, Founder Emerita & Clean Energy Leader with Prosperity Works.

“The realities of climate change are stark. In Albuquerque the heat is fierce, drought is visible and mosquito and allergy seasons are stretching out. Around the state unnaturally fierce fires and floods are ruining historic communities. Climate Pollution Reduction Funds offer a chance to fund real solutions that impacted communities should be an integral part of planning,” says Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter director. 

“New Mexico can address climate change and invest in historically underserved communities at the same time. For example, the Community Energy Efficiency Development (CEED) block grant program helps improve living conditions for low income New Mexicans and makes energy bills more affordable, while shifting more homes to run on clean, climate-safe electricity rather than polluting fuels. New federal climate investments will help state and local leaders plan and robustly fund smart programs like CEED, so that we can engage every New Mexican in cutting pollution while living healthier lives. We thank Governor Lujan Grisham and her team, as well as Mayor Tim Keller and his administration, for applying for this critical climate planning money.  We are excited to help maximize the benefits.” says Elise Jones, Executive Director, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP)

“As a Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and frontline organization organizing for food, outdoor and transit justice in Albuquerque’s most impacted communities and as a member of the Justice 40 Accelerator Cohort, Together for Brothers (T4B) celebrates resources and opportunities for boys and young men of color, their families and communities to be at decision-making tables and engage in identifying the problems, root causes and solutions for clean air and water in Albuquerque. We need to make investments in equity and engagement by, for and with most impacted communities,” says Christopher Ramirez, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Together for Brothers (T4B). 

“From persistent drought to poor air quality, New Mexico’s local and tribal governments are confronted daily with the realities of climate change. As an organization that includes local, tribal and state elected officials from across New Mexico, Western Leaders Network applauds New Mexico’s and the City of Albuquerque’s decision to participate in the CPRG program. Thanks to the historic federal funding allocated through the Inflation Reduction Act, this program offers New Mexico leaders an unprecedented opportunity to protect public health and build climate resilience and environmental justice in their communities – particularly in those disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis. New Mexico’s tribes, pueblos and smaller communities with limited resources will be better equipped to develop and implement plans to reduce climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions and build sustainability. We look forward to participating in this important collaborative effort,” says Gwen Lachelt, Executive Director of Western Leaders Network. 

“We’re pleased that the state and city of Albuquerque are taking the issue of climate crisis seriously. It’s vital that we work to protect all communities, but particularly those that have long been marginalized. As children are more susceptible to many of the harms of climate change, it is imperative we work on their behalf to ensure their health today and into the future,” says Amber Wallin, executive director of NM Voices for Children.