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Biden White House to invest in Alabama recycling and wastewater treatment

President Joe Biden speaks at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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President Joe Biden speaks at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA for short, announced close to $600,000 from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to expand recycling infrastructure and waste management systems across Alabama. The funding is meant to improve solid waste management planning, data collection and implementation of plans. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this investment totaling is a part of EPA’s largest recycling investment in years.

According to the White House, President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has also directed $2.3 billion in funding for roads, bridges, roadway safety, and major projects in Alabama This includes $2.2 billion in highway formula funding and $90 million in dedicated formula funding for bridges.

The EPA grants support the implementation of the Agency’s National Recycling Strategy to build an economy devoted to keeping materials, products, and services in circulation for as long as possible –what’s known as a “circular economy.”

“President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda tackles our most pressing environmental challenges including climate change and lead in drinking water, and today we add another historic investment to better manage waste in communities across America,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “By investing in better recycling, EPA is deploying resources to provide recycling services across the country, including in disadvantaged communities, while preventing waste that contributes to the climate crisis, supporting local economies and creating good-paying jobs.”

“This historic investment in advancing recycling infrastructure projects will effectively and efficiently reduce the impact that waste materials have in the Southeast Region,” said Acting Region 4 Administrator Jeaneanne Gettle. “Recognizably, the work done under this grant will serve as a powerful example of what we can do together do to protect our planet and our communities.

“We are thrilled that President Biden and Administrator Regan are continuing to make environmental justice a priority here in Alabama,” said Representative Terri A. Sewell (AL-07). “This investment is yet another example of how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering for our communities!”

President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.

EPA’s Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grant Program is also advancing President's Justice40 Initiatibe, which aims to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. Approximately $56 million out of the $73 million – or 76% - of the total funding for communities will go toward projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.

Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grants for States and Territories

The recycling grants for states and territories will provide funding to all 56 states, territories, and the District of Columbia via grants ranging from $370,000 to $760,000; with the highest grant amounts supporting those states and territories that need it the most.

These grants represent important steps toward achieving the EPA’s National Recycling Goal and Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal. Funded activities include improving post-consumer materials management programs through developing or updating solid waste management plans and strengthening data collection efforts.

Additional Background

Today’s announcement for states, territories, and communities is the first round of funding from this new grant program. In the coming months, EPA will announce the selected recipients of the recycling grants for Tribes and intertribal consortia, as well as the recipients of EPA’s new Recycling Education and Outreach grant program.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $275 million total from fiscal year 2022 to fiscal year 2026 for grants authorized under the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act - the largest investment in recycling in 30 years. The recycling grants are supplemented with additional funding provided through EPA’s annual appropriations. EPA has selected these entities to receive funding for recycling infrastructure projects and anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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