On Earth Day, USDA Invests More Than $16 Million in Critical Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change in Rural Pennsylvania

11 Projects Will Help People in Equity Communities Access Clean Energy

In honor of Earth Day 2022, State Director for Rural Development Bob Morgan announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing more than $16 million in 11 projects in rural Pennsylvania. These investments will strengthen the health and livelihoods of people across rural America.

Today’s announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour, during which Biden Administration officials are traveling to dozens of rural communities to talk about the impact of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments, as well as President Biden’s broader commitment to ensure federal resources reach all communities in rural America.

“People in rural America and across the world frequently experience the impacts of climate change in many ways. This includes more severe droughts, more frequent wildfires, and more destructive and life-threatening storms,” Morgan said. “When we invest in infrastructure in rural communities, we invest in our planet. USDA is proud to celebrate Earth Day and the many ways we are addressing climate change and investing in locally-driven solutions to bring safe water and renewable energy to people in rural areas everywhere.”

USDA Rural Development is taking several actions to mitigate the impacts of climate change in rural communities.

Advancing Equity in Rural Communities

USDA Rural Development is prioritizing projects that advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s key priorities of investing in rural communities to ensure people have equitable access to critical resources and to combat the climate crisis. Investments in these communities will make an impact for generations to come.

For example, the projects in today’s announcement will help advance equity in rural communities, especially in those that have been socially vulnerable, distressed and underserved for far too long.

Clean Energy Infrastructure and Energy Efficiency Improvements

USDA is investing nearly $200,000 in renewable energy infrastructure in Pennsylvania to help agricultural producers, rural small business owners and residents lower energy costs and make energy-efficiency improvements. The Department is making the investments under the Electric Loan Program and the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

Through REAP, Rural Development is helping 8 rural businesses and agricultural producers get access to clean energy, while reducing their carbon footprint to make their business operations more cost-effective.

  • Saint Francis University in Cambria County received a REAP Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development grant of $100,000 to assist 28 agricultural producers and rural small businesses across the state of Pennsylvania receive low-cost energy assessments aimed at reducing their energy costs over time. Funds will also be used to create marketing materials, which will be distributed to bring awareness to the program. This program strengthens American energy independence by increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements.

A complete list of all the projects can be found on our website.