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On Earth Day, USDA Invests Nearly $800 Million in Critical Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change Across Rural America

Heather Stacy
Release Date
Apr 22, 2022

More than $10 million to be invested in Ohio communities, promoting clean energy and creating jobs in rural communities


COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 22, 2022 – Today, in honor of Earth Day 2022, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing nearly $800 million in climate-smart infrastructure in 40 states, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. These investments will strengthen the health and livelihoods of people across rural America. They include funding for 165 projects to expand access to safe water and/or clean energy for people living in disadvantaged communities. Eleven of those projects are here in Ohio.

“Climate change threatens the economy, environment, and health and safety of all Ohioans”, said Jonathan McCracken, USDA Rural Development Ohio State Director. “By making these crucial investments in rural Ohio, we’re making rural communities more resilient today and in the future.”

In Ohio, four recipients received funding through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP),  gaining access to clean energy, while reducing their carbon footprint to make their business operations more cost-effective. The recipients are: in Knox County, Maners Rockwall Inc.; in Lawrence County, Custom Built PC’s; in Portage County, Polar X-Press LLC; and in Putnam County, Omega Dental Care of Ottawa LLC. Combined, they were awarded $50,628 for projects that will save or generate 115,145 kWh per year, enough energy to power ten homes annually. 

The Electric Program funding in Ohio includes nearly $9.9 million; $108,753 for smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security. Firelands Electric Cooperative will use program funding to connect 184 consumers and build and improve 52 miles of line. This Cooperative serves more than 9,000 consumers with over 995 miles of line in the counties of Ashland, Huron, Lorain, and Richland in Ohio.

USDA is also investing $300,000 in infrastructure improvements throughout Ohio. Six communities each received a $50,000 grant to purchase emergency response and/or road repair equipment to help communities be better prepared and more resilient in the face of disaster. The award recipients are: City of Gallipolis, Village of Middleport, Washington County, Monroe County, Union Township, and Washington Township. The Department is making the investments under the Community Facilities Disaster Grants program.

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.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/oh.

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