Projects Advance President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda
MORGANTOWN, Nov. 1, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development West Virginia State Director Ryan Thorn today announced that Rural Development is investing more than $8.7 million in rural small businesses, agriculture producers and local communities in West Virginia to help lower energy costs, improve basic infrastructure, and strengthen the resilience of our rural communities.
“Whether it’s helping a rural small business cut utility costs or helping a rural community provide clean and reliable drinking water, modern infrastructure creates good-paying jobs and supports opportunities for rural West Virginians to build brighter futures,” said Thorn. “Helping our rural communities and small businesses grow and prosper is what we’re all about at Rural Development and the investments announced today are a testament to that commitment.”
The investments announced today are made available through the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, and the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. In total, Rural Development is investing $8,753,907 in 25 projects across West Virginia.
River Riders, an adventure resort in Jefferson County, will use a $201,658 REAP grant to purchase and install an 84 kilowatt (kW) solar array. The project annually is expected to save the business $3,587 per year and will replace 97,022 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, enough electricity to power eight homes.
Rural Development has made up to $1.3 billion available in REAP funding through the Inflation Reduction Act. Eligible applicants include rural small business owners and agricultural producers. Since October 2022, more than $4.6 million in REAP funds were distributed to 41 energy efficiency improvement projects in rural West Virginia.
In Mingo County, the City of Williamson will use a $4.9 million low-interest loan through the Water and Waste Disposal Program to upgrade its water treatment, storage, and distribution systems. This project will benefit approximately 3,191 rural West Virginians.
The Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program helps fund clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage and solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage to households and businesses. Over the past fiscal year, more than $21 million in Water and Environmental Program funds were distributed to 17 projects.
The Southern Appalachian Labor School, in Fayette County, will use a $24,720 Community Facilities Grant to repair the roofs for two of its community center facilities. The organization owns and operates two 911/Red Cross Emergency Shelters located at the historic Oak Hill School and Beards Fork School.
The Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program helps develop essential community facilities in rural areas. Over the last fiscal year, more than $19.7 million in Community Facilities Program funds were distributed to 20 organizations and rural communities.
Funding for these programs is made possible, in part, by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It also advances the President’s Investing in America agenda to grow the nation’s economy from the bottom up and middle-out.
On Nov. 1, USDA announced investments of more than $5 billion across five U.S. Department of Agriculture initiatives that are helping farmers adopt new climate-smart agricultural practices, supporting community infrastructure, and increasing economic development in rural towns and communities. The investments are helping to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and make rural West Virginia communities more resilient.
Background: Inflation Reduction Act
As a core pillar of Bidenomics and the President’s Investing in America agenda, the Inflation Reduction Act makes the largest investment in climate action in history and is lowering energy costs, bringing opportunity to communities across America and tackling the climate crisis through investments in agriculture, forest restoration, and rural communities.
Since December 2022, USDA has made up to $1.3 billion available in REAP funding through the Inflation Reduction Act. Eligible applicants include rural small business owners and agricultural producers. The program is part of the Justice40 Initiative, which is working to ensure that 40% of the benefits of certain federal investments reach communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment.
The Biden Administration championed the Inflation Reduction Act to help provide new funding and unprecedented incentives to expand clean energy, transform rural power production, create jobs and spur economic growth. It is the largest single investment in rural electrification since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.
Through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Administration is delivering on its promise to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across America.
It provides funding to USDA Rural Development to help eligible organizations invest in renewable energy infrastructure and zero-emission systems and make energy-efficiency improvements that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It will boost the long-term resiliency, reliability and affordability of rural electric systems. It will help families save money on utility bills, and it will expand rural opportunities in the clean-energy economy.
For more information on the Inflation Reduction Act, visit: https://www.rd.usda.gov/inflation-reduction-act.
USDA 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. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
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