Apr 5, 2023 - Politics

Iowa rejects more federal money, this time for pollution reduction

Illustration of a polaroid picture of a hundred dollar bill with #NoThanks written on it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Iowa is one of four state governments that missed a deadline last week to participate in the federal Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program.

Why it matters: Rejecting federal money is a trend that has cost the state more than $200 million.

  • And this time, by declining $3 million in planning grants that don't require a state match, Iowa won't be able to tap into phase II of the program — a $4.6 billion allocation to help states transition to clean energy economies.

State of play: The CPRG is part of the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act signed by President Biden last year to reduce the federal deficit, cut greenhouse gas emissions and lower health insurance-related costs.

  • States had to file a Notice of Intent to Participate (NOIP) in the CPRG by March 31.

Of note: Florida, Kentucky and South Dakota also did not submit NOIPs, according to a recent EPA status report.

Flashback: Gov. Kim Reynolds announced on Fox News in 2021 that she'd returned $95 million in federal money for COVID-19 testing in schools claiming Iowa didn't need it.

  • Her administration also declined a $30 million federal grant for child care services in November and, as of February, had forfeited at least $89.5 million in emergency rental assistance.

What they're saying: The governor's office and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which oversaw a state committee that reviewed climate change in 2008, did not respond to Axios' inquiries.

Meanwhile, Polk County and the DSM Area Metropolitan Planning Organization now plan to pursue CPRG participation because of the state government’s absence in the program.

  • They hope to claim some of the money the state government declined, Polk County Administrator John Norris tells Axios.
  • Metro areas have until April 28 to apply.

Yes, but: While local participation "is an exciting possibility," it also means the money would go to large metro areas rather than to a coordinated statewide approach, Brian Campbell, director of the Iowa Environmental Council, tells Axios.


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