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Trump wants to unravel Biden’s landmark climate law. Here is what’s most at risk.

By some accounts, the law has helped spur hundreds of billions of dollars in private investment into projects that could create nearly 200,000 jobs—and get this: eight of the 10 congressional districts set to receive the biggest clean-energy investments announced in recent quarters are led by Republicans, according to one analysis (and backed up by others). 

A disproportionate amount of the money is also flowing into low-income areas and “energy communities,” or regions that previously produced fossil fuels, according to data from the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research and the Rhodium Group. 

As more and more renewables projects, mineral processing facilities, battery plants, and EV factories bring jobs and tax revenue to red states, the politics around clean energy are shifting, at least behind the scenes if not always in the public debate. 

All of which means some sizable share of Republicans will likely push back on more sweeping changes to the IRA, particularly if they would raise the costs on businesses and reduce the odds that new projects will move forward, says Sasha Mackler, executive director of the energy program at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.

“Most of the tax credits are pretty popular within industry and in red states, which are generally the constituency that the Republican Party listens to when they shape their policies,” Mackler says. “When you start to go beyond the top-line political rhetoric and look at the actual tax credits themselves, they’re on much firmer ground than you might initially think just reading the newspaper and looking at what’s being said on the campaign trail.”

That means it might prove more difficult to rescind some of the hit-list items above than Trump would hope. And there are other big parts of the legislative package that Republicans might avoid picking fights over at all, such as the support for processing critical minerals, manufacturing batteries, capturing and storing carbon dioxide, and producing biofuels, given the broader support for these areas.

DC sources also say that clean-energy-focused policy shops and some climate tech companies themselves are already playing defense, stressing the importance of these policies to legislators in the run-up to the election. Meanwhile, if staffers at the Department of Energy and other federal agencies aren’t already rushing to get as much of the grant-based money in the IRA out the door as possible, they should be, says Leah Stokes, an associate professor of environmental politics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who advised Democrats on crafting the law.

Among other funds, the law appropriates nearly $12 billion for the DOE’s loans office, which provides financing to accelerate the development of clean-energy projects. It also sets aside $5 billion in EPA grants designed to help states, local governments, and tribes implement efforts to cut greenhouse-gas pollution. 



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