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Inflation Reduction Act: A Pathway to Transition West Virginia from Coal

August 30, 2022

Mountaineer News

West Virginia residents stand to gain from the tax credits through the Inflation Reduction Act. The legislation, supported by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and signed into law by President Joe Biden, provides billions of dollars in funding over the next decade toward reducing the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. The package includes a 10-year 30% tax credit for homeowners who install solar power. Cheyenne Carter, social media consultant for the West Virginia Climate Alliance, said future generations will benefit from cleaner air and water resulting from the measures outlined in the bill. "Because we're going to be reducing the carbon emissions, we're going to see less black lung, we're going to see healthy -- healthy, happier -- families in our communities," Carter asserted. The measure also permanently restores the tax on coal mining to fund the federal Black Lung Benefits Program. Princeton University's Zero Lab projected the legislation will slash carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, putting the nation more in line with Paris Climate Agreement goals. Critics argued the bill is too expensive, impractical, and could financially affect households already struggling with inflation. Its advocates are working to educate West Virginians on how they can take advantage of the new tax credits, but Carter worries many will be left in the dark. "The biggest missing piece, in my opinion, is the lack of education in our communities," Carter stressed. "A lot of people don't have the context or the resources to truly understand what is in the IRA, and how to best take advantage of it." The new law allocates $10 billion in tax credits for manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines and parts for electric vehicles. Carter added $4 billion must be spent in communities where coal mines and power plants have been shut down for more than a decade.

References: W.Va. information White House August 2022 House Resolution 5376 08/16/2022 Bill analysis Princeton Univ. 08/25/2022 Bill criticism Heritage Foundation 08/02/2022 Clean energy jobs National Renewable Energy Laboratory March 2022

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