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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

NM tribal communities benefit from EPA's "Solar For All" program

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Monday, April 29, 2024   

New federal funding aims to revolutionize solar energy access within New Mexico's Native American communities and benefit the state overall.

The Environmental Protection Agency's $7 billion "Solar for All" program is designed to create new or expanded low-income solar programs.

Talia Martin, co-executive director of the National Tribal Program for GRID Alternatives, said the funding will help bridge the clean energy gap in Native American communities.

"In New Mexico, tangible impacts would be for household savings," Martin explained. "Which means working directly with the tribes to ensure that the savings are going to individual households as well as to the community as a whole."

According to Martin, the $62 million EPA grant awarded to the GRID Tribal Program is its largest ever. Nationwide, the agency's program is set to help at least 4,700 households in Native American communities. Across the U.S., the EPA said the program will enable more than 900,000 low-income households and disadvantaged communities to benefit from distributed solar energy.

Martin emphasized the program will allow GRID to help bolster solar storage capabilities and implement essential upgrades, while at the same time advancing their mission to support the self-determined efforts of Native American tribes to deploy clean energy on tribal lands, arguing it will be important to recruit contractors who understand the needs of tribal communities they're working with.

"It's an amazing window for Indian Country to be involved in energy development," Martin pointed out. "We want to just help foster all these relationships that it is going to take to do that."

The state of New Mexico also received a grant of $156 million from the program to overcome existing barriers to widespread adoption of distributed solar generation. In addition to the federal money for solar, Array Technologies announced last week it will build a new $50 million solar manufacturing campus near Albuquerque.

Disclosure: The Rural Democracy Initiative contributes to our fund for reporting on Environment, Health Issues, Rural/Farming, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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