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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Progressives call push to change Constitution "risky," Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire; new report compares ways NY can get cleaner air, help disadvantaged communities.

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House Speaker McCarthy aims to pin a shutdown on White House border policies, President Biden joins a Detroit auto workers picket line and the Supreme Court again tells Alabama to redraw Congressional districts for Black voters.

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An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

U.S. Debt Default Would Impact NY Clean-Energy Investments

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Tuesday, May 30, 2023   

The looming U.S. debt default could affect a host of programs across the country - and in New York, the list includes clean-energy investments.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the U.S. has until June 5 before a default would occur. In the meantime, states like New York have been ramping up their clean-energy infrastructure with federal Inflation Reduction Act funds.

A Climate Power report finds the IRA created 950 clean-energy jobs in New York from more than $560 million in funding.

Zander Bischof, head of Regulatory & Government Affairs at MN8 Energy, described how a default could jeopardize the future of these investments.

"It would put pressure on clean energy investment through a few mechanisms," said Bischof. "I think, firstly, it would drive up interest rates, and therefore the financing costs of clean energy assets - which are generally pretty capital intensive. We're talking about most of the costs being to get the steel in the ground, and then very low ongoing operating - and then from there, fuel costs."

He added that a default also could devalue the U.S. dollar, leading to higher costs for these projects.

This isn't the first time the IRA has been threatened. A bill to repeal it appears to be stuck in the U.S. House.

The Joint Economic Committee estimates that repealing the IRA would lead to energy costs of up to $300 a year higher per household.

Some experts feel the alternative isn't much better. House Republicans' "Limit, Save, and Grow Act" would raise the debt ceiling, but slash clean-energy funding.

Sandra Purohit - director of Federal Advocacy at the advocacy group E2 - said she feels after so much progress, it would be a step in the wrong direction.

"If you avoid default under this plan," said Purohit, "you would do so by revoking incentives that are making a huge and positive impact on our economy."

Both President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have said they're confident a deal will be reached as negotiations continued over the weekend - although others see it as an impasse that's unlikely to be settled by the deadline.




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