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U.S. Senate to begin debating Inflation Reduction Act. It includes billions to fight climate change

In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, wind turbines from the Deepwater Wind project stand in the sea off Block Island.
Michael Dwyer
/
AP file
In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, wind turbines from the Deepwater Wind project stand in the sea off Block Island.

The Senate will open debate Saturday on the proposed federal legislation known as the Inflation Reduction Act. It would reduce the deficit to fight inflation, lower Affordable Care Act premiums, and raise taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans. But it's getting most attention for its funding to fight climate change.

The bill would dedicate $369 billion to energy and climate projects, increase tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles to as much as $7,500, and provide billions of dollars in tax credits for clean energy projects like batteries, wind turbines, and solar panels.

Kate Dempsey, State Director of the Nature Conservancy in Maine, said the bill also includes provisions to protect forest health.

"When I look at the bill, it seems to be right in line with the things that Mainers care about. It's easy to get down about climate change, and I think that means we all can agree that that it's time to take some big steps forward," Dempsey said.

Anya Fetcher of the Natural Resources Council of Maine is especially excited about the billions of dollars in tax credits for clean energy projects.

"Those are absolutely game changing and will encourage companies to ramp up their solar and wind and energy storage on the grid," Fetcher said.

Debate on the bill could extend through the weekend.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.