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Biden marks Earth Day by going after GOP, announcing $7 billion in federal solar power grants

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Biden marks Earth Day by going after GOP, announcing $7 billion in federal solar power grants
News

News

Biden marks Earth Day by going after GOP, announcing $7 billion in federal solar power grants

2024-04-23 05:52 Last Updated At:06:00

TRIANGLE, Virginia (AP) — President Joe Biden marked Earth Day by announcing $7 billion in federal grants for residential solar projects serving 900,000-plus households in low- and middle-income communities — while criticizing Republicans who want to gut his policies to address climate change.

Seeking reelection in November, Biden said, “Despite the overwhelming devastation in red and blue states, there are still those who deny the climate is in crisis."

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President Joe Biden, left, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. are pictured after Biden spoke at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden announced $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

TRIANGLE, Virginia (AP) — President Joe Biden marked Earth Day by announcing $7 billion in federal grants for residential solar projects serving 900,000-plus households in low- and middle-income communities — while criticizing Republicans who want to gut his policies to address climate change.

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Scranton, Pa., April 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Scranton, Pa., April 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

FILE - Nicholas Hartnett, owner of Pure Power Solar, holds a panel as his company installs a solar array on the roof of a home in Frankfort, Ky., July 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

FILE - Nicholas Hartnett, owner of Pure Power Solar, holds a panel as his company installs a solar array on the roof of a home in Frankfort, Ky., July 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

He took specific aim at supporters of former President Donald Trump's “Make America Great Again” movement.

“My MAGA Republican friends don't seem to think it's a crisis,” Biden said Monday during a visit to Virginia's Prince William Forest Park, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest Washington. “They actually want to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides the funding for the vast majority of these projects, and roll back protections for clean air and clean water.”

The president also used the trip to announce that nearly 2,000 corps positions are being offered across 36 states as part of his New Deal-style American Climate Corps green jobs training program, including jobs offered in partnership with the North American Building Trades Unions.

Biden used executive action last year to create the American Climate Corps modeled on Roosevelt’s New Deal.

“You’ll get paid to fight climate change,” he said Monday.

Biden made the announcements in a shady spot in Prince William Forest Park, which was established in 1936 as a summer camp for underprivileged youth from Washington. That was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps to help create jobs during the Great Depression.

The solar grants are being awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency, which unveiled the 60 recipients. The projects are expected to eventually reduce emissions by the equivalent of 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and save households $350 million annually.

Biden's announcements come as he is working to energize young voters for his reelection campaign. Young people were a key part of a broad but potentially fragile coalition that helped him defeat then-President Trump in 2020. Some have joined protests around the country of the administration's handling of Israel's war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

After his speech, Biden was asked by reporters about protests against Israel's handling of the war and replied, “I condemn the antisemitic protests.” But he also added, "I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians.”

The White House issued a statement over the weekend denouncing "harassment and calls for violence against Jews.” Protests on college campuses, including those of Columbia and Yale Universities, prompted scores of arrests.

Biden's campaign is hoping that his climate efforts can energize young voters ahead of November. Senior administration officials said young Americans are keenly invested in the Biden climate agenda and want to help enact it and that the Climate Corps is a way to do so.

Solar energy is gaining traction as a key renewable energy source that could reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels. Not only is it clean, but solar energy can also boost the reliability of the electric grid.

But solar energy can have high costs for initial installation, making it inaccessible for many Americans — and potentially meaning a mingling of environmental policy with election-year politics.

Forty-nine of the new grants are state-level awards, six serve Native American tribes and five are multi-state awards. They can be used for investments such as rooftop solar and community solar gardens.

“Broad community-based solar is our brightest hope for protecting people and our climate from the scourge of fossil fuels," said Jean Su, director of the Energy Justice program at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These targeted investments mean low-income families get clean energy that is affordable, resilient and protects our ecosystems. It’s great to see President Biden jumpstart this landmark program.”

The president has often used Earth Day as a backdrop to further his administration's climate initiatives. Last year, he signed an executive order creating the White House Office of Environmental Justice, meant to help ensure that poverty, race and ethnic status do not lead to worse exposure to pollution and environmental harm.

He has tried to draw a contrast with GOP congressional leaders, who have called for less regulation of oil production to lower energy prices. Biden officials counter that GOP policies benefit highly profitable oil companies and could ultimately undermine U.S. efforts to compete with the Chinese in the renewable energy sector.

The new awards came from the Solar for All program, part of the $27 billion “green bank” created as part of a sweeping climate law passed in 2022. The bank is intended to reduce climate and air pollution and send money to neighborhoods most in need, especially disadvantaged and low-income communities disproportionately affected by climate change.

Among those receiving grants are state projects to provide solar-equipped roofs for homes, college residences and residential-serving community solar projects in West Virginia, a non-profit operating Mississippi solar lease program and solar workforce training initiatives in South Carolina.

The taxpayer-funded green bank has faced Republican opposition and concerns over accountability for how the money gets used. EPA previously disbursed the other $20 billion of the bank’s funds to nonprofits and community development banks for clean energy projects such as residential heat pumps, additional energy-efficient home improvements and larger-scale projects like electric vehicle charging stations and community cooling centers.

Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Ed Markey of Oregon spoke at Monday's event along with New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, all leading voices in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Ocasio Cortez referenced “peaceful protests” elsewhere while arguing, “It was the power of young people who have made today possible."

St. John reported from Detroit.

Alexa St. John is an Associated Press climate solutions reporter. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, @alexa_stjohn. Reach her at ast.john@ap.org.

The Associated Press’ climate and environmental coverage receives financial support from multiple private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP’s standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at AP.org.

President Joe Biden, left, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. are pictured after Biden spoke at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden announced $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden, left, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. are pictured after Biden spoke at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden announced $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Joe Biden speaks at Prince William Forest Park on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 2024, in Triangle, Va. Biden is announcing $7 billion in federal grants to provide residential solar projects serving low- and middle-income communities and expanding his American Climate Corps green jobs training program. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Scranton, Pa., April 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Scranton, Pa., April 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

FILE - Nicholas Hartnett, owner of Pure Power Solar, holds a panel as his company installs a solar array on the roof of a home in Frankfort, Ky., July 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

FILE - Nicholas Hartnett, owner of Pure Power Solar, holds a panel as his company installs a solar array on the roof of a home in Frankfort, Ky., July 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

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Stars drop 7th straight Game 1, falling 3-2 to Oilers in 2nd overtime in West final

2024-05-24 14:58 Last Updated At:15:00

DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Stars got a tying goal from Tyler Seguin late in regulation, then had a four-minute power play early in overtime in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.

That still wasn't enough to keep them from their seventh consecutive series-opening loss since 2022, with Edmonton captain Connor McDavid scoring 32 seconds into the second overtime to give the Oilers a 3-2 victory Thursday night.

The opening-game losing streak includes all three Game 1s at home this postseason, with the Stars rebounding in the opening rounds this year by knocking out the last two Stanley Cup champions.

“In a perfect world we’d like to win Game 1. We’d like to win every series in four straight too but it doesn’t happen," Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “The main thing is you’ve got to find a way to survive and move on. We’ve got to park this game. We’ve been in this situation before.”

Jason Robertson had a shot that hit off the post during the extended power play in overtime, which came after McDavid got a double-minor penalty for a high stick that left Matt Duchene with blood on his lip.

“Obviously, you’ve got to score, that double minor,” DeBoer said. “That’s probably the game right there.”

The Stars finished 0 for 5 on the power play, including four shots on goal with a man advantage in overtime.

Seguin, who scored both goals for the Stars, had a long wrister just over six minutes into OT that goalie Stuart Skinner swatted with his stick out of the air and into the crowd.

“I thought we played a good hockey game," Seguin said. "If it was my choice we would have started two days earlier. It was nice to get a little break, but the break got a little long."

Dallas had wrapped up its second-round series with a double-overtime win at Colorado in Game 6 last Friday night.

The Stars came back to win that series after the Avalanche won the opener 4-3 in overtime. Dallas actually started this postseason by losing its first two games at home against Vegas, last year's Stanley Cup champion, before going seven games and then rolling right into the second round.

Game 2 is Saturday night in Dallas, where the Stars are 3-5 this postseason.

After making the playoffs as the eighth seed in 2022, the Stars dropped their opener at Calgary before forcing a Game 7 in that first-round series that they lost in overtime on the road. They went three rounds last postseason, dropping Game 1 each time.

When asked why Game 1s have been so hard, Seguin responded, “If I knew that I’d promise we’d probably change it up.”

The only way the Stars will get another one this postseason is if they come back again — like they have four of the previous six times — and make the Stanley Cup Final.

“I think we’ve had some Game 1s where we’ve really been feeling it out and laying a few eggs,” Seguin said. “That wasn’t the case tonight. This was a little different. So yeah, lot of things to build off of.”

AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) scores a goal on Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) during the third period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff finals, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) scores a goal on Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) during the third period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff finals, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Dallas Stars' Jamie Benn (14) and Edmonton Oilers' Zach Hyman (18) collide while competing for the puck during the second period of Game 1 of the Western Conference finals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Dallas Stars' Jamie Benn (14) and Edmonton Oilers' Zach Hyman (18) collide while competing for the puck during the second period of Game 1 of the Western Conference finals in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Dallas Stars defenseman Ryan Suter (20) collides with Edmonton Oilers left wing Dylan Holloway (55) as Stars' right wing Evgenii Dadonov (63) looks on during overtime in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff finals, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Dallas Stars defenseman Ryan Suter (20) collides with Edmonton Oilers left wing Dylan Holloway (55) as Stars' right wing Evgenii Dadonov (63) looks on during overtime in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff finals, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (29) makes a save as Edmonton Oilers left wing Warren Foegele (37) applies a screen during overtime in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff finals, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (29) makes a save as Edmonton Oilers left wing Warren Foegele (37) applies a screen during overtime in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Western Conference Stanley Cup playoff finals, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

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