UI Hosts Inflation Reduction Act Event

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February 27, 2024

Story: Josie Boyle

On Friday, February 16, the University of Iowa hosted a series of panels discussing the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in Iowa, organized by Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative, Rewiring America, the UI Labor Center, and the Iowa Environmental Council. The event was held in the Boyd Law Building and featured numerous speakers to cover various aspects of the legislation.

Blake Rupe, Program Director of the Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative (HELI) stated that the Inflation Reduction Act “is billed by some as the most significant climate change legislation in US history.” To break down these multi-faceted enactments, the event was split into a keynote address and two panels. “The IRA itself has a lot embedded within in, so this panel series was a discussion about some of those opportunities that would apply directly to Iowa,” Rupe said.

To kick off the event, Kristin G. Eberhard, Senior Director of State & Local Policy at Rewiring America gave a keynote address. She discussed how we can stabilize the climate, the importance of reducing waste by transitioning to clean electricity, and local government leaders championing electrification. According to Rupe, Eberhard’s impactful address made clear “how the IRA is aiding in the electrification in communities all across the US, especially in places that look like Iowa.”

The first panel was titled “State and Local Opportunities” and was moderated by the Iowa Environmental Council. The panel featured four speakers involved in sustainability and economic development and discussed local opportunities brought forth by the IRA.

The second panel was titled “Local Labor and Prevailing Wages” and was moderated by the UI Labor Center. “The panel that talked about how the IRA is promoting local labor and living wages was an important conversation because using IRA funds to leverage those opportunities for the workers and families in Iowa is potentially transformative,” said Rupe. Featured speakers were from BlueGreen Alliance, Linn Clean Energy District, Central Iowa Building & Construction Trades Council, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Over 200 people attended the panels (in-person and virtually). The event successfully aligned with one mission of the Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative, which is to “provide events and programming that are relevant to Iowa and to community members across our state,” Rupe stated.

A full recording of the keynote address and panels is linked here.

To find more events sponsored by HELI, visit their events webpage.