White House officials will visit Gastonia to announce new climate funding

David T. Foster III/Observer file photo

White House officials will visit Gastonia Friday to announce “significant funding opportunities” related to the climate and infrastructure projects in North Carolina.

Gov. Roy Cooper will join Mitch Landrieu, the president’s senior advisor for infrastructure, and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell during a tour of a nature-based infrastructure project that received funding for climate resilience, according to a FEMA press release.

On Aug. 1, FEMA announced $5.98 million would go toward improving a sewer pump station in Gastonia to make it more resistant to flooding. The money will also help raise the road to the pump to bring it two feet above the existing 100-year flood level.

The visit also will come days after the Senate passed historic climate legislation that Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia called “the greatest pro-climate legislation that has ever been passed by Congress,” The New York Times reported.

The bill, which is expected to become law, would invest nearly $400 billion over 10 years in tax credits to make electric vehicles more popular and to move energy companies toward renewables, according to the New York Times. It also allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices and expand healthcare subsidies.

The bill has been viewed as a potential boost for Biden, whose approval rating has suffered amid inflation and high prices at the pump, according to a CNBC All-America Economic Survey last month. As states head toward the November midterm elections, the Biden administration’s performance could influence how Democrats perform in battleground states like North Carolina.

Voters in North Carolina will elect representatives for the state legislature, local governments and Congress, including a U.S. Senate battle between Republican Rep. Ted Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley, the former chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

FEMA hasn’t said how much money will be announced Friday or what the money will pay for.

Biden has said his administration will focus on infrastructure projects that will help communities’ resilience to drought, flooding, wildfires and other weather events linked to climate change. The administration will also focus on offshore wind.

In July, the White House announced $2.3 billion in funding for FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. That program was boosted by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, according to the White House.

The climate bill passed by the Senate would lift a Trump-era moratorium on new offshore wind leases off the North Carolina coast, the News & Observer reported.