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News / Clark County News

Vancouver gets $575,000 from state to boost city’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2040

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer
Published: December 28, 2023, 4:57pm

Vancouver is launching into the new year with $575,000 in state funding officials say is integral to pushing its climate efforts forward.

The Washington Department of Commerce recently awarded the city aid for projects intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including improving electric vehicle charging, reducing the carbon footprint of commercial buildings and mapping areas vulnerable to flooding, fire and extreme heat due to climate change.

These initiatives will bring Vancouver closer to achieving communitywide carbon neutrality by 2040, said Rebecca Small, Vancouver’s climate lead.

“Everyone has a role to play in building a more sustainable future,” she said. “These city-led projects will support households and property owners in the transition to becoming carbon-free.”

A state law passed in 2023 amended Washington’s Growth Management Act to require local governments to incorporate climate action in planning. Commerce’s climate-planning grant came from the state’s implementation of the bill.

The funding came from a formula grant rather than a typical competitive one. This means all of Washington’s 237 planning jurisdictions were given awards to use during the biennium or until 2029. The state budgeted $75 million, or $30 million per biennium, through 2029 for the new program.

With this most recent grant, Vancouver’s pot of climate-specific funding is now $1.86 million in 2023.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry, Washington State Department of Transportation Sustainable Aviation Grants, the Southwest Regional Transportation Council Transportation Alternative Program and Commerce’s Solar Plus Storage contributed to the city’s pool of funding. State and federal funding likely won’t stop there as city staff continue to apply for climate-specific aid in 2024 and 2025.

Moving forward, Vancouver will incorporate climate work into grants and initiatives to pursue goals outlined in its Climate Action Framework, such as those related to transportation, energy efficiency and long-term land use.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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Columbian staff writer