America is already in the midst of a transition to a new, cleaner economy. This evolution of our national energy systems has a lot of benefits for our nation, but not everyone sees them. There are communities in every state that are facing dramatic changes in their economy for various reasons. In parts of the country – from the mining country of West Virginia and Montana to communities powered by coal plants for decades – workers and communities are feeling real pain. We need Congress to step up and make sure that by rebuilding better, we leave no one behind and that we build a better future for all.
A just transition for workers and communities is not something that will happen organically. We must choose to invest in the economic diversification of communities. We must choose to invest in workers. We must choose to modernize and strengthen the industries and sectors at the heart of the US economy.
This is why we are supporting a new bill unveiled this week and drafted by Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownUS On The Way To Miss Debt Payments As Of October 19: On The Money Analysis – Presented By NRHC – Democrats Break Rubicon Debt Ceiling Democrats Insist They Will Not Back Down debt ceiling PLUS (D-Ohio), Bob caseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyBarletta Holds Big Lead Over GOP Rivals in First Poll of Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Race Democrats Minimize Deadlines for Biden’s Sprawling Spending Plan (D-Pa.), Sheldon White HouseSheldon Whitehouse Hillicon Valley – Brought to you by American Edge Project – Americans Blame Politicians, Social Media For Spread Of Disinformation: Poll Democrats Urge Federal Agencies To Combat Use Of Cryptocurrency For Ransomware Payments Tax new plastic is the cheapest way to reduce its environmental impact MORE (DR.I.), Tina smithTina Flint SmithOvernight Energy & Environment – Biden to restore national monuments canceled by Trump Markey: Senate must pass reconciliation package ahead of world climate summit Senate Democrats seek information from PSPCs, handing over in question the “misaligned incentives” MORE (D-Minn.), Michel BennetMichael Farrand BennetBiden Signs Bill to Help Victims of ‘Havana Syndrome’ Colorado Remapping Plan Creates New Competitive District Overnight Energy & Environment – Presented by American Petroleum Institute – PennEast Abandons Pipeline Plans Despite the victory of the Supreme Court MORE (D-Col.), Elizabeth warrenElizabeth WarrenSenate to Avoid Debt Crisis (D-Mass.), Tammy duckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy Duckworth LIVE COVER: Senators lobby Afghanistan’s military leaders. (D-Ill.), And Tammy baldwinTammy Suzanne Baldwin The Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Facebook – Senate approaches surprise deal to raise short-term debt ceiling Defense and National Security overnight – Pentagon leaders in Congress: Do not default The Senate is on the verge of avoiding the debt crisis MORE (D-Wis.) Called the American Energy Worker Opportunity Act. The bill is to be part of the Build Back Better plan currently being debated in Congress. It would provide a minimum investment of $ 32 billion over 10 years to help laid-off workers as the country shifts to cleaner and cheaper renewable energy sources. This funding would provide replacement or supplemental wages, pension contributions and health care benefits, and provide scholarships and training for workers terminating employment at a coal mine, power plant coal, a coal transport or an oil refinery. In addition, the bill would guide scholarships for the children of displaced workers.
It’s the kind of investment Congress can make in people and communities to rebuild a middle class and allow people to stay in the communities they call home.
This must go hand in hand with efforts to develop and maintain quality jobs throughout the economy, including in the clean energy sectors. Making clean economy jobs well paying, unionized jobs and making sure they are where jobs are lost, in communities of color and in frontline communities, is essential. If we don’t, in addition to the economic pain that would result, we will not maintain the political will to tackle climate change and we will continue to see workers and environmentalists playing against each other by corporate interests and politicians. .
It must also go hand in hand with a real and solid investment to bring our infrastructure into the 21st century, investment in clean technology manufacturing, strict job quality standards and an increase in workers’ rights and power, as well as other policies aimed at creating good jobs. These are the kinds of investments included in the Build Back Better plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Both are necessary and urgent.
As coal-fired power plants, coal mines and oil refineries close across the country, Congress has a responsibility to ensure that the burden of meeting emission reduction targets does not fall disproportionately. about the communities that have helped keep the lights on for generations. President Joe bidenJoe BidenMcConnell promises GOP won’t help raise debt ceiling in December after Schumer Ilhan Omar’s ‘tantrum’ at Biden: ‘Keep your promise to cancel student debt’ vaccine for children MORE said we must fulfill “our obligation to the workers and communities that have fueled our industrial revolution and decades of economic growth.”
We agree. And now Congress has the opportunity to deliver on that promise and build back better by investing in the workers and communities who need it most. They can start by making sure the American Energy Worker Opportunity Act is part of the budget that will build back better.
Jason Walsh is Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance.