Elected Officials to Protect America see Jobs Act as critical move for National Security during climate crisis April 20, 2021 By Ramona du Houx Over the weekend U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and China’s envoy for climate change, Xie Zhenhua made an important climate change announcement in a joint statement. “The United States and China are committed to cooperating with […]
Elected Officials to Protect America see Jobs Act as critical move for National Security during climate crisis
April 20, 2021
By Ramona du Houx
Over the weekend U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and China’s envoy for climate change, Xie Zhenhua made an important climate change announcement in a joint statement. “The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” read the statement. The news is a welcome kickoff for the Earth Day Global Summit at the White House.
During Earth Day week, Elected Officials to Protect America, a group of elected officials dedicated to protecting the earth from the devastations of climate change, spoke out about how the American Jobs Plan is vital to abate the climate crisis, and helps to reestablish U.S. credibility as a climate change leader. President Biden has set a course for massive economic growth by reestablishing clean energy, job creation, and climate action as an economic priority.
“On Earth Day the Climate Summit confirms to the world that America is serious about the climate crisis and committed partnerships. As the world’s largest carbon emitter, the announcement that China is willing to come to the table is an important step to working together for the future of the planet. Tackling the climate crisis can unite the world and focus leaders on a common peaceful mission,”said Alex Cornell du Houx, President of Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA), former State Representative (ME), and former Marine combat Veteran. “The American Jobs Plan will lead to transformational progress in our country’s efforts to abate the climate crisis by growing jobs and investing in home grown ingenuity.”
The Plan calls for a $35 billion investment in clean technology research and development, including the launching of a new incubator for cutting edge research.
America’s crumbling infrastructure contributes to why transportation, as a whole, is the leading source of carbon pollution in the United States. Updating America’s infrastructure with theAmerican Jobs Planwill jumpstart efforts to address the climate crisis, while creating millions of good paying union jobs.
President Biden’s proposal includes at least $650 billion in spending over 10 years on a U.S. clean energy transition. The wide-ranging American Jobs Plan invests in advancing clean energy production by extending and expanding tax credits for clean energy generation, carbon capture and sequestration, and clean energy manufacturing.
Top economists agree that clean energy is a smart investment in our long-term growth that will make U.S. companies more productive and competitive and add trillions of dollars to our economy.
The Plan is first and foremost will create jobs and allocates 40 percent of all investments to address environmental injustice. The largest single climate-related provision in the Plan is $213 billion to build, modernize and weatherize affordable housing, which merges Biden’s climate and economic justice goals.
Biden is calling on Congress to develop a new competitive grant program that would give state and local governments incentives to eliminate discriminating zoning policies that have made near impossible for many families to find affordable housing.
“Advancing equity and equality is essential to protect the environment and fight climate change. Reversing discriminating zone policies will finally unlock the door to the American Dream so many have been denied access,” said Former New York Assistant Assemblyman Speaker Félix W. Ortiz, EOPA National Leadership Council Member, Army Veteran (Ret). “The acceleration to clean energy will not only help us grow jobs as we emerge from the pandemic, it will help transition us to a clean energy economy which protects public health and creates new opportunities.”
The American Jobs Plan will dedicate billions to rebuilding infrastructure, put hundreds of thousands of people to work building roads and railways, fixing bridges, building 500,000 EV charging stations and improving the public transit that supports the economy. There would be federal funding for converting school buses to electric vehicles, and consumer incentives for EVs.
A $10 billion investment would be made in a new Civilian Climate Corps.In addition to conservation of public lands and waters projects, which was the focus of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s CCC, Biden’s Corps would be deployed on projects to bolster community resilience and advance environmental justice.
“From a Conservation Corps, to electric school busses the American Jobs Plan covers services and needs that have been overlooked for too long. I’m heartened as a mother and a school teacher, knowing my students won’t have to deal with tailpipe pollution as they board or disembark from their busses,”said New Mexico State Representative Debbie Maria Sariñana, EOPA Co-Chair and Air Force veteran. “As a veteran, we need the American Jobs Plan to bring key manufacturing sectors back to America. Relying on too many components made overseas, puts our national security at risk.”
$16 billion would be spent employing union oil and gas workers to cap abandoned oil and gas wells and clean up mines, not only helping address unemployment in fossil fuel communities, but addressing emissions of the climate super-pollutant methane from the orphaned facilities.
“Plugging these wells is critical for the safety and health of communities. Our people are suffering needlessly because of these orphaned wells getting sick and dying prematurely,” said Ventura County Supervisor Carmen Ramirez Esq., Elected Officials to Protect America – California Leadership Council member. “I’m hopeful because the President recognizes not only the problem but how to grow out of it by employing thousands of former oil industry workers who can plug the wells. In California, they’ll have work for a very long time.”
The American Jobs Plan aims to protect communities from billions of dollars of damage from super storms, floods, wildfires, and droughts by making our grid infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, clean energy infrastructure and farmlands more secure and resilient. Communities of color and low-income communities are often the hardest hit by extreme weather events and grid outages.
The proposal includes $100 billion for power grid modernization and resilience to stave off catastrophic outages like the one that was blamed for 70 deaths in Texas or the blackouts in California during the fire and extreme heat last summer. A new Grid Deployment Authority, will make scientific based decisions on how to better use the existing rights-of-ways along roads and railways to site new high-voltage transmission lines. The system would be upgraded to handle and transport wind and solar energy.
“Our gird was built during the Eisenhower administration. It’s been in need of an overhaul for decades. With new renewables and EVs poised to plug into the grid the capacity needs to be there,” said Oregon State Representative Major Paul L. Evans USAF (Ret.), EOPA Co-Chair. “I’m particularly excited that we’re going to obtain the raw materials for battery technologies in the U.S., thereby ending our reliance on outsourcing for a strategic need that needlessly put our national security at-risk.”
To pay for the America Jobs Plan (AJP) the president proposed different levers. First, he’d return the corporate tax rate back to 21 percent, the percentage it was at before former President Trump lowered it. Second, big global corporations like Amazon and 90 others will finally pay a tax rate of 21 percent. Now, through loopholes, in essence they aren’t paying U.S. taxes. Both measures would cover the costs of the AJP over fifteen years. He will also eliminate deductions by corporations for offshoring jobs and shifting assets overseas to use those savings to give companies tax credits to locate manufacturing here.
There is strong support for a plan to pay for these infrastructure investments by asking the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share. A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll found that by more than a 2-to-1 margin, voters say they would be more likely to support an infrastructure plan paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy and big business. The approach was supported by 47 percent of voters in the survey, and opposed by only 21 percent.
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