As part of his plan to create a sustainable, clean-energy economy, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation today that would significantly reduce carbon pollution and help put us on a path to more than double the size of the American clean energy workforce to 10 million by 2030.
Together, the incentives in the American Clean Energy Investment Act of 2015 and The Clean Energy Worker Just Transition Act would drive over $500 billion in clean energy investments between now and 2030. The bills, both co-sponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), would create new sustainable energy jobs and allocate $41 billion to helping oil, gas and coal workers as they transition out of the fossil fuel industry. The costs for these proposals are completely offset by repealing all subsidies for fossil fuels and ending the tax breaks that encourage corporate inversions.
‘We have a moral responsibility to help working families in the fossil fuel industry to find new jobs,’ Sanders said. ‘We must act now to reenergize our manufacturing base, bolster our clean energy economy and protect the livelihoods of these workers and the communities they support.’
Coal communities have been under pressure for decades as coal-mining jobs have been lost due to more efficient mining practices, competition from cheaper natural gas and the public’s desire to move to cleaner sources of energy. The Clean Energy Worker Just Transition Act would help coal miners and other fossil fuel workers and their families by connecting displaced workers with new job opportunities through vocational education and job skills programs. The bills would also provide support so transitioning workers and their families could maintain family-level wages, health care and pensions until they are able to start new jobs.
The American Clean Energy Investment Act of 2015 would stimulate a strong sustainable economy by spurring massive new investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Through the permanent extension of important clean energy tax credits, Sanders’ legislation would cut carbon pollution, create clean energy jobs, reduce Americans’ dependence on oil and save consumers and businesses money by promoting energy efficiency.
‘Currently the United States wastes huge amounts of money providing corporate welfare to coal, oil and gas corporations that are destroying our planet. It is time for us to invest in technologies that are cutting greenhouse gas emissions and in the long run will be more cost-effective,’ Sanders said.
‘Climate change is no longer a distant theoretical contained in far-off computer models and scientific papers-it’s here, it’s real and it’s affecting all of us,’ said Merkley. ‘Carbon pollution is an urgent problem demanding bold solutions. We have the technology and the know-how to transition rapidly to a clean, renewable energy economy. At the same time as this transition creates hundreds of thousands of new jobs, we must make sure that we have the programs in place to make sure that no workers are left behind.’
‘Investing in American clean energy puts power in our homes and will make America an energy and manufacturing powerhouse for decades to come. The support we give to clean energy now through this legislation will protect our planet for generations to come, building American jobs as we continually develop the fuels that will power the future. We can spur a generation of American-built energy innovation, and help stave off the worse effects of climate change,’ said Markey.
The Solar Energy Industries Association and American Wind Energy Association have endorsed the Clean Energy Investment Act. 350.org supports both bills.
‘Senator Sanders’ legislation would provide a steady, supportive federal energy policy that keeps in place the highly successful solar investment tax credit (ITC) and we welcome his support,’ said Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Vice President of Federal Affairs Christopher Mansour. ‘The solar ITC has helped solar become one of America’s fastest-growing energy sources with more than 20 gigawatts of total installed capacity already built – enough to power nearly 4.5 million homes. Solar installations are forecast to continue to rise, adding 8 gigawatts this year.’
‘The American Wind Energy Associationdeeply appreciates Senator Sanders’ leadership in seeking long-term policy support to enable the growth of our nation’s wind energy sector. This legislation is the latest example of his attention to wind energy and his leadership in promoting policies that will generate affordable, reliable, and clean energy, and provide a future for wind energy workers and American factories. We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Sanders and his colleagues with the shared goal of delivering the benefits of wind energy to even more American families.’