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Biden Boosts Clean Energy, Transportation

With a speech last Wednesday in Pittsburgh, President Biden announced his American Jobs Plan to Build Back Better than ever. The biggest climate action and clean energy package ever, it would direct massive new infrastructure investment into cleaning up energy production, consumption, and transportation across the country.

The Washington Post says the plan “would turbocharge the country’s transition from fossil fuels, using the muscle and vast resources of the federal government to intervene in electricity markets, speed the growth of solar and wind energy, and foster technological breakthroughs in clean power.”

The article describes as the “lynchpin” of the plan a proposal to create a national clean energy standard requiring utilities to include a minimum amount of solar, wind, and other renewable energy in their electricity production. Other parts of the plan would overhaul and modernize the national electric transmission grid, including specific investment in gathering and distributing vastly increased wind energy, which the president had already announced further support for earlier in the week.

Transportation components of the plan would replace city and school buses with electric models, provide direct rebates for electric car purchases and home charging ports, and create a nationwide network of fast public electric vehicle charging stations. In addition, the plan would expand and modernize both freight and passenger rail, with Amtrak receiving $80 billion. North Carolina specifically stands to benefit from this investment, as Amtrak quickly released a national map showing new routes connecting Raleigh to Richmond, Charlotte to Greenville (SC), and Asheville to Wilmington with points between.

New investments in environmental health and justice would include a program to eliminate all remaining lead piping in the nation’s drinking water distribution systems, and building or retrofitting two million energy-efficient homes, schools, and other buildings. Last year, NowThis News highlighted the weatherization job training program our Foundation’s PowerUp NC program in Winston-Salem conducted

“Today is a great day for jobs, justice, and climate action,” said national League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski. “Investments in clean energy deployment and expanded domestic manufacturing to achieve 100% clean power by 2035 are central to the American Jobs Plan and must create new, good-paying union jobs here in the U.S. Additionally, the American Jobs Plan’s Justice40 commitment to ensure that 40 percent of all investment benefits are directed to frontline communities and communities of color are a critical component of ensuring our nation’s recovery rebuilds a more equitable society. We are also encouraged to see the president’s large-scale commitment to electric vehicle infrastructure, including a solid start with a ‘Clean Buses for Kids Program’ at the EPA — our children, especially in low-income communities and communities of color who are exposed to the most air pollution, have a basic right to breathe healthy, clean air and deserve prioritization. And the president’s front and center commitment to providing clean, safe, affordable water to everyone, no matter their zip code, race, or income, is critical to creating healthy and thriving communities.”

Dan Crawford, our Director of Governmental Relations, said, “North Carolinians love traveling the Good Roads State from the Outer Banks to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and President Biden’s Build Back Better plan will make it easier for us to explore our beautiful state in electric cars we can charge easily. 70% of Americans support the president’s plan, which will make it cleaner and less expensive to power our homes, businesses, and cars, so we can invest more money in our families. … With the second-highest installed solar capacity in the country, the clean energy industry is already one of the fastest-growing industries in North Carolina, and this plan will supercharge it, making its jobs and products accessible to more people. This is about building a long-term, sustainable climate and economy, and a healthy quality of life, particularly for low-wealth communities and North Carolinians of color, who are most hurt by pollution and the intersecting COVID, economic, and climate crises.”

Now this plan has to be made into law. That means Congress needs to hear from you. Click here to send your senators and representative a message: “Support the president’s climate recovery plan!”

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