Heinrich, Tonko Lead Call For Inclusion Of Clean Energy Workforce Support In COVID-19 Economic Packages


WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) are urging congressional leaders to prioritize a clean energy recovery plan in upcoming economic relief and recovery packages to deal with the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Sen. Heinrich and Rep. Tonko led a bicameral letter signed by 57 members calling on Congress to take action to support the clean energy industry to both address the climate crisis and revitalize the American job market and economy.

The lawmakers’ call for urgency comes as nearly 600,000 clean energy workers have experienced unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Closures due to COVID-19 have led to clean energy sector manufacturing reductions, supply chain issues, decreased installation of renewable energy, and decreased energy efficiency work. A report estimates almost 850,000 job losses may occur by the end of the Second Quarter of 2020 if no actions are taken to support the workforce and industry.

“As Congress works to help the American economy recover, we must ensure robust investments are made to spur growth in renewable energy, energy storage, energy efficiency, clean vehicles, clean and efficient infrastructure, clean fuels, and workforce development,” the lawmakers wrote. “These investments should both spur national growth and include funding opportunities for community-level adoption. Smart investments in these areas can help America decarbonize, put people back to work, and help our national, state, and local economies recover.”

In an effort to spur production and save money for consumers, the bicameral group of members is also calling for an extension of and increased flexibility for clean energy tax incentives. Senator Heinrich has long advocated for clean energy tax incentives as an effective way to support the growth of clean energy and clean energy technologies and reduce carbon emissions.

The lawmakers continued, “The myriad devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are staggering, and further compounded by a potentially prolonged economic downturn. In the midst of urgent action to staunch these losses and rebuild, it can be difficult to also focus on our country’s long-term needs. However, the impending climate crisis poses an existential threat to America and to the world and is expected to increasingly impact many of the same communities that have been most vulnerable during the pandemic. We must work to recreate an economy that is stronger, cleaner, and more inclusive. The clean energy workforce and sector are a key component of that effort, and must be included in recovery planning.”

In the Senate, Senator Heinrich led the letter also signed by U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

In the House, Representative Tonko led the letter also signed by U.S. Representatives Nannette Barragán (D-Calif.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.), Sean Casten (D-Ill.), Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Annie Kuster (D-N.H.), Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Doris Matsui (Calif.), Donald McEachin (D-Va.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Chellie Pingree (D-Minn.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.), David Price (D-N.C.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Darren Soto (D-Florida), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Read the full text of the letter here.



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