RELEASE: Report Outlines a Road Map From States on Creating Good Union Jobs To Build the Clean Energy Economy
Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress, League of Conservation Voters, and BlueGreen Alliance analyzes the lessons that the federal government can learn from state, local, and tribal governments to create millions of good union jobs and build a clean energy-driven economic recovery.
As Congress and the Biden administration negotiate the details of the president’s proposed American Jobs Plan, this year marks the biggest opportunity in a generation to create good-paying union jobs, confront environmental injustice, and prevent the worst impacts of climate change. From tax incentives to apprenticeship programs to investing in green schools, state and local officials, environmental leaders, and industry have created a road map for much-needed federal action. The report provides an illustrative overview of how state and local progress can inform federal action in 2021 and features several case studies including:
- Washington state’s Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), which tied labor standards to tax incentives for renewable energy development. The clean electricity standard in the legislation promotes good jobs by incentivizing utilities to invest in clean energy projects to achieve 80 percent clean electricity generation by 2030 and by conditioning related business tax incentives on high-road labor standards and practices, such as apprenticeship utilization, prevailing wage, local hire, and the use of community benefit agreements. To date, Washington’s CETA has resulted in new major renewables projects such as the Rattlesnake Flats wind farm developed by Clearway Energy.
- California’s Buy Clean law, which requires state agencies to consider as part of their procurement processes the carbon pollution embedded in industrial products—such as steel and glass—using a portion of the state’s $10 billion annual public infrastructure investment to incentivize low-carbon manufacturing. Similar legislation has also been introduced in a number of other states.
- The Integrated Water Management plan in Miami Beach, Florida, which builds a blue-green storm water infrastructure that supports water quality improvement, groundwater recharge and replenishment, and flood mitigation. The program uses an integrated approach to project implementation to maximize community benefit, including local jobs and training support
- Actions in California, Vermont, Washington, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia to phase out hydrofluorocarbons. Transitioning toward hydrofluorocarbon alternatives could create as many as 33,000 new regional manufacturing jobs and add approximately $12.5 billion per year to the U.S. economy, according to testimony from the U.S. Climate Alliance.
“States and local governments have been making progress creating good-paying union jobs to build the clean economy,” said Sam Ricketts, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “And that progress is laying important groundwork for federal lawmakers to follow. This summer, Congress and the Biden administration should build on state leadership and seize the moment with transformational investments to create millions of good-paying union jobs building climate, clean energy and environmental justice solutions.”
“To tackle the climate crisis and build a new, clean energy economy, we need high-quality, union jobs,” said Sara Chieffo, vice president of Government Affairs for the League of Conservation Voters. “A strong economy means we take care of the people in it. We need union jobs that support a family and provide retirement security. We also need to invest in clean energy to keep our communities and environment healthy. Many states have already laid a blueprint for Congress to follow in creating good union jobs that build a clean energy future. It is time to make this a national reality.”
“Jobs in the clean economy should be good, union jobs, and that will not happen organically—we have to put the policies in place to make it happen,” said Jason Walsh, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “As this report shows, states around the country are moving forward to build a safe, clean, and thriving economy. We need President Biden and Congress to do the same at the federal level.”