Saturday, April 3, 2021

Reimagine Appalachia Applauds President Biden’s Proposed Infrastructure Plan

On March 31, President Biden came to Pittsburgh to announce his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan he called a once-in-a-generation investment in America.  Republicans up and down the ticket called it a “Trojan horse” for tax hikes. 
Read more here.

The plan would invest in roads, bridges, highways, public transit, Amtrak, and replace lead water pipes and upgrade sewers.  Read more here.

Of particular interest to Pennsylvania, the proposal would invest $16 billion in cleaning up pollution from abandoned mine lands and plug oil and gas wells.  Read more here.

The package would also address climate change issues by setting a clean electricity standard to phase out fossil fuels to zero over the grid in the next 15 years; encourage the transition to electric cars, school buses and trucks; modernize the electric grid to better use renewable energy and help harden facilities against increasing frequent adverse weather; fund clean energy research and development.   Read more here.

ReImagine Appalachia

ReImagine Appalachia, a broad coalition of organizations dedicated to bringing about a 21st Century economy that works for all Appalachians, applauded the President’s proposal as well as his decision to recognize the past and future importance of Appalachia to the American economy by choosing to launch the American Jobs Plan from Pittsburgh.

Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center in Pennsylvania and a co-chair of ReImagine Appalachia, said the following in response to President Biden’s visit: “The President’s decision to launch the American Jobs Plan in Pittsburgh shows that he has heard what we have been saying for years. The workers and industries of Appalachia have powered this country for over a century, too often without fair reward. Public investment in a 21st Century economy should make our region a priority.”

“We’re encouraged to see that President Biden shares our view that ‘this is the moment to reimagine and rebuild a new economy,’ and that his American Jobs Plan contains so many of the priorities laid out in the ReImagine Appalachia Blueprint,” said Amanda Woodrum, Senior Analyst for Policy Matters Ohio and co-chair of ReImagine Appalachia. “From expanding broadband access, modernizing the grid, growing clean, efficient manufacturing, and ensuring that the jobs created are unionized or open to unionization, we want to work to make sure the policies in this plan become a reality.”

Kelly Allen, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center for Budget & Policy said, “President Biden’s plan to put people to work reclaiming abandoned mine lands, ensuring clean water, and building the industries of the future will bring about one of the biggest economic booms in West Virginia’s history and create quality, good-paying jobs for the West Virginians who’ve been most impacted by the decline of the coal industry.”

The American Jobs Plan is a significant marker in the debate over how to invest in an economic future that will bring prosperity for all Appalachians. 

ReImagine Appalachia will continue to work with federal officials in Congress and with the Biden Administration to ensure that our policy priorities for growing Appalachian industries are included in the infrastructure package that passes Congress later this year. 

Those priorities include promoting unionization and family-wage jobs, creating economic opportunity for everyone, including coal miners and coal plant workers, as well as centering a focus on Black Appalachians and other people of color.

ReImagine Appalachia Blueprint

In July of 2020, a broad and diverse coalition of thought leaders and organizations from West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Ohio released a Reimagine Appalachia blueprint to expand economic opportunity in the region while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The blueprint outlines a vision for vibrant Appalachian communities where everyone is paid enough to support themselves and their family, where future generations can put down roots, where they have clean air to breathe and water to drink, whether they are white, Black, Brown or Indigenous.

The plan is built on three pillars:

-- Expanding opportunity through public investments: This blueprint calls on policymakers to maximize good union jobs, ensure access to union jobs for Black, Indigenous, women and low-wage workers, and ensure the community benefits from federal investments via public input and community oversight.

-- Building a 21st century sustainable economy: In addition, the blueprint demands officials to restore our damaged lands and waters, build a sustainable transportation system and create new jobs for transit workers, revive the Civilian Conservation Corps, modernize the electric grid, and grow manufacturing by making it cleaner and more efficient while also making Appalachia a hub for electric vehicle production and alternatives to single-use plastic.

-- Making sure all working people share in prosperity the blueprint advocates for union rights, better pay, benefits and local ownership models for working people across all industries in the region.

Click Here to read more.

For more information, visit the ReImagine Appalachia website.


AP: Biden Announces Huge Infrastructure Plan To ‘Win The Future’

TribLive: Biden Unveils $2 Trillion American Jobs Plan In Pittsburgh Stop

PG: ‘We Have To Move Now’ Biden Details His $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

Cap-Star: Biden Unveils $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan: ‘A Once In A Generation Investment’

VOX: Biden’s $2 Trillion Infrastructure And Jobs Plan Explained

NPR: Here’s What’s In Biden’s $2 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal

White House: The American Jobs Plan Fact Sheet

PG: Congress Faces A Tough Construction Project With Infrastructure Bills

Gov. Wolf: Praises Biden Administration’s Infrastructure Plan

Inquirer: PA, NJ Hoping For Billions From Biden For Roads, Bridges, Transit Lines

WHYY: Philly Could Benefit From Biden’s Infrastructure Plan

KYW: Fmr Gov. Rendell Promoting Biden’s Infrastructure Plan

TribuneD: Toomey Calls For ‘Sensible’ Approach To Infrastructure Funding

Reid Frazier: Biden’s Climate-Focused Infrastructure Plan Geared To Curb U.S. Carbon Emissions

TribLive Editorial: Sensible Infrastructure Investment Can Bring Nation Together

PG Editorial: The Way Forward From The Inside Out: Infrastructure

[Posted: April 3, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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