According to the Environmental Defense Fund, roughly 2.2 million Americans currently work in the clean-energy sector. (Adobe Stock)

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By Jonah Chester

July 7, 2022   

A coalition of elected officials from Virginia has joined a group of more than 565 elected leaders asking the federal government to accelerate the nation’s clean-energy transition.

The stalled Build Back Better act included several climate provisions advocates say would have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

In a conversation hosted by the group Elected Officials to Protect America, Loudoun County Supervisor Mike Turner, veteran, said federal funding would provide critical support for his county to implement new clean-energy initiatives.

“The portions of the Build Back Better act that address this would be absolutely instrumental,” said Turner, “$500 billion directed towards climate-change initiatives.”

There hasn’t been any substantial movement on the more than $2 trillion Build Back Better package since December.

The Washington Post reports congressional Democrats are attempting to get the ball rolling on the framework again, with hopes that its economic-stimulus measures will help combat rising inflation.

Republicans have opposed the measure, citing its upfront and recurring costs.

Dumfries Mayor Derrick Wood has said his community hopes to replace old fossil-fuel infrastructure with solar-energy panels.

An analysis by the Solar Energy Industries Association finds Build Back Better would triple the nation’s cumulative solar capacity.

As a veteran, Wood said he feels a calling to protect his community from climate change.

“As veterans, we all made the pledge to protect our country against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” said Wood. “And I believe that the environmental crisis and what we’re seeing is one of those enemies that’s both foreign and domestic.”

Kevin Johnson – who’s also a veteran and is the co-founder of the Clean Energy Freedom campaign – said Build Back Better would directly benefit veterans.

The federal government reports roughly 9% of workers in the solar and wind sectors are former military.

“And if we can get our Congress and our Senate to move forward on this Build Back Better bill,” said Johnson, “it would unlock a tremendous amount of economic opportunity, for veterans and across our country.”

Passing Build Back Better through Congress would require the support of all 50 Democrats in the evenly-split Senate.

That means wooing the key swing votes of moderate Sen. Joe Manchin – D-WV, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema – D-AZ.


The Build Back Better Framework the White House 2022
U.S. Solar Market Insight the Solar Energy Industries Association 6/7/22
Wages, Benefits, and Change: A Supplemental Report to the Annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report USENERGYJOBS.ORG 2022