Maine’s Lobster industry was hit hard by COVID-19 basically canceling the tourist season after never recovering from the trade war with China President Trump started. Now they are hoping for some federal relief, but if it’s just loans it won’t be enough. Photo of Belfast lobster workers  in Maine – Ramona du Houx

By Ramona du Houx

July 22, 2020

With COVID-19 growing exponentially in the majority of American states, there have been renewed economic stimulus talks from local municipalities on up to Congress. While plans are being forged and reworked one group, The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), had already seen the writing on the wall and at the end of spring addressed the situation with their collation.

At the end of May, ASBC announced a comprehensive series of innovative policy recommendations for states and localities to address the impacts of COVID-19 while building more resilient and equitable economies.

“We cannot simply go back to what was,” said David Levine, ASBC President. “These policy recommendations will help us reopen in a safe and sound way, while also allowing us to build forward, to make our communities and states more resilient and sustainable.”

The ASBC announcement happened during a webinar. More than 400 business leaders from across the nation registered for event to discuss the organization’s blueprint of policies designed for immediate implementation. Their focus: to provide a social, environmental just and economically sound stimulus for now and to last into the future.

“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the need to reframe our economic development practices,” noted Derek Peebles, Executive Director of the American Independent Business Alliance and member of ASBC’s working group. “A new model of ‘business retention’ services will be required to make local business in the post-pandemic stage more resilient.”

Some participants saw the times in which we are living as a turning point in our history. One that officers a unique opportunity to grow America with a sustainable economy that works for everyone.

“Now is the moment for all of us in the public arena to work in common cause,” said Oregon State Representative/ Major Paul L. Evans USAF (Ret.) Paul Evans, co-chair of Elected Officials to Protect America  “Together we can refresh the American Dream and rebuild, revitalize, and restructure our economy in a manner that puts people before profit, that rewards work rather than wealth; an inclusive, sustainable economy worthy of our ideals.”


The ASBC blueprint addresses issues ranging from economic development and expanding broadband access to mobility and clean water, with recommendations that provide short- and long-term solutions to address inequalities and challenges exposed and exacerbated by the current crisis.

“Many of our recommendations offer literally trillions of dollars of stimulus at almost no cost. For example, just changing the rules on public procurement, to account for the tax benefits from local bidders, could help revitalize Main Streets across America,” said Michael Shuman, an expert in local economic development working in collaboration with ASBC.

More and more groups see the necessity for Congress to adopt a national stimulus plan aimed at building back the economy on the basis of clean energy. There is precedent. President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 proved to be the stimulus plan needed to end the Great Recession. The ARRA package included $90 billion in clean energy investments and tax incentives.

A coalition of elected officials from across America, the Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA), has been urging Congress to enact a clean energy stimulus that will create millions of jobs while combating climate change and reclaiming our position as global leader. EOPA’s recommendation is to use the ARRA as a starting point, in order to ensure America runs on 100 percent clean energy. Many of the  policy recommendations proposed in the recent Congressional Report, Solving the Climate Crisis, that build a clean energy economy which values workers, righting the wrongs of environmental justice, EOPA says should also be used.

“We can’t miss this opportunity to build a more sustainable inclusive economy, which will be as resilient as it will be equitable,”  said New York Assistant Speaker Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, EOPA Council Member. “Congress must take action with a clean energy stimulus for the future of our nation, and the world. If the people of New York State could come together in common purpose to fight COVID-19 – Congress can surely unite for America.”


Learn more about the ASBC Blueprint for a Post-COVID Economy and view the webinar here.

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is the leading business organization serving the public policy interests of responsible companies, their customers and other stakeholders. Founded in 2009, ASBC’s membership represents over 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries. ASBC advocates for policy change and informs business owners, policymakers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, broadly prosperous, sustainable economy.