Congress aims to strengthen America’s renewable energy supply chain

Congresswoman Cori Bush, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Congressman Jason Crow introduced the Energy Security and Independence Act, a historic effort to strengthen America’s renewable energy supply chain through the Defense Production Act and invest in programs to lower utility prices. 

“The days of energy security being synonymous with a reliance on human rights violators like Russia and Saudi Arabia, or a propagation of corporate profits for Exxon, Chevron, and BP, are over,” said Bush, a registered nurse, pastor, and Black Lives Matter activist who represents Missouri’s 1st congressional district. “When we talk about energy security, it’s time we include the safety of Black and brown lives in that definition. Energy security means making energy affordable for every household. Energy security means investing in energy efficiency so people can breathe clean air and keep the heat or air conditioning on. Energy security means alleviating the climate crisis by reducing our emissions and transitioning to renewable energy.” 

“When it comes to the existential threat of climate change, we are in the midst of a global struggle with nothing less than the future of the planet at stake,” said Sanders, the two-time presidential candidate who reinvigorated the Democratic Party’s New Deal coalition.

“Today, with rising prices on essential items and Russia’s horrific war in Ukraine, it is clear now more than ever: Addressing climate change and energy dependence is not just an environmental issue, it is a matter of national security,” said Sanders.

“Not only would this legislation help us combat climate change and strengthen energy security and independence in the U.S., but it will help working families save money on their utility bills, create good, union jobs, and take on the greed of oligarchs both here and abroad,” said Sanders. “Now is the time to think and act boldly in order to leave a more peaceful and habitable world for our children and grandchildren.”

“As the climate crisis worsens and oil prices skyrocket from Putin’s war, we must accelerate our transition to clean energy,” said Crow, a former Army Ranger who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Crow called the Energy Security and Independence Act “commonsense legislation that will help meet the moment on our climate goals and bolster our national security.”

Today, as oil and gas prices worldwide continue to surge following Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine, the dangers of America’s reliance on fossil fuels are more clear than ever. Indeed, Russia’s invasion has not resulted in a loss of oil supply to the market.

Rather, it led to a rise in oil prices for Americans at the pump, laying bare our extreme reliance on foreign oil and glaring vulnerability in this moment of international unrest. 

For far too long, generations of Black, brown, and Indigenous communities have shouldered the economic and health costs of our relentless reliance on fossil fuels.

“Natural” gas has exposed 1 million Black Americans to cancer-causing carcinogens and has been responsible for thousands of days of school missed by Black children.

Climate change’s worst impacts, including flooding, wildfires, and extreme heat, are more likely to affect frontline low-income communities left with nowhere else to live. 

To avoid further energy insecurity and end our support of the world’s human rights violators, the Energy Security and Independence Act will refocus America’s energy sources on renewable energy development by invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to scale our transition to zero-emission industries. 

In doing so, these public investments will create high-quality new jobs in sustainable manufacturing. Additionally, those same investments will create good-paying, safe jobs, and reduce legacy pollution levels across the country. 

Specifically, the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2022 will: 

  • Fund the Defense Production Act (DPA) for use by the Biden administration to build renewable energy to scale in the United States to lower prices and reduce our reliance on dangerous and unpredictable fossil fuels;
  • Invest in the renewable energy supply chain in the US to support reliable, affordable and safe energy production and green jobs with strong labor standards;
  • Invest billions in energy efficiency to lower utility prices including investments in weatherization and heat pumps.

“In order to have a livable future where all of us thrive, the United States must take decisive action to protect against climate crises by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Pam Campos-Palma, Director of Peace & Security at the Working Families Party. “Congresswoman Bush, Senator Sanders, President Biden, and working-class people everywhere know the United States has the power to lower energy prices now and invest in healthier, more sustainable forms of renewable energy. Reducing our hyper-reliance on fossil fuels is vital to putting an end to deadly forms of international competition. This legislation will save lives and livelihood here at home and across the world. Working families, our nation, and our planet cannot wait.”

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine makes crystal clear that true energy security means powering the United States with 100% renewable energy and not an ounce of dangerous fossil fuels,” said Jean Su, Energy Justice Director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Congress should move urgently to pass Rep. Bush’s bill and super-charge the climate transition. No household should suffer the disconnections and energy price swings that are the hallmarks of fossil-fuel utilities. This is Biden’s golden opportunity to end the fossil fuel era once and for all.”

“Putin’s abhorrent actions in Ukraine and the ever-worsening climate crisis have the same root cause – the power of the fossil fuel industry and our dependence on its products,” said Johanna Bozuwa, Executive Director of the Climate and Community Project. “We need a swift transformation towards an energy system based on renewable energy, justice, and resilience. Representative Cori Bush’s Energy Security and Independence Act rejects fossil fuels as patriotism or pragmatism and instead charts a better path.”

“We are in a historic moment that has further exposed the danger of our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Lauren Maunus, Sunrise Movement Advocacy Director. “We are at a crossroads on energy, and the US must follow the lead of Representative Cori Bush and her Energy Security and Independence Act to transition our economy to renewable energy, end our reliance on authoritarian petrostates, stop the climate crisis and environmental racism, and create millions of good, union jobs. Now more than ever, we need a Green New Deal, and this bill would be a significant step towards making that a reality.”

A full text of the bill can be found here.

A one-pager on the bill can be found here.  

The bi-cameral legislation is endorsed by over 80 groups and organizations, including: 198 methods, 350 Triangle, 350 Ventura County Climate Hub, American Sustainable Business Network, Association of Young Americans, Beyond Extreme Energy, Bold Alliance, Canton Residents for a Sustainable Equitable Future, Center for Biological Diversity, Christians For The Mountains, Climate Hawks Vote, CodePink, Common Defense, Conejo Climate Coalition, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Knoxville TN chapter, Earth Ethics, Inc., Earth Guardians Bay Area, Earth Works, Economic Policy Institute, Electrify Now, Extinction Rebellion San Francisco Bay Area, Farmworker Association of Florida, Food & Water Watch, Foreign Policy for America, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Gen-Z for Change, Giniw Collective, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Green New Deal Network, Green Workers Alliance, GreenFaith, GreenLatinos, Greenpeace USA, Greenvest, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, Harrington Investments, Inc., Heartwood, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indivisible, Jewish Climate Action network, Labor Network for Sustainability, League of Conservation Voters, Long Beach Alliance for Clean Energy, Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network (MUUSAN), Methane Action, Michigan United, Mothers Out Front, New Energy Economy, North Quabbin Energy, Ocean Conservation Research, Oil and Gas Action Network, Oil Change International, Our Climate, Our Revolution, Palms To Pines Democratic Network, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Arizona Chapter, Progressive Democrats of America, Public Citizen, Récolte Energy, Rewiring America, Santa Cruz Climate Action Network, Saphron Initiative, Save Our Illinois Land, Sequoia ForestKeeper, Sierra Club, Social Eco Education (SEE), Solarize Abany, Stand.earth, Sunrise Movement, Terra Advocati, The Climate and Community Project, The Democracy Collaborative, The Enviro Show, The Shalom Center, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI), Unitarian Universalist Association, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, Vote Climate, Waterway Advocates, Win Without War, Working Families Party, and Zero Hour, among others. 

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