WASHINGTON — Today, President Biden announced that he is invoking the Defense Production Act to accelerate domestic production of clean energy technology, including solar panels, heat pumps, and building insulation. This is an important step toward tackling climate change, and it must be paired with other key legislation to ensure a just transition to clean energy.
Common Defense Climate Justice Director Perry O’Brien released the following statement:
“From record heat waves to raging wildfires to historic droughts, it’s more clear than ever that we must rapidly transition away from fossil fuels and secure a clean energy future in order to protect our communities. As veterans who have seen firsthand the consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels, we salute the Biden administration for this patriotic investment to make the U.S. a clean energy leader. Not only does this announcement bring us closer to our emission reduction targets but it also creates much-needed energy security for the U.S. and the world, reducing the ability of dictators like Putin who use fossil fuels as a weapon.
“Additionally, this investment moves us closer to an economy fueled by homegrown clean energy, which in turn translates to more good jobs for veterans. This is especially important in states like West Virginia where the veteran poverty rate is one of the highest in the nation and where there is a plethora of opportunities to transition to renewable energy.
“While we applaud President Biden’s announcement, we also must take additional action in order to ensure this transition is just and occurs as quickly as needed. Our current energy system has exploitation and injustice baked in, so as we make this transition, we also have a massive opportunity and responsibility to shape the system into one that is just, equitable and sustainable across the supply chain. This means Congress must pass legislation like the Clean Energy Mineral Reform Act to set clear environmental and reclamation standards around mining, a critical part of ramping up clean energy manufacturing. We also call on Congress to pass a reconciliation bill complete with tax incentives, training programs and other clean energy investments.
“Without these additional steps, we will only be acting on part of the problem. We must pair investments in manufacturing with regulations and training programs all while centering frontline communities–because a clean energy future isn’t complete unless all people have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, good jobs to work and safe communities to live in.”