ANNAPOLIS, Md.– The Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV) sponsored a virtual town hall meeting on July 13, where speakers like House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer[D-Md.] answered questions about the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better Plan, and how it will advocate clean energy, “environmental justice” and jobs in Maryland.
This virtual town hall had Hoyer and Executive Director of Maryland LCV Kim Coble explain the importance of this plan and how this historic investment could address persistent racial injustice, rural communities, clean water, frontline communities and more.
“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity for the country to make investments into climate change, creating clean energy jobs and prioritizing justice,” Coble said. “This plan will help put this country on a path to 100% renewable energy. It’s going to create the new civilian climate corps, and it has a new provision called justice for 40, meaning the plan targets 40% of the benefits from the investments to disadvantaged communities.”
According to recent polling, 83% of Maryland voters support the American Jobs Plan and hope that Congress will take action regarding climate change. However, Congress had to focus on taming the pandemic before making moves.
“We knew we needed to step in immediately for the short-term challenges confronting our families, our people and the globe,” Hoyer said. “President Biden’s American Jobs Plan is about building back better and stronger so that working families and small businesses can get ahead through access to opportunity.”
Hoyer mentioned the jobs plan addresses the climate crisis by making tremendous investments. Last year, there was an uptick in natural disasters caused by climate change, which cost the government about $1 billion per disaster and a cumulative $100 billion.
“The jobs plan makes transformational investments in infrastructure and helping communities to respond to climate change,” Hoyer said. “We know the ultimate price if we do not address effectively, climate change and global warming will be in the trillions of dollars but even more in the lives of people.”
Dan Taylor, from the Blue-Green Alliance, a nationwide coalition of labor unions and environmental groups, was concerned about making sure Congress passes a package that includes labor standards and domestic content provisions. Hoyer responded by saying that workers can hold their bosses accountable for labor standards by utilizing their unions.
“The president made it very clear that when he was talking about jobs, he wasn’t talking about jobs in generality,” Hoyer said. “It was jobs available that were labor jobs where organized workers may get together to bargain collectively because we know we created a large middle class in our country. We want workers to have the ability to organize and bargain collectively.”
Hoyer explained that if Congress passes the two bills in the Build Back Better agenda, the government will commit trillions of dollars to these bills. Currently, the Biden Administration is looking to garner more Republican approval on these bills before they can be passed.
In the meantime, both the Maryland LCV and Hoyer advocate for everyone to stay informed and have their voices heard.