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Photo: National Park Service, via The Washington Post
Yesterday, the outline of the Green New Deal (GND) was filled in a bit more when Senator Ed Markey, the lead GND sponsor in the Senate, released an infrastructure white paper for a “green and climate-friendly infrastructure legislative package” because “[c]limate change has amplified existing threats to America’s infrastructure.”
Markey proposes, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, that green infrastructure must: help communities adapt; clean up the energy grid and cut down on energy use; factor climate and health into transportation spending; make electric and high-efficiency vehicles affordable and available; electrify and expand mass transit ; ensure safe drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems ; build clean, healthy, and energy efficient schools; lower emissions and air pollution at airports, ports, and waterways: protect communities and the climate from natural gas disasters; and ensure a safe workplace and a livable wage.
Ironically, the President walked out on a meeting with Congressional leaders on infrastructure saying it is too expensive and not a priority as long as Congress is investigating him, just as Senator Markey put out his white paper.
Why This Matters: The more the sponsors of the GND can flesh it out the better because it is harder for these specific proposals to be categorized as socialist and outside the mainstream. Indeed, 41 Democrats are pushing climate and resiliency in an upcoming bill to maintain and expand the nation’s federal highway system — a major element of the nation’s infrastructure. And the desire to see infrastructure improvements funded has made strange bedfellows of the nation’s top union and business leaders, who penned a joint op/ed in The Washington Post Tuesday urging the President and Congress to act. The President may believe that he can walk away from an infrastructure deal with Congress, but he was the one who seemed out of touch with the public today. Just like the government shutdown, he now will have a hard time shifting the blame for inaction onto anyone else.
Today is World Environment Day. As you read this, it is clear that globally we are at a crossroads and that the inequities we see at home are also reflected across the broader planet. The pandemic has instigated a moment to re-examine our relationship with nature and the planet’s resources.
Why This Matters: Most of the world is moving ahead on this reset they see conserving nature and economic development as consistent
The Senate Democrats’ Environmental Justice Caucus laid out in a letter on Monday their vision for the next round of economic stimulus funding and the benefits in their proposal are intended to address the inequities of the virus’ impacts on the poor and minorities.
Why This Matters: These 16 Democrats are speaking up on behalf of members of low income, rural and communities of color (known as an environmental justice or frontline communities) who are especially vulnerable to the virus and don’t have access to quality health care that could vastly improve their chances of recovery.
Congress and the Trump administration are beginning to outline the Phase 4 Stimulus package, but there seems to be little mention of “clean” much less “green” provisions being included, which means there would need to be a Phase 5 package or these items will be left out completely.
Why This Matters: These items and many other similar ones that have been labeled as “green” were left out of previous bills because they were dubbed as unnecessary to battle the immediate health and economic impacts of the COVID-19.
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