FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2021
CONTACT: John Neurohr, firstname.lastname@example.org, 717-364-6452
BIPARTISAN SENATE BILL IS DOWN-PAYMENT ON OUR CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE, BUT MORE WORK NEEDS TO BE DONE
ReImagine Appalachia applauds the bipartisan infrastructure package but notes we need more investments in a reconciliation bill to make sure Appalachia gets its fair share of climate change resources
OHIO RIVER VALLEY – Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, a small piece of the larger Build Back Better package. ReImagine Appalachia commends President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, and the bipartisan group of Senators in the working group for marshalling through legislation that, once passed through the U.S. House, will make our communities healthier, create a better future for our children, and put people to work in union jobs with benefits and wages high enough to support a family.
Particularly noteworthy for the Appalachian region is $21 billion to clean up abandoned wells and mines and Superfund sites. For years, certain energy and manufacturing corporations have profited from Appalachia’s resources and labor while leaving behind toxic pollution that makes residents sick and damages the land and water. This investment will not only create a healthier environment, but it will provide good paying, union jobs for Appalachians.
The bill provides $550 billion in new federal funding for infrastructure over five years. While the amount of funding in this bill is historic, part two of the investment in infrastructure, which is expected to be passed through reconciliation, is still critical for Appalachian communities.
One of the provisions that is necessary for the revitalization of the Appalachian region is Senator Casey’s Civilian Conservation Corps plan (the standalone bill being SB 2414). The reboot of the CCC would put people to work on projects such as teaching farmers best agricultural practices, rebuilding wetlands, improving drinking water infrastructure, and developing green space, among other jobs throughout the region. The new CCC would help forge a fair recovery for all people, no matter their race or background, by drawing in returning citizens and other underserved populations while mitigating the effects of climate change.
Other crucial components of the president’s Build Back Better agenda that were left out of the initial, bipartisan bill that was passed today include important investments in manufacturing, and innovation. Additionally, Senators agreed on significant reductions in the bipartisan bill to critical components of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan: transit (19% less per year), electric vehicles (87% less per year), safety (12% less per year), and community restoration (93% less per year.)
While ReImagine Appalachia strongly encourages members of the House to support the Senate bill passed today, we also implore the Senate to move on a reconciliation bill that would complete a historic Build Back Better package of bills. Congress should not pass up the opportunity to secure a once-in-a-generation investment in our infrastructure, family-sustaining jobs, and a cleaner environment for future generations.
Get more information on the coalition website here: https://reimagineappalachia.org/.