Proposed legislation could create 100,000 jobs in Appalachia and absorb up to 20% of regional carbon emissions. 

Pittsburgh, PA: Senator Casey (D-PA) joined members of the ReImagine Appalachia coalition to discuss his proposal to revive the Civilian Conservation Corps. The meeting comes on the heels of a new report showing that reviving the Civilian Conservation Corps could create nearly 100,000 jobs in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“As communities in Pennsylvania, Appalachia and across the country continue to face devastating economic conditions as well as the effects of the climate crisis, a revitalized Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) would enable us to invest in our workforce, our environment and the next generation of conservationists. I was glad to join ReImagine Appalachia for this important discussion. My proposal for a revitalized CCC will create federal conservation jobs, support agricultural conservation and ensure we are prioritizing environmental justice communities. I look forward to continuing to work with these critical state, regional and national partners to advance our shared priorities,” Senator Casey stated.

Recent jobs studies by the Political Economy Research Institute show that this program could create 53,070 jobs in Pennsylvania and 50,900 jobs in Ohio. ReImagine Appalachia released a white paper on Wednesday titled, Heal Our Land and Our People—Revive the Civilian Conservation Corps, Promote Regenerative Agriculture. The paper detailed how programs like the CCC can help capture carbon through regenerative agriculture and forest restoration. Implementing these regenerative methods could absorb over 20% of all carbon emissions from the region.

Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, a member of the ReImagine Coalition, also spoke at the event. “We need solutions as big as the challenges we face in Appalachia and across our nation – like a new Civilian Conservation Corps that can provide millions of jobs for youth of all backgrounds restoring our lands, water, and wildlife. Thank you to Senator Casey for leading the charge to address the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression by putting people to work making our communities more resilient to climate impacts.” 

In addition to learning more about the Senator’s innovative proposal for creating jobs and reviving the region’s economy, the event was an opportunity for the ReImagine Coalition to share recent findings highlighting the importance of this issue. 

ReImagine Appalachia’s recent whitepaper noted ways that a modern CCC could break barriers for people who have had difficulty securing good-paying jobs, such as people with a conviction in their past. Seventy million Americans—one in three adults—have a criminal record. A revived CCC could help bridge this gap by including priority hiring for returning citizens.

“We have the opportunity to demonstrate courage and be re-framers of a new America, an America that educates and rehabilitates more than we incarcerate. We need to REIMAGINE an American legal system that doesn’t use incarceration as a panacea for the ills we don’t want to do the appropriate work to cure,” said Louis L. Reed, the Director of Organizing and Partnerships at #cut50.

Speakers included:

    • Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of National Wildlife Federation
    • Louis Reed, Director of Organizing & Research of #Cut50 at Dream Corps
    • Quenton King, Criminal Justice Policy Analyst at West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy
    • Dr. Patricia DeMarco, Vice President of Forest Hills Borough Council
    • Dr. Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director of Keystone Research Center
    • llyssa Manspeizer​: Ilyssa, Executive Director at Landforce
    • Eric Lee: Leader at Newark Think Tank on Poverty

 

The ReImagine Appalachia Coalition envisions an Appalachia where everyone is paid enough to support themselves and their family, future generations can put down roots, and all people have clean air to breathe and water to drink. Their policy blueprint outlines these values and a recent jobs study has shown that enacting the Reimagine Appalachia blueprint could create nearly half a million jobs in Pennsylvania and Ohio alone. Nearly 100 diverse organizations have now endorsed the ReImagine Appalachia blueprint.

A link to view recording of the roundtable may be found at this link. 

 

Contact: snow@pennbpc.org to receive a copy of the report(s).

 

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Annie Regan

Author Annie Regan

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