FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2021
West Virginia, long America’s energy powerhouse, wants the US to turn its attention away from coal and towards wind and solar energy
HILLSBORO, WEST VIRGINIA — In an unprecedented show of support for a true transition, over 100 prominent West Virginia elected officials, organizations, and businesses have signed a letter urging Senator Joe Manchin to support bold action on jobs similar to the American Jobs Plan. The letter calls for an economy built on clean energy that simultaneously protects fossil fuel workers who have long powered homes across America.
The letter, which was sent to Senator Manchin today, stands out for the unusually large number of signatories from every corner of the state. The document calls for protecting pensions and health insurance plans for fossil fuel workers, and extending substantial benefits to displaced workers. It also presses for protections so that low income communities and communities of color do not pay a disproportionate cost for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Lastly, the letter asks that ambitious provisions be made to achieve the IPCC’s benchmark of a 45 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2050.
“West Virginians have an immediate urgency for a historical jobs plan to meet the full scope and scale of needs,” CCAN Action Fund’s West Virginia organizer Holly Bradley said. “Ongoing negotiations by certain members of Congress are simply a stalling tactic deployed to prevent enacting popular policies like the American Jobs Plan.”
Many West Virginian families are on the verge of losing their livelihoods and, according to Census data, making the difficult choice to leave their homes in search of economic opportunities in other states. Furthermore, the state is experiencing a public health crisis. Every year 10,000 children in West Virginia suffer asthma attacks. The health benefits of widespread adoption of clean energy by the state’s electrical utilities over the next 15 years is likely to result in savings of $1 billion or more for West Virginia residents.
There is currently a proposed piece of legislation that would achieve much of what this letter calls for. In March, the American Jobs Plan was introduced, which includes a 100% clean electricity standard. This plan would pump almost $3 trillion into the American economy, ushering in millions of new, good-paying jobs as well as protections for workers. It will also invest in local manufacturing, research firms, and disadvantaged communities.
Leading up to the vote on the American Jobs Act, local organizations intend to push for the legislation’s passage, as well as continue the call for clean energy jobs and protections for fossil fuel workers. The next event will be a rally in support of the THRIVE Act tomorrow.
The CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For almost 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.