Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) are seeking to drive investment in rural America by proposing legislation that would allocate $8 billion to manufacturers and other industrial companies to retool, expand, or build new facilities that make or recycle energy-related products.
Possible products include equipment needed for alternative energy and energy efficiency efforts, such as geothermal drills, and products or technologies that capture, remove, use, or store carbon dioxide.
The bill would amend the tax code to enhance an existing advanced energy credit.
“The downturn of the coal industry has left many Americans without the good-paying jobs they once relied on and, more often than not, a lack of new opportunity. The negative impact is felt by local economies across the country. I believe that tax credits to help incentivize the transition to a cleaner energy future should be targeted to drive reinvestment in the communities who are the most impacted by that transition, and that’s exactly what the American Jobs in Energy Manufacturing Act of 2021 will do,” Manchin, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement.
The legislation will bring jobs back to the United States and spur economic growth, the Democrat asserted, calling on Republicans to support it.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the total annual coal production in the country fell to 706 million short tons in 2019, a 7 percent decrease from a year earlier and the lowest level since 1978, when production was crippled by a mining strike.
“Transitioning to a clean energy economy creates significant opportunities for Michigan to put people to work in good-paying jobs in industries that are key to combatting the climate crisis,” Stabenow added. “Unfortunately, we have fallen behind countries like China, and the COVID-19 crisis has exposed gaps in our domestic manufacturing. The good news is, we can do something about it. I introduced the American Jobs in Energy Manufacturing Act to address our supply chain shortages and drive investment in clean energy, automotive, and battery manufacturing. This bill ensures that America—not China—will lead the way in the clean energy revolution.”
The proposal has drawn support from the Third Way, which describes itself as a centrist think tank, the BlueGreen Alliance, and the National Wildlife Federation, among other groups.
A previous version of this tax credit helped accelerate the nation’s recovery from the last recession, Ryan Fitzpatrick, director of the Climate and Energy Program at Third Way, said in a statement.
The legislation would modernize “his proven economy-boosting tool to meet today’s needs, keep U.S. industries and workers ahead of the curve in clean energy technologies, help facilities significantly reduce their pollution, and spur investment in communities impacted by global shifts in energy and manufacturing,” he said, adding that it would “boost American competitiveness against other manufacturing powerhouses like China.”