WASHINGTON — Delmarva Democrats and environmental groups are pushing hard for inclusion of a new climate change corps into a mammoth federal spending package being hammered out by Congress and President Joe Biden.
The Civilian Climate Corps is the modern-day version of the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps, CCC, which helped improve infrastructure in the midst of the Great Depression.
The new corps proposal entails a federal effort to employ as many as 1.5 million Americans to work on climate change issues. Biden wants $10 billion over ten years for the effort which is backed by progressives and environmental groups.
Democratic U.S. Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware and Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland are pushing for the creation of a new CCC. They have joined more than 80 lawmakers in pressing congressional leaders to the include the government program a federal spending package snaking its way through Washington.
The green effort includes a focus on diversity, equity and environmental justice. The climate army would help install renewable energy projects and solar panels and work on other programs aimed at mitigating climate change.
“Establishing a Civilian Climate Corps will advance equity and environmental justice while putting people to work on the most important issues facing our nation today,” Coons said in a statement. “I’m glad my colleagues in this bicameral group have worked with me to prioritize the inclusion of a Civilian Climate Corps in the final reconciliation bill. The unified vision we have laid out here will pave the way for making national service, job creation, and climate resilience key components of the jobs package moving forward.”
Coons looks to the existing AmeriCorps community service programs as the mechanism to help bring the climate corps effort to life.
U.S. Reps Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., environmental groups and leading progressives such as U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.., also back the CCC effort. The climate corps has been part of Green New Deal plans advocate for by Ocasio-Cortez and other Democratic lawmakers.
Business interests and conservatives worry about the impact of Biden’s energy and climate change efforts on the economy, jobs and the energy sector.
Democrats representing the Delmarva Peninsula are also pushing for a new $1 billion investment in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and back more windmills and wind energy projects in the Atlantic Ocean. Former President Donald Trump opposes windmills and wind projects.