BlueGreen Alliance | Manufacturing a Cleaner Planet – Part One

Manufacturing a Cleaner Planet – Part One

April 22, 2024

Too many of our Earth Days have been marred by steep industrial emissions and a decline in domestic manufacturing. That decline has equated to importing emissions through foreign goods made with lower environmental and labor standards.  

Thanks to the Biden administration, the tide is changing for our industrial sector. With landmark federal investments passed in the last few years, domestic manufacturing is on the rise and emissions are going down. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded billions of dollars to new and existing facilities around the country through its Industrial Demonstrations Program and 48C tax credits.  

These projects are expected to create a 77% emission reduction in the industrial sector and fund domestic manufacturing of steel, aluminum, cement, and more. 

These investments are pulling double duty by cleaning up the industrial sector and creating good union jobs. For example, Cleveland Cliff’s Butler Works facility in Pennsylvania was funded by the Industrial Demonstrations Program to manufacture clean steel using a first-of-its-kind electrification process. The facility will be represented by United Steelworkers Local 3303, sustaining over 1,000 good union jobs for the community.  

Additionally, the DOE funded a new Century Aluminum smelter, the first primary aluminum facility to open since 1980. Since the U.S. makes the cleanest aluminum in the world, this new facility will help reduced imported emissions by doubling the size of domestic production. The new smelter is expected to employ over 6,500 union jobs represented by the United Steelworkers. 

And we’re going to need as much steel and aluminum as we can get for our clean energy future. These are critical components for on- and offshore wind, electric vehicles, solar and so much more. By manufacturing more of these metals here at home, we are building the future we want right before our eyes: less pollution, more jobs for American workers, increased prosperity for U.S. business and everyday workers, and community buy in to boot. Did we mention ALL of the DOE’s recent investments have community benefit plans to ensure local residents are in the know about these facilities and can reap the benefits of the growing clean economy? 

These projects are proof that manufacturing can be a big part of our plans to tackle climate change and clean up our air and water. Taking care of our Earth will require a holistic approach that changes the way we think about clean energy and clean industry and obligates the U.S. government to make significant strides towards decarbonization.  

We are headed in the right direction for the first time in a generation. Let’s keep building together.  

This is part one of a two-part series. Read part two here.