Manufacturing Agenda: A National Blueprint for Clean Technology Manufacturing Leadership and Industrial Transformation
The BlueGreen Alliance’s manufacturing agenda proposes a set of national actions to achieve global leadership across clean technology manufacturing; cut emissions from the production of essential materials; upgrade and modernize the entirety of the U.S. industrial base within three decades; and undertake a new generation of industrial development that rebuilds good American jobs and is clean, safe, and fair for workers and communities alike.
U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) joined leaders from the BlueGreen Alliance, NRDC, Sierra Club, United Steelworkers and labor and environmental allies for a virtual town hall on rebuilding American manufacturing August 5, 2020.
This agenda lays out a plan across five pillars of action, and it is guided by an overarching strategic focus on strengthening good jobs, equity, and reinvestment in manufacturing, communities, and workers.
PILLAR 1: Invest at scale in a new generation of American manufacturing
- Establish and capitalize an industrial bank and/or revolving loan fund;
- Make an increased, sustained and coordinated investment in three priority areas:
- Building robust clean technology supply chains in America;
- Transforming energy-intensive industry; and
- Responsible mining, recycling and reclamation;
- Expand our existing loan, grant and tax programs to rapidly retool and convert American factories to build the technologies of the future, and to fill critical gaps in the manufacturing supply chain; and
- Transform energy-intensive industry to utilize advanced clean processes and technology nationwide.
PILLAR 2: Innovate to transform industry
- Greatly increase U.S. funding for R&D to levels competitive with leading nations;
- Establish a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Industrial Transformation, and execute a program of technology development, demonstration, and deployment in energy-intensive industry commensurate with achieving net zero emissions by 2050;
- Coordinate, fund and execute a program to speed the development of economically critical clean technologies and supplier networks in the United States;
- Establish a permanent jobs, labor, and energy workforce program in the Office of the Secretary of Energy;
- Increase public benefit from publicly funded research and innovation; and
- Ensure U.S. clean economy manufacturing objectives are elevated as a primary focus of a new National Institute of Manufacturing.
PILLAR 3: Responsibly mine, recycle, and reclaim the critical materials necessary for a secure, clean economy
- Develop a comprehensive national critical minerals strategy guided by a commitment to environmentally, economically, and socially responsible mining of minerals necessary to anchor clean technology manufacturing in the United States;
- Incentivize and enhance use of responsibly produced critical minerals and metals in line with that strategy;
- Jumpstart responsible domestic critical materials recycling projects and circular economy promotion; and
- Spur reclamation, remediation, and repurposing of industrial sites and spur economic development in hard-hit communities.
PILLAR 4: Use public investment wisely to support a strong, clean, fair manufacturing economy across America
- Utilize direct federal procurement to spur demand for clean, fair, safe, and domestically manufactured clean technology, while upgrading our public infrastructure and services;
- Improve and extend Buy America/n, and ensure its effective application to manufactured goods, clean technologies, and materials;
- Utilize soundly crafted Buy Clean procurement policies that incentivize and reward clean, low-carbon production of energy intensive materials;
- Utilize “Fair and Responsible” procurement approaches to enhance labor standards, workers’ rights, career pathways, equity, and community benefits;
- Ensure all major public spending on clean technology deployment—such as tax incentives, loans, grants, and bonds—support high labor standards and domestic manufacturing throughout the supply chain; and
- Develop and enact the globally leading energy, emissions, and pollution standards necessary to drive demand for clean technology production in the United States.
PILLAR 5: Change the rules to build a clean economy that works for all Americans
- Raise labor standards across the private sector and actively discourage exploitative business models in the production and deployment of clean technology;
- Ensure fair trade rules and enforcement, and enact appropriate border adjustments;
- Realign corporate tax and finance rules and incentives to encourage investment in domestic plants and workers and to discourage outsourcing and offshoring; and
- Enact proactive measures to prevent unnecessary job loss in changing industries and ensure holistic reinvestment in communities where job loss or disinvestment is underway.
Now is the time for action to transform America’s industrial sector. Bold and proactive policies and investments can position the U.S. manufacturing sector to lead in clean technology manufacturing and low-carbon materials production for generations to come. We have an economically and environmentally critical opportunity to demonstrate that working people and policymakers can come together to:
- Act urgently, comprehensively, and at scale;
- Lead and capture new clean technology markets at home;
- Invest fairly and equitably to rebuild the industries of today and the communities that need it most; and
- Ensure good, fair, and safe jobs in old and new industries alike.
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