Today, Metro Councilor Christine Lewis and Wilsonville Mayor Julie Fitzgerald joined climate advocates to call on U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader to follow through on his commitment to vote for the Build Back Better Act (BBBA). If enacted, the BBBA, the federal budget bill moving through Congress, will provide the investments necessary to cut carbon pollution by at least 50 percent by 2030, create good-paying, union jobs, and address environmental injustice. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the BBBA this week, and a vote in the U.S. Senate could quickly follow. The speakers convened at an event sponsored by BlueGreen Alliance.
“If you talk to mayors across the country, they will tell you that investments in clean energy and clean transportation offer cities and towns the chance to do more than just fight climate change,” said Mayor Julie Fitzgerald of Wilsonville. “These proposals mean new companies, high quality family-sustaining jobs, long-term stimulus, and savings on fuel that benefit municipalities and families alike. The Build Back Better Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in Oregon communities, and we need Representative Kurt Schrader and the rest of our leaders in Congress to fight to pass it this week.”
Speakers urged Congress to tackle the climate crisis and pass a budget that meets the climate test by setting the United States on a path to a 50-52% reduction in carbon pollution by 2030. That’s the same goal scientists say is necessary to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. More than 1 in 3 Americans suffered from the impacts of climate change this summer, and the climate crisis is making extreme weather events in Oregon such as forest fires and flooding more dangerous.
“I can tell you that there are a lot of smart people at the local and state level doing everything in their power to move us forward on climate and to keep Oregon at the front of the pack when it comes to clean energy job growth,” said Metro Councilor Lewis. “But the scale of these challenges is going to require the commitment of our partners in the federal government, and the Build Back Better Act can give us the resources we need to meet the full potential of a 21st century clean economy that curbs climate change, provides thousands of family-sustaining jobs, and stimulates local economies across the state. The investments proposed are the right thing to do in principle and from a pragmatic point of view, and it’s my hope that Rep. Schrader will follow through on his commitment and vote for the Build Back Better Act this week.”
The BBBA and its investments in clean energy will not only help fight climate change but also will bring massive economic growth to Oregon. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, clean energy jobs were growing faster than the economy as a whole. As of 2021, there were 56,617 Oregonians working in clean energy. Rep. Schrader has a chance to bolster this growth by supporting a budget that passes the climate test.
“In Oregon, we have a long list of key industries that depend on the stability and sustainability of our climate,” said Mike McNally, Proprietor of Fairsing Vineyard. “We’re leaders in tourism, outdoor recreation, and specialty agriculture, and I can tell you from the perspective of a vineyard operator that the future of Oregon businesses big and small is tied into our ability to address climate resilience and make sensible investments in clean infrastructure. We’re counting on our leaders in Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act to protect Oregon’s climate and its small businesses.”
“Getting aggressive on clean energy and clean transportation will create real, high-quality jobs for Oregonians,” said Ranfis Giannettino Villatoro, BlueGreen Alliance Oregon State Coordinator. “We have the ability to confront this climate crisis, and we can do it while creating union careers with prevailing wages, retirement benefits, and family healthcare. Many of the jobs that the Build Back Better Act will create do not require a college degree. This is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America.”
A video of the press conference can be found here.
Photos credit of Climate Action Campaign