CBC Meeting Highlights Successes in ACES

Authors: Yvonne Yeh

On July 21, the Congressional Black Caucus brought Black business leaders, scholars, scientists, and activists together to speak with CBC members that fought for the inclusion of equity provisions in Waxman-Markey (aka ACES) - and that supported the bill once they were in.

The CBC members included Bobby Rush of Illinois (Chicago), Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Barbara Lee of California (Bay Area), and G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina.

Stepping into the arena of climate and energy policy, the CBC took a stand for folks usually overlooked in these proceedings: low-income communities and people of color. CBC members refused to support a bill touted as green jobs-friendly that neglected the needs of disadvantaged communities.

Together with the help of Green For All and a diverse group of other organizations, including the Partnership for Working Families, the NAACP, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, members of the CBC crafted provisions that provide pathways into high-quality jobs in the clean energy economy – then played a key role getting them in the bill.

Some of the revisions:

  • $10 billion straight to the pockets of low-income workers in the very first year
  • The establishment of Green Centers of Excellence at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as predominately black institutions
  • Almost $1 billion in job-training programs
  • Funding for minority entrepreneurs and businesses that improve energy efficiency
  • Providing technical assistance and promoting job and business opportunities for low-income residents
  • Increasing energy conservation in low-income, rural, and urban communities
  • Identifying and developing alternative, renewable and distributed energy supplies
  • Providing support to community-based organizations that have apprenticeships, or other training programs, to participate in identifying and recruiting targeted workers

There is no rest for the CBC though, as the climate and energy legislation now moves through the Senate review process, which could easily erase all the hard-won provisions.

For more information, see the story by the CBC.

Yvonne Yeh is an online intern at Green for All.

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