President Joe Biden meets with White House staff in the Oval Office of the White House on April 27, 2021, to prepare for an off-the-record discussion with news anchors. (Adam Schultz/White House)
After a year of COVID-19, Coloradans are starting to see hopes of things going back to normal. But in its wake, the pandemic has caused too much loss — we’ve lost loved ones, closed down businesses, and upended our day-to-day routines.
Now, one of the biggest challenges we face in Colorado is also one of our greatest opportunities: rebuilding our economy after the COVID-19 pandemic while tackling climate change. This is our chance to create prosperity for everyone in a way that cuts pollution and ensures we hit our science-based climate goals.
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
We’ve been fed the falsehood time and time again that we have to choose between our economy and our environment. President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan erases this false choice. The first step to responsibly repairing the economy is to make the right investments in our workers, communities and environment.
Biden won because he believed that not only we can get back to where we used to be, but we can “build back better” — and that’s exactly what the American Jobs Plan will do. We need to make investments that create clean energy, family-sustaining union jobs while repairing our crumbling infrastructure systems, reducing emissions and supporting workers.
When it comes to infrastructure, our country has a lot of work to do. Here in Colorado, our infrastructure has suffered from years of lackluster investment. If we want to see our growing state succeed, our infrastructure needs to support our population and be built to last, especially through future extreme weather events caused by climate change. Biden’s plan will help Colorado meet that pressing need by investing hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild and strengthen our schools, hospitals, manufacturing and transportation infrastructure.
This significant level of investment will spark an uptick in jobs — not only will we rebuild our infrastructure, we will help rebuild lives.
Biden’s job plan will help lift up Colorado working families as we meet the demand of our changing energy systems. The plan uses traditional tools such as extended and expanded tax credits for clean energy generation and manufacturing, but at a large enough scale that it will create permanent new union jobs with strong labor standards. These jobs will help us invent and install the clean energy infrastructure of tomorrow, using our own skilled workforce and responsibly sourced domestic materials. The plan will invest billions into our energy grid to make it resilient to balance our diverse energy sources and to meet the demands of our changing climate.
While we invest to grow our clean energy economy, we can also put money towards reclaiming polluted sites — and create jobs while we do it. The plan would invest $16 billion to clean up abandoned mines and wells, which will require thousands of workers who already have the expertise to do the work.
Biden knows new jobs must be stable, good-paying careers with retirement and health insurance benefits, and that isn’t just talk. The American Jobs Plan includes provisions to protect the freedoms of every worker, so everyone will have the right to organize and bargain collectively. That’s how this plan will foster widespread economic prosperity.
The American Jobs Plan is centered around workers. It has resources for rural and urban areas alike. It will benefit all Americans — including those who have been passed over and neglected and who otherwise have not historically seen the gains from our state’s economy.
Our BlueGreen Alliance coalition is broad. We include environmentalists and union workers from all walks of life, and every corner of Colorado. We know we share common values, though, and a shared future. It’s time for all of us to work together.
With one voice, we call on Colorado’s members of Congress to step up, to lead by example, and to support and strengthen President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, and to do it now.
Jessica Goad and Dennis Dougherty are members of the Colorado BlueGreen Alliance. The alliance is a coalition of Colorado’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations, guided by the principle that we can no longer choose between good jobs and a clean environment — that the actions we take to create quality jobs and to protect working people and the environment must go hand-in-hand, and that together, we will build clean, thriving and fair economy. The coalition is co-chaired by the Colorado AFL-CIO and Conservation Colorado.
SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.