Rep. Andy Levin on Tuesday stressed that a push by the Biden administration and Congressional Democrats towards clean energy must not ignore the workers whose fossil fuel industry jobs would be displaced.
A union organizer and former assistant director of organizing at the national AFL-CIO, Levin (D-Mich.) said that it’s important to let workers who will be affected by the transition know that the shift will be done with their needs in mind. “We’re going to build this transition with you, not just do it to you,” he said at a POLITICO event on Tuesday.
The sentiment from Levin echoed talking points the Biden administration leaned on last week when it rolled out plans for a clean energy push.
“[President Biden’s] record will show — shows the American people that he’s committed to clean-energy jobs — to jobs that are not only good, high-paying jobs, union jobs, but ones that are also good for our environment,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a White House press briefing.
President Biden has promised to deploy 500,000 new public charging stations for electric vehicles by the end of 2030, which Levin said has broad support among Democrats. Last Congress, Levin and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) introduced the EV Freedom Act, legislation that would green-light the creation of a nationwide network of electric vehicle chargers in five years.
The Michigan congressman signaled that in addition to green infrastructure plans, fossil fuel workers who are in danger of losing jobs, communities of color and poorer communities “need to be included in the opportunities of the clean energy economy.”
Levin also called for a larger role for unions as Democrats push to shift the U.S. towards greener energy, predicting that such a move might not fall along typical geographic partisan lines.
“It’s not going to be a super bipartisan thing,” he said of legislation he has championed to protect union organizing and protest activities. “There’s a beautiful thing about energy. Where the wind is, where the sun shines, it doesn’t care about partisan borders.”