Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden talks about modernizing infrastructure and his plans to tackle climate change during a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, USA, July 14, 2020.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Former Vice President Joe Biden released an expanding plan Tuesday to modernize America’s infrastructure and energy to curb climate change and spur economic growth.
The proposal by the presidential Democratic presidential candidate aims to achieve carbon-free power generation by 2035. As the coronavirus pandemic leaves the United States mired in an economic crisis, Biden said he will set out to create “millions” of union jobs that pay at least $ 15 per person. hour as the United States reviews its highways, bridges, trains, auto industry, and broadband system.
The plan, which comes days after a joint task force made up of the Biden campaigns and Senator Bernie Sanders outlined a climate change agenda, sets out a more ambitious approach to developing clean energy than the Biden campaign during the primaries. Democrats. It requires $ 2 billion in spending over four years, more than the $ 1.7 billion the campaign previously proposed spending for a decade.
“Even if we weren’t facing a pandemic and an economic crisis, we should be making these investments anyway,” Biden said of the plan during comments in Delaware. He called the investments “critical” to the economy and public health.
The Democratic presidential hopeful also aims to use the federal government to reverse years of the Trump administration’s efforts to ease environmental standards, including by establishing an environmental and climate justice division within the Justice Department. The campaign said it would create tools to better control and eliminate pollution that disproportionately leaves communities of color with chronic health problems.
“We need to take into account the historical mistakes and damage” that companies have done to vulnerable communities, which are often made up of people of color, Biden said. He added that his goal is to make CEOs more accountable for practices that leave neighborhoods polluted.
Biden’s campaign did not say how it would pay for infrastructure investments. The former vice president supports raising taxes on corporations and wealthier Americans.
The plan will face opposition from Republicans who generally support a slower transition to fossil fuels than Democrats. Biden’s ability to pass any climate plan will hinge on the ability of Democrats to turn four net Senate seats in November to win a majority in the house.
Biden’s proposal, which garnered the support of some environmental groups alongside billionaire climate change activist and former primary rival Tom Steyer, in particular did not mention whether the campaign wants to ban hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Biden during primary asked for limited restrictions in practice to extract natural gas.
Industry thrives in the swinging state of Pennsylvania. Sanders, among others, supported a general ban on fracking.
Senator and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the climate change panel on the Biden-Sanders working group, has supported a comprehensive Green New Deal energy and jobs plan. Biden has not accepted the proposal.
The Trump campaign criticized Biden’s plan on Tuesday, arguing that “union jobs related to oil, natural gas, fracking and energy infrastructure will be at the sting in Joe Biden’s America.” The President has generally tried to remove impediments to the production of coal, oil, and natural gas in the United States.
Biden also criticized Trump for failing to pass an infrastructure overhaul after promising it during his 2016 campaign and at various points during his presidency. The Democrat said the president “has never complied. He has not even tried.”
Among the infrastructure pieces in Biden’s plan, he would push to make commuter trains, buses, and passenger vehicles run on electricity or clean fuel. It would encourage the development of electric trains for Amtrak and private cargo companies.
Under the proposal, the federal government would invest in the local development of clean light rail and bus systems. The plan would also encourage American production of electric cars and batteries and raise fuel economy standards.
In addition, it would create incentives to improve homes and commercial buildings to make them more resistant to extreme weather. Biden aims to build 1.5 million energy-efficient homes and public housing units to address the shortage of affordable housing.
Biden focused on possible critics who would consider the infrastructure and jobs program unrealistic.
“It is not about incredible dreams. It is about actionable policies that we can work on right away,” he said.
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