Against the backdrop of worsening employment from COVID-19, a storyline has emerged among Green New Deal proponents that the biggest beneficiaries of their climate proposals will be workers. Two plans released in July tout the promise of great jobs and a smooth transition away from fossil fuels to renewables over the next couple of decades. The trouble is outside of Washington, DC labor isn’t buying it. Vice President Joe Biden’s latest plan talks a lot about creating jobs and supporting union workers if elected president. His plan states, “We must ensure jobs created as part of the clean energy revolution offer good wages, benefits, and worker protections. Toward this end, President Biden will defend workers’ rights to form unions and collectively bargain in these emerging and growing industries.”
Photo credit: Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust
The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) is the largest public lands conservation bill signed into law in 50 years, and it’s almost exclusively funded by revenue from federal oil and natural gas. The new law is an excellent reminder that the nation’s primary source of funding for conservation is oil and natural gas. When obstructionist groups and politicians try to stop leasing and development on federal lands, they are now directly taking funding away from national parks, wildlife refuges, and conservation projects.
The GAOA combined two public lands conservation bills that Congress had been unable to pass individually: the Restore Our Parks Act to reduce the National Park Service’s $12 billion maintenance backlog across all national parks and monuments, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Permanent Funding Act to fully and permanently fund public lands conservation nationwide.