Delegate Stephanie Smith calls on Congress to pass Biden infrastructure and climate plan at virtual roundtable
State and local officials highlighted local importance of passing climate investments for local communities
Delegate Stephanie Smith, Chair of Baltimore Delegation to Maryland General Assembly, joined state and local elected officials from three other states at a virtual town hall to call on Congress to swiftly pass President Biden’s infrastructure and climate plan, highlighting the family-sustaining union jobs that would be created with a transformational investment in clean energy.
Smith hailed the bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Biden signed last year, which will invest billions of dollars in replacing crumbling bridges and expanding Amtrak and other public transit options, but said it was only the first step in addressing the climate crisis.
She called on Congress to take up a second package that would invest more than half a trillion dollars in building a 21st century clean energy economy, creating millions of jobs while reducing harmful climate pollution and tackling other environmental hazards.
“Maryland is already paying a high price for its aging infrastructure, associated pollution, and climate change,” said Delegate Stephanie Smith, Chair of Baltimore City House Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly. “Communities like Baltimore City are disproportionately burdened by pollution and a lack of investment. If we fail to act, the price to address these challenges will only get higher. President Biden’s plan would help our communities and make needed investments in transportation and clean energy infrastructure in Maryland.”
While the bipartisan infrastructure deal invests in expanding Amtrak to cities like Baltimore, as well as in electric vehicles, it represents only a small part of President Biden’s plan to fight climate change and strengthen the middle class.
“Now is the time for Maryland to address the significant challenges that face our infrastructure, our climate, and our communities,” said Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble. “The Build Back Better plan would make desperately needed climate investments and help communities that are on the front lines, already suffering from pollution, heat waves, and flooding.”
The president’s proposal would curb climate pollution by expanding green, renewable energy, like solar and wind power, modernize and improve the resiliency of the electric grid and give states and municipalities resources to invest in electric buses, trash trucks, and other vehicles.
“New York is already feeling the impacts of the climate crisis. That’s why we must continue to push for climate action at the local, state, and federal levels. New York needs the investments from The Build Back Better Act to build resiliently, reduce emissions, and protect our communities on the frontlines,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “New York in particular is ready for investments that will protect communities from severe storms, flooding and extreme heat while fueling our clean energy and transportation transition. We are proud to be collaborating with our Mid- Atlantic partners and to have Mayor Byron Brown represent New York on this panel speaking to the urgency and need for Build Back Better.”
“As a state that has long been at the forefront of energy innovation Pennsylvania is prepared to take full advantage of the transformational investments proposed by President Biden to build an economy built on green, renewable energy,” said Molly Parzen, Interim Executive Director of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania. “The president’s proposal will create union jobs and revitalize communities across our commonwealth while marshaling the full resources of the federal government to address our climate crisis. The science is clear: Congress must act now.”
“We need Congress to work with us to build a clean energy future that creates middle class jobs while fighting climate change,” said New Jersey LCV Executive Director Ed Potosnak. “New Jersey is already seeing the benefits offshore wind is having on our communities. The president’s climate agenda would turbocharge these investments while putting us on a path to meet the pollution reductions we need in order to avert a climate catastrophe. President Biden’s plan enjoys widespread support, and it’s time to pass the climate bill.”
In addition to creating jobs, these investments will also address looming dangers that threaten our nation’s cities, such as sea-level rise and increased risk of flooding from severe storms. These proposed investments enjoy widespread bipartisan support, said Maryland LCV’s Coble.
Maryland LCV is known for educating lawmakers and holding them accountable for their leadership and votes on key environmental issues. Their annual scorecard, along with other reports, help inform voters about their legislators’ records.