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Leader Schumer Unveils New Clean Cars For America Climate Proposal

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Leader Schumer’s new proposal would make clean cars and charging stations available to all Americans and will help meet carbon emissions targets scientists say we must reach to avoid most devastating effects of climate change, all while stimulating an American-made manufacturing supply chain for clean cars.

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Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

A Transformative Plan To Reduce Number Of Carbon-Emitting Cars On The Road, Create Jobs, And Accelerate Transition Net-Zero Carbon Emissions

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), a member of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, today unveiled the Clean Cars For America Climate Proposal, a bold new initiative to accelerate the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century—a target scientists say we must reach to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change, but are currently off track to meet—by making clean cars and charging infrastructure accessible and affordable to all Americans.

Leader Schumer’s Clean Cars for America proposal has a broad coalition of support, from such stakeholders as leading environmental groups like the Sierra Club, the NRDC, and the League of Conservation Voters, as well as labor unions like the United Auto Workers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and large auto companies like Ford and General Motors. The initiative would incentivize the transition to clean vehicles by providing significant discounts for clean vehicles when trading in a gas-powered vehicle, establishing a new grant program to states and localities to ensure all Americans have access to charging infrastructure, and providing robust  incentives for manufacturers to build new factories or re-tool existing factories. The plan would result in 63 million fewer carbon-emitting cars. The plan is estimated to create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs in the United States.

The Clean Cars For America Climate Initiative would accelerate the critical transition to net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century by making electric vehicles and charging infrastructure accessible to all Americans, regardless of where they live and work, and would firmly establish the United States as the global leader in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing.

More information on Leader Schumer’s proposal can be found below and a more detailed summary of the proposal can be found here.

“Today I am announcing a bold new plan designed to reduce the number of carbon-emitting cars on the road, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and accelerate the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century—a target scientists say we must reach to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “This proposal to bring clean cars to all of America will be a key component of the far-reaching climate legislation from Senate Democrats, and I’m proud it has a broad coalition of support from a diverse coalition of environmental, labor, and auto leaders. This proposal takes bold steps to confront the climate crisis, protect our planet, create tens of thousands of good-paying middle-class jobs, and would position the U.S. to lead the world in clean auto manufacturing.”

“Michigan automakers and workers are the best in the world and are leading the way in developing cutting-edge electric vehicles,” said Senator Stabenow. “We need a dramatic expansion in our electric charging infrastructure to accelerate the electric vehicle fleet of the future. These investments will help create new jobs and reduce carbon pollution as we combat the climate crisis.”

“American workers are the best in the world, and with a real investment in new auto technology, can make the safest, the cleanest, the most reliable and the most fuel efficient cars in the world,” said Senator Brown. “In Ohio, we’ve seen too many autoworkers – in Lordstown, Mansfield and throughout the state—see their jobs shift overseas when companies decide to invest in new technology. This plan would ensure we build the next generation of clean cars in America and bolster our economy while also supporting American autoworkers and preventing more jobs from moving overseas.”

“At a time when the effects of climate chaos are all around us in the form of out-of-control wildfires, extreme droughts, and deadly hurricanes, families across America are looking for ways to reduce the carbon emissions that are driving the crisis,” said Senator Merkley. “One of the best ways is to trade in gas-powered cars for plug-in cars. This legislation will help families make that trade—a switch that will help save our planet.”

“With communities around the country suffering the ravages of climate change and communities of color and low-income communities bearing the brunt of those impacts and health effects of air pollution, Democratic Leader Schumer’s proposal is a big and welcome piece of a needed solution,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). “This comes at a critical time and stands in stark contrast with the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back clean car standards and stand in the way of American innovation. We need both strong standards for tailpipe emissions from the EPA and incentives like these to clean up our transportation sector.”

“The only way we can tackle the climate crisis is by leaving no one behind — that includes workers and those most impacted by pollution. Leader Schumer’s Clean Cars for America legislation boldly addresses pollution from the transportation sector while continuing to grow the booming clean energy economy, and the Sierra Club is proud to support it,” said Gina Coplon-Newfield, Director of Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign.

“This bold measure would accelerate the transition to clean electric vehicles and help ensure that American workers play a central part in building them,” said Luke Tonachel, Director of Clean Vehicles and Fuels at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Coupled with stronger clean car standards, this proposal would help deliver the vehicles we need to cut drivers’ fuel costs, clean our air and address the dangers of climate change.”

“In order to confront the climate crisis, we must urgently deploy cleaner electric vehicles. We support Senator Schumer’s efforts to help more people, particularly low- and medium-income families, make the switch from conventional vehicles to electric vehicles and to ensure that the US maintains a leadership role in this transition. We look forward to working with him further on this proposal,” said Michelle Robinson, Director of Clean Transportation Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Clean Cars for America honors the sweat and sacrifice of American autoworkers by investing in domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles and incentivizing high quality jobs across the auto supply chain,” said Gary Jones, President of the United Auto Workers.

“Reducing carbon emissions in the United States and around the world is not only a challenge, but a great opportunity to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, reinvigorate domestic manufacturing, and create hundreds of thousands of well-paying, family-supporting union jobs. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the largest energy union in the world, supports Leader Schumer’s plan to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector by investing in American workers and directing federal resources that will make the United States the global leader in electric vehicle infrastructure and EV manufacturing,” said Lonnie Stephenson, International President from the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers.

“Over the past month we’ve seen autoworkers nationwide stand up to ensure that the vehicles of the future are built in America and that  manufacturing once again provides good-paying jobs,” said Zoe Lipman, Director of the Vehicles and Advanced Transportation Program at the BlueGreen Alliance. “We cannot rebuild prosperity if we fall behind the rest of the world in building the technologies of the future. That’s why Congress needs to act—through measures like Senator Schumer’s proposed Clean Cars for America package—on an agenda that makes leadership and investment in advanced and electric vehicles, technology, manufacturing, and good jobs in America a priority.”

“We appreciate Leader Schumer’s efforts to drive America toward a more electrified, low carbon future,” said Curt Magleby, Vice President, U.S. Government Relations, Ford Motor Company. “Ford is investing $11.5 billion to grow our electrified vehicle portfolio, which includes iconic models our customers know and love. Just last week we announced that our all-electric vehicle customers will have access to the largest public charging network in the U.S.  We look forward to working in a bipartisan way to help shape this proposal.”

“General Motors believes in an all-electric, zero-emissions future. Driving towards that vision, we will continue investing in manufacturing and dedicating significant resources to bolster infrastructure here in the United States. We appreciate the leadership of Senator Schumer and his efforts to advance electrification through much-needed infrastructure investments, consumer incentives and promotion of American electric vehicle manufacturing,” said Liz Reicherts, Vice President, External Affairs

There are three major components to Leader Schumer’s proposal:

  • Making clean vehicles affordableby giving consumers a substantial cash voucher to trade-in their gas-powered cars and buy a U.S.-assembled and affordable plug-in electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen fuel cell car.
  • Making charging infrastructure accessiblethrough a new grant program to states and localities to ensure all Americans have access to charging infrastructure.
  • Reasserting U.S. leadership in clean car manufacturingwith robust incentives for manufacturers to build new factories or re-tool existing factories in the United States to assemble zero-emission vehicles or manufacture charging equipment.

This announcement follows a number of Democratic efforts to meaningfully confront the climate change crisis, including Senate Democrats’ forced vote to repeal the Trump administration’s “Affordable Clean Energy Rule,” the administration’s latest attempt to significantly weaken important carbon emissions standards for power plants, a pledge from Leader Schumer to invest in climate in any infrastructure bill, and the establishment of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis, chaired by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI).

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U.S. Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

Even as the pandemic has laid bare societal inequities that have long eroded the foundation of our democracy, political leaders in Washington and in state capitols are mired in a level of rancor and partisanship not seen since the ideological struggles over the Vietnam War. 

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Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr./ NNPA Newswire

Even as the pandemic has laid bare societal inequities that have long eroded the foundation of our democracy, political leaders in Washington and in state capitols are mired in a level of rancor and partisanship not seen since the ideological struggles over the Vietnam War. 

This toxic atmosphere has left them incapable of addressing pressing, yet ingrained issues like the racial wealth gap, the digital divide, and vast inequalities in everything from health care to home ownership.

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities – particularly communities of color throughout the South – are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

From impediments to wealth creation opportunities and a dearth of education and workforce development to a lack of access to reliable broadband, substandard housing, and inadequate political representation, communities of color have suffered an outsized toll during the ongoing public health crisis.

Yet political leaders can’t even agree on basic facts that would allow the nation to implement a coherent national strategy for combatting a pandemic that appears to be entering a new wave amid the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant that is currently ravaging parts of the South.

Against that disillusioning backdrop, there is at least some reason for hope. Moving to fill the vacuum created by the inaction of our political class, a group of business leaders in the technology and investment sectors have embarked on a far-reaching – and perhaps unprecedented – campaign to address the social inequities and systemic racism that has historically plagued our country’s southern communities.

Known as the Southern Communities Initiative (SCI), the campaign was founded by financial technology company PayPal, the investment firm Vista Equity Partners (Vista), and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

SCI was formed to work with local elected officials and advocacy groups to tackle the ubiquitous problems of structural racism and inequalities facing communities of color in six communities throughout the South. SCI notes that these areas – Atlanta, Ga., Birmingham, Ala., Charlotte, N.C., Houston, Texas, Memphis, Tenn., and New Orleans, La., – were chosen in part because they are home to around 50% of the country’s Black population and are where some of the greatest disparities exist.

SCI is aiming to drive long-term change, as outlined by PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, Vista CEO Robert F. Smith and BCG CEO Rich Lesser. 

In Atlanta, for example, SCI is working to bridge the wealth gap that exists among the region’s African-American residents. While there is a strong Black business community in the city, and high levels of Black educational achievement thanks to the regional presence of several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and the voice of the Black press, there is still an extremely low level of Black entrepreneurship and business ownership with only 6% of employer firms being Black-owned.

To remedy this disparity, SCI is working with the Southern Economic Advancement Project to create entrepreneurship hubs and accelerator programs to increase the number of minority-owned businesses. The corporations behind SCI are also using their networks to help other companies work with minority-owned supply companies.

In Alabama, SCI is seeking to bridge the massive digital divide in an urban area where 450,000 households are without connection to the internet. In order to tackle the crisis, SCI is leveraging relationships with local schools and libraries to distribute laptops and service vouchers. Another tact SCI is taking is to partner with the owners of multi-unit buildings in low-income neighborhoods to install free public Wi-Fi for residents.

The lack of access to capital is another reason Black communities throughout the South have been traditionally underbanked. In Memphis, where 47% of Black households are underbanked, SCI is partnering with Grameen America to cover the $2 million per year per branch start-up cost to build brick-and-mortar banks in minority communities.

This alone will provide 20,000 women access to more than $250 million per year in financing.

Beyond these initiatives, SCI is partnering with groups like the Greater Houston Partnership and the Urban League of Louisiana to provide in-kind support to improve job outcomes for minority college students, expand access to home financing through partnerships with community development financial institutions, and harness the power of technology to expand health care access in underserved urban and rural neighborhoods.

The issues facing these communities throughout the South are not new nor will they be fixed overnight.

Fortunately, SCI is taking a long-term approach that is focused on getting to the root of structural racism in the United States and creating a more just and equitable country for every American.

A once-in-a-century pandemic and a social justice movement not seen since the 1960s were not enough to break the malaise and rancorous partisanship in Washington. Fortunately, corporate leaders are stepping up and partnering with local advocates and non-profit groups to fix the problem of systemic injustice in the U.S.

We, therefore, salute and welcome the transformative commitments of the Southern Communities Initiative (SCI). There is no time to delay, because as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so accurately said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

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Black Woman to Lead United States Park Police

 Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

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Pamela A. Smith

Pamela A. Smith, a 23-year veteran of the United States Park Police, will lead the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency.

Smith, who became the first African American woman to lead the 230-year-old agency, immediately remarked that she would establish a body-worn camera program for USPP within 90 days.

The program will initially begin in San Francisco and be implemented across the country by the end of the year, Smith said.

“Body-worn cameras are good for the public and good for our officers, which is why I am prioritizing implementing a body-worn camera program within my first 90 days,” Smith offered in a statement.

 “This is one of the many steps we must take to continue to build trust and credibility with the public we have been entrusted to serve.”

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and graduated from the FBI National Academy. She is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

During her law enforcement career, the proud Zeta Phi Beta Sorority sister has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, canine handler, and academy instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

 According to a news release, Smith also served as executive lieutenant to the chief of police, assistant commander of the San Francisco Field Office, commander of the New York Field Office, acting deputy chief of the Homeland Security Division, and deputy chief for the Field Operations Division.

Smith was the first woman to lead the New York Field Office as its Major.

At the USPP, she will lead a 560-member workforce that protects the public, parks, and the nation’s most iconic landmarks in Wash., D.C., New York City, and San Francisco metropolitan areas.

“Chief Smith’s commitment to policing as public service and her willingness to listen and collaborate make her the right person to lead the U.S. Park Police at this pivotal moment in our country,” Shawn Benge, deputy director exercising the delegated authority of the NPS director, noted in a statement.

 “Over the coming months, the leadership of the National Park Service will explore opportunities with Chief Smith designed to strengthen our organization’s commitment to transparency. Her personal and professional experience make her acutely aware of and ready to meet the challenges and responsibilities that face U.S. Park Police and law enforcement agencies across the nation.”

 Jennifer Flynn, the associate director for Visitor Resource Protection at the National Park Service added that she’s looking forward to Smith’s leadership.

“Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

 “As federal law enforcement officers, the U.S. Park Police officers have a new opportunity each day to give their best to the American people. Chief Smith exemplifies that approach as a colleague and mentor, and she will be instrumental in refining and shaping the future of the organization,” Flynn said.

Smith declared that she would lead by example and expects all officers to display integrity.

 “I have dedicated my career to the professionalism of law enforcement, and it is my highest honor and privilege to serve as chief of police,” Chief Smith declared. “Today’s officers face many challenges, and I firmly believe challenges present opportunities. I look forward to leading this exemplary team as we carry out our mission with honesty and integrity.”  

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