Labor and environmental leaders join House Democrats in announcing joint Blue-Green legislative agenda

HARRISBURG, April 17 – On Tuesday, Labor and environmental advocates from across Pennsylvania joined members of the state House of Representatives’ Blue-Green Caucus to announce a joint legislative agenda to combat climate change while creating good-paying union jobs.

The 11-bill package would boost clean energy production, advance key conservation goals, and create union jobs in growing clean-energy fields like weatherization and the solar energy industry. Bills in the package would also lower energy costs for consumers, increase funding for public transit, and protect Pennsylvania families and union workers from attempts to privatize water and wastewater systems.

The 55 member Blue-Green Caucus, led by state Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., have been convening labor and environmental leaders to break down imposed barriers that often polarize the groups and instead tapping into their shared belief that strong environmental policies must go hand-in-hand with labor protections.

“Everyone, from electricians to clean-air advocates, wants the same thing: a better future for their kids,” said Fiedler. “It’s time to challenge the narrative that labor and environmental interests are at odds. This package of nearly a dozen bills proves we can unite around a vision for a blue-green future.”

“Pennsylvanians don’t have to choose between good jobs and protecting the environment,” said Katie Blume, political and legislative director of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, a statewide environmental advocacy group. “The legislation being announced today brings together both environmental advocates and our friends in labor around a shared vision. We want to leverage the power of the 21st century clean-energy economy to fight climate change while positioning Pennsylvania to compete on the global stage and attract family sustaining union jobs.”

“The legislation that we’re proposing today in partnership with the Blue-Green Caucus and our partners in the environmental community will put hardworking Pennsylvanians to work while reducing costs for taxpayers and businesses and helping to boost energy production in Pennsylvania,” said Robert S. Bair, president of the Pennsylvania Building Trades Council. “We call on the legislature to quickly send these commonsense measures to Governor Shapiro’s desk so our members can get to work.”

“These bills should be sent to Governor Shapiro’s desk immediately,” said Robert Routh, Pennsylvania policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “For years, NRDC has worked alongside LCV, the Sierra Club, and allies in labor to equitably address the climate crisis and grow our highly skilled Pennsylvania workforce. We are transitioning to a cleaner, more affordable economy, and high-quality union jobs are absolutely necessary. The bills in this package represent a commonsense approach that will attract significant federal investments and meet the governor's three-part test for climate and energy policy."

“The IBEW stands ready to advance the legislation package set forth by the Blue-Green Caucus. This is a chance to create employment opportunities and preserve the environment at the same time,” said Kris Anderson, a representative of the IBEW Third District. “As we embark on what the future of energy will look like in PA, The IBEW is prepared to embrace these exciting new opportunities to put our members to work while expanding our ranks.”

“We believe a healthy environment is an integral part of a strong economy and healthy communities. We are thrilled to be working with labor in developing a clean-energy economy, creating good union jobs, and ensuring no one is left behind,” said Nate Reagle, Clean Energy Program advocate for Sierra Club Pennsylvania. “The bills we are all working to pass are win-win, no-regret solutions that benefit us all.”

The 11-bill package positions Pennsylvania to take advantage of President Biden’s landmark infrastructure and climate laws, which are investing more than $370 billion to create union jobs while boosting clean energy and tackling pressing environmental justice issues.

The package rolled out Tuesday highlights the commitment of PA House Democrats to make Pennsylvania a leader in environmental protection while also lowering costs for local businesses and families and creating union jobs.

A list of the entire package can be found here.