Mayors in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia recently unveiled a US$60-billion Marshall Plan for Middle America, intended to accelerate a compassionate, equitable, just, and sustainable transition away from fossil fuels.
“The plan comes as the Ohio Valley region is projected to lose 100,000 jobs in the next few years with the decline of the fossil fuel industry,” reports Utility Dive.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto began his public push for the non-partisan plan a year ago, along with a team of lawmakers, academics, and policy experts who are backing the blueprint for a sustainable, compassionate future for the Midwest. Now, they’re hoping that “investing in a greener economy will create around 270,000 direct and indirect jobs in renewable energy, as well as 140,000 ‘induced jobs’ that support those employment opportunities.” In total, the plan could result in a “cumulative average of 410,000 new jobs each year.”
The goal is to generate secure and well-paying employment to replace what will be lost as the oil and gas industry, long “the lynchpin of many local economies in the region for generations,” comes to the end of the line, Utility Dive writes.
At the core of the plan is a call for funds, both federal and private. To launch the plan, the mayors are asking for “$15 billion in block grants to local governments for retrofits and conversions to make buildings more energy efficient; $15 billion in low-interest loans for clean energy production; $15 billion in tax incentives for manufacturers to develop clean energy equipment; and $15 billion in work force development funds to help further understanding of clean energy.”
While noting that local actions are already being taken to support the shift to a green economy, including pooling procurements of renewables, proponents of the plan are still stressing the urgent need for federal assistance, “especially for jurisdictions in the rural and suburban parts of Appalachia that struggle economically.”
While the mayors say the plan is “just a ‘starting point’ in discussions around regional development,” Utility Dive adds that it could still “galvanize $1.24 trillion in public and private investments over the next 30 years if it is successful.”