Sanders, Bush Unveil Bill to Use the Defense Production Act to Fund Clean Energy

While President Joe Biden is doubling down on fossil fuels amid high prices for gas, Democratic and Progressive lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow them to invest in renewable energy instead to lower utility prices and increase energy independence in the U.S.

The Energy Security and Independence Act introduced WednesdayBy Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Representatives Cori bush (D.Missouri), it would allow Biden to invoke Defense Production Act in order to boost renewable energy production in America. It would authorize $100 Billion in funding and ensure that at most 40% of the funds go to communities in the hardest hit areas of the climate crisis.

The bill comes in wake of conservative calls to increase oil and gas production in response to gas prices shooting up due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Climate deniers claim that increasing domestic production fossil fuels is a way to energy independence. experts sayThe United States will always be dependent on international energy producers, as long as it is heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

Last week Biden announced that his administration will start unleashing oil from the U.S.’s strategic oil reserve in order to combat high gas prices, though some experts have saidHe and the climate are missing an opportunity by not focusing on renewable energies.

“The days of energy security being synonymous with a reliance on human rights violators like Russia and Saudi Arabia, or a propagation of corporate profits for Exxon, Chevron, and BP, are over,” Bush said in a statement.

“When we talk about energy security, it’s time we include the safety of Black and brown lives in that definition,” Bush continued, noting that notions of energy security should also take energy affordability, efficiency and the climate crisis into account.

The bill would continue to build momentum on renewable energy investments by creating the Domestic Renewable Energy Industrial Base Task Force to chart an all-ofgovernment plan to move towards 100 percent renewable energy. It would provide funding to improve supply chain and weatherization at home.

Legislators also want to finance heat pump installation as climate advocatesElectric heat pumps are a more efficient and climate-friendly method of heating and cooling your home. The bill would create “good, union jobs” to perform such installations, according to its fact sheet.

“Today, with rising prices on essential items and Russia’s horrific war in Ukraine, it is clear now more than ever: Addressing climate change and energy dependence is not just an environmental issue, it is a matter of national security,” Sanders said. “Not only would this legislation help us combat climate change and strengthen energy security and independence in the U.S., but it will help working families save money on their utility bills, create good, union jobs, and take on the greed of oligarchs both here and abroad.”

The bill has 27 House sponsors, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D.New York) and other progressive squad members. The bill’s six Senate cosponsors include Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts). It also has the support of more than 80 progressive and climate groups.

Biden has shown willingness to jumpstart climate-related products through the Defense Production Act, which is a wartime provision that encourages production of products critical to national security. He was inaugurated last week. invoked the Defense Production ActTo compel mining and processing of electric vehicle batteries and energy storage facility batteries.