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Jay Inslee unveils ‘Evergreen Economy Plan’ focused on clean energy, jobs, infrastructure

Democratic presidential candidate and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has unveiled his “Evergreen Economy Plan,” a $9 trillion plan for the US that would create 8 million jobs over the next decade, centered around clean energy initiatives.

Inslee’s Evergreen Economy for America is centered on “good jobs, clean energy and modern infrastructure.” The 34-page plan includes a wide array of ideas and policies, which all fit into five “key strategies for economic growth”:

  1. Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy
  2. Building Sustainable & Climate-Smart Infrastructure
  3. Leading the World in Clean Manufacturing
  4. Investing in Innovation & Scientific Research
  5. Ensuring Good Jobs with Family Supporting Wages & Benefits

The Evergreen Economy Plan is the second major policy announcement from Inslee’s Climate Mission agenda, following the Clean Energy for America plan he announced a few weeks ago.

There’s a lot to Inslee’s latest plan, but we’ll highlight some of the key policies under each “strategy.” The clean energy economy effort includes:

…establishing a ReBuild America Initiative to upgrade millions of buildings over the next two-plus decades; a $90 billion Green Bank for clean energy deployment; a Next Generation Rural Electrification Initiative; programs to support energy democracy and community-led energy transformation; and grants in lieu of tax incentives for clean energy installation.

Inslee’s sustainable and “climate-smart” infrastructure policy ideas include addressing EV charging infrastructure:

Governor Inslee will double investment in public transit, dramatically expand electric car-charging infrastructure, and launch a Clean Water for All Initiative to close the $82 billion annual funding gap in critical drinking water, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure.

The clean manufacturing part of Inslee’s plan touches on EVs, as well, while also targeting new technologies and fuels:

…making major investments in domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles and batteries; establishing a federal “Buy Clean” Program to help close the carbon loophole and support domestic industries and workers; creating a new Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit; and utilizing entities such as the Export-Import Bank to increase exports of made-in-America clean energy solutions.

Inslee calls for a much larger investment in research, aiming to “increase U.S. clean energy and climate solutions research investment to $35 billion each year, more than 5 times the current funding.”

Notably, the fifth strategy aims to ensure high-paying, high-skilled jobs, and to “reunionize and empower workers.” Specific policies include:

…enacting a “G.I. Bill” for impacted fossil fuel workers and communities; repealing the Taft-Hartley Act provisions that allow so-called “Right-to-Work” laws; redoubling commitment to national apprenticeship programs and creating and enforcing protections for gender pay equity.

Specifics on these policy ideas and other issues can be found in the full plan, which touches on everything from advanced battery manufacturing to stopping methane leaks, increasing climate education to federal wages, and also electric scooters and e-bikes.

Electrek’s Take

There’s a lot to dig into here, as Inslee has presented a rather exhaustive plan which maintains coherence, as it offers up a large number of proposed policies and solutions to climate and economic issues. Inslee is still living up to his position as “the climate change candidate,” and he’s doing more than just giving that label lip service.

Though his latest plan shares more than a few broad similarities with the Green New Deal — it even kicks off with a reference to FDR’s New Deal — it doesn’t mention the GND once. Inslee is clearly charting his own path here.

Sure, he’s no one’s idea of a frontrunner, but it’s nice to see a candidate putting forth actionable ideas and a comprehensive vision early in the process, and we’re looking forward to seeing Inslee in the debates. He’s still pushing for an all-climate debate, as well — we’ll see if that comes to pass.

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Phil Dzikiy is an Editor/Writer with Electrek/9to5Mac. Tips: