U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse of Lafayette is taking credit for landing more than $50 billion in stimulus money for the proposed 21st Century Climate Conservation Corps.
The first $10 billion would go to hire thousands of young people and veterans starting out at $15 an hour, followed by $40 billion for local resilience and wildfire preparedness projects and other work to cut emissions, administered by the Department of Interior and the U.S. Forest Service.
“For over a year, we’ve been working to enlist a diverse, new generation of Americans to restore our public lands, suppress Western wildfires and tackle the climate crisis, and I am thrilled to see our vision becoming a reality through the Build Back Better Act,” Neguse said in a statement. “We’ve said from the beginning that to establish a Climate Conservation Corps, we must both invest in a new natural resources workforce to put more people to work on our public lands, and massively scale up our investments in programs run by the Department of Interior and U.S. Forest Service which will restore our forests, protect our watersheds and help us tackle catastrophic Western wildfires.
"With these components included in the Build Back Better Act, I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that these funds and our vision for the plan passes through the House this fall.”
The package also would include $1 billion for vegetation and watershed management, $100 million for trail maintenance and $250 million to restore burn areas, Neguse's office said.
Neguse unveiled the proposal in April with fellow Democrats Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, with U.S. Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware, Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, both of New Mexico.
Democrats are united behind the idea.
“I am using my power as majority leader to ensure that the Civilian Climate Corps will be included in the reconciliation package, and I will fight to get the biggest, boldest CCC possible,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said at a press conference outside the Capitol in July.