5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and Senator Chris Murphy are each introducing legislation to combat climate change and create jobs in the clean-energy sector. The measure calls for a $50 billion capitalization of the national Green Bank. But they have left it open to discussion how to pay for that investment since there are different rules in the House and Senate.
They say this will help bolster the Connecticut Green Bank, which was the first of its kind in the country. The entity just marked 5 years in existence.
Esty says the climate change debate is not a choice between protecting the environment or protecting jobs, it can be both. The legislation establishes a national green bank to fund clean energy and energy efficient projects.
Esty says she wants to reclaim America's leadership in the clean energy market. She says the wind industry employes 102,000 people, the natural gas industry employs 262,000 people and the solar industry employs 374,000 people.
The biggest obstacle Green Banks face is a lack of access to large scale financing.
Esty says climate change will be the defining economic and social challenge of the century. She called this bill a pragmatic, market-driven plan to create jobs, help businesses reduce energy costs and ensure this country does its part to protect the environment.
Senator Chris Murphy says because of the withdrawl from the Paris Climate Agreement, some country will be the beneficiary of millions of new jobs in green energy, and right now it's not going to be America. He says this country is ceding global leadership on renewable energy jobs. If sensible, pro-growth, pro-environment policies soon, Murphy says America will be left out in the cold.
Murphy called the Connecticut Green Bank a huge success. He says the entity has helped create 13,000 direct or indirect jobs.
Curtis Packaging has operated in Newtown since 1845 and is a small to mid-sized manufacturer. Vice President of Operations Kerry Brown says the new owner bought the company in 2003 and has focused on environmental responsibility. They use wind, solar and natural gas power, the company is 100 percent carbon neutral, recycles 98 percent and is 100 percent landfill-free.
Other businesses that have benefitted from Connecticut Green Bank investment include Tier ONE Machining and Assembly in Newtown and Defeo Manufacturing in Brookfield.