Democratic senators propose clean energy tax credits

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on the nomination of Rep. Debra Haaland, D-N.M., to be Secretary of the Interior on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Leigh Vogel/Pool via AP)
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Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Two U.S. senators from states with declining manufacturing sectors are pushing to invest $8 billion through tax credits to create clean energy jobs.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan unveiled legislation Monday that aims to help rural communities that have lost jobs in the coal and and fossil fuel industries.

The proposal is meant to incentivize companies producing batteries, electric and fuel cell vehicles, semiconductor chips and other renewable energy technologies.

The two Democrats said it would aim to uplift Appalachia, where the decline of coal has devastated local economies, and other parts of the country where manufacturing has declined. Half of the $8 billion would go to communities where coal mines have closed or coal power plants have shuttered. The other half would target the auto industry, Manchin said.

“This is basically what we need for people to make the investments so that people can have good jobs in the area where they want to live,” Manchin said.

The bill is similar to a 2009 tax credit Stabenow authored to help the manufacturing sector recover from the Great Recession. She said the new proposal would help produce parts and technologies necessary for a clean energy supply chain.

“We don’t have to be counting on it coming from overseas. We don’t have to have China doing the majority of the solar panels, or the majority of the batteries,” she said in a Zoom news conference with Manchin. “We can do that here. And these are great paying jobs, they are union jobs.”