WASHINGTON, February 12 – Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today was appointed chairman of the Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Since joining the Senate, Sanders has coauthored two major green collar jobs programs: the green jobs training program and the Energy and Environmental Block Grant program. Both were signed into law in 2007.
“Today we face the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. There is no better moment to move forward aggressively on energy efficiency and creating new sustainable energy and creating jobs in the process," Sanders said. “The potential for job growth in this area is bigger than almost anything else I can think of.”
The green jobs legislation authorized funding to train workers in green collar jobs that involve the design, manufacture, installation, operation, and maintenance of clean, efficient energy technologies. The legislation creating the program was coauthored by Sanders and then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. In the House, Representatives John F. Tierney and Hilda L. Solis were the lead sponsors.
The Department of Labor administers the job-training program. Solis, President Obama’s nominee to head the department, testified at her confirmation hearing that she would move the program forward, something the Bush administration failed to do.
The Energy and Environmental Block Grant program, which Sanders coauthored with Senator Robert Menendez, authorized funding directly to states, cities, towns, and counties to invest in technologies and approaches that improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and decrease overall energy use.
Both programs are expected to see significant added funding as part of an economic recovery package nearing final passage by Congress.