Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, June 3, 2021

Contact:

Jean Su, (415) 770-3187, jsu@biologicaldiversity.org

Congressional Resolution Calls for Public Power System to Combat Climate Emergency

WASHINGTON— Democratic House Representatives Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman have introduced a congressional resolution that calls for transforming the country’s largely private energy system into a publicly owned and governed network. The resolution also urges a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and a ban on utility shutoffs, which disproportionately affect low-wealth people and communities of color.

“Our for-profit energy system is broken. It lines corporate fossil fuel utilities’ pockets while poisoning communities of color, curtailing their access to energy and fueling the climate and extinction emergencies,” said Jean Su, director of the Energy Justice program at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We can’t just build back better. We need to build back justly. We applaud Rep. Bush and Rep. Bowman for introducing this resolution, which pioneers a new energy system that is renewable, democratic, anti-racist and public.”

The unprecedented resolution calls for empowering the federal government to acquire private utility companies that have failed to meet 100% energy and justice targets by 2030. The resolution also envisions directing resources to community-owned and rooftop solar and storage to enhance climate resilience and energy affordability, as well as establishing a ban on utility disconnections to address the shutoffs crisis that has ballooned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resolution also calls for requiring all federal public power providers, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, to transition to 100% renewable energy and impose accountable governance systems.

Historically, fossil fuel energy generation has disproportionately impacted Black people and other communities of color, who face greater threat of pollution and disconnection from service due to poverty.

The resolution follows the Biden administration’s release of an infrastructure package that does not address the energy system’s private market failures. The Texas energy crisis in February, for example, left more than 4 million homes and business without power for several days.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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