Merkley, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Create Jobs and Modernize American Manufacturing

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA-08) are introducing in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, respectively, the Job Creation through Energy Efficient Manufacturing Act—legislation that would create jobs and help reduce energy costs for small and medium-sized manufacturers.

“If we don’t make things in America, we won’t have a middle class in America,” Merkley said. “Especially as our communities struggle with the economic ramifications of the coronavirus crisis, now is the time to invest in energy efficiency retrofits that will create good-paying and urgently-needed jobs, make America’s small manufacturing businesses more competitive, and reduce energy waste.”

More than 40 percent of energy used in the United States is consumed by the manufacturing sector, where there is an enormous opportunity for cost savings. Investing in cost-effective energy efficiency measures could save businesses hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

In addition to cutting energy costs, investing in energy-efficient manufacturing programs is a job multiplier. The energy efficiency sector already employs over 2 million workers, and it continues to grow. Well-paying jobs include manufacturing energy-efficient appliances, installing upgrades and technological research and development, among others.

The Job Creation through Energy Efficient Manufacturing Act will create manufacturing and construction jobs by authorizing up to $600 million to establish a Financing Energy Efficient Manufacturing Program under the Department of Energy (DOE). This funding can be used by small- to medium-sized manufacturers for energy-efficient upgrades like sustainability retrofits, onsite clean energy generation, power facilities that recycle and reuse waste energy and smart micro-grid systems. The program prioritizes American iron and steel materials along with American-made products.

This legislation is endorsed by the Blue Green Alliance, Combined Heat and Power Alliance, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and National Association of State Energy Officials.

Additional co-sponsors of this legislation in the U.S. House are Jerry McNerney (D-CA-09), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Jared Huffman (D-CA-02), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-NH-02), Ro Khanna (D-CA-17), Mark Pocan (D-WI-02), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL-23), Paul Tonko (D-NY-20), Peter Welch (D-VT-At Large), Steve Cohen (D-TN-09), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-At Large), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01), and Jim Himes (D-CT-04).