Thursday, May 14, 2009

Legislation For Creating Green Jobs in Gulf Coast Recovery

The newly introduced Bipartisan Gulf Coast Civic Works Act of 2009 (HR 2269) (GCCW Act) promotes infrastructure, training, comprehensive flood protection and energy efficiency. The Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign, a diverse national partnership of community, environmental, faith-based, human rights and student organizations, applauds the introduction of this bipartisan legislation to rebuild more equitable and resilient communities across the areas still recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

The GCCW Act would create 100,000 “green” living wage jobs and training opportunities for Gulf Coast residents and displaced people to rebuild critical infrastructure, restore natural flood protection and increase energy efficiency. This important legislation allows the federal government to partner directly with local leaders and non-profits to address remaining recovery challenges while building resilience to climate change, mitigating the effects of future deadly storms and confronting poverty. It also addresses the challenges faced by internally displaced, elderly, disabled, women, low income, immigrant and minority communities.

Almost four years after Hurricane Katrina, our nation’s largest natural disaster, America’s Gulf Coast remains a domestic human rights crisis. As we approach the 2009 Hurricane Season beginning June 1st, levees remain vulnerable, tens of thousands of people have not been able to return home, schools, hospitals and transportation infrastructure remains damaged, and residents continue to struggle for access to affordable housing and living wage jobs.

The GCCW Act will efficiently allocate funds for job creation and infrastructure development, two significant recovery needs, by avoiding layers of governmental red tape and dispersing funds directly to the entities, regardless of sector, which are ready to do the work. The legislation will establish a pilot project not just for rebuilding the Gulf Coast from the 2005 hurricane season, but will also provide a community driven recovery plan for any and every part of America where natural or other disasters occur. Passing HR 2269 would be a bold stand for the basic human rights of displaced and low-income Gulf Coast residents, including the right to participate in the recovery, the right to return home with dignity and safety, and the right to decent work opportunities

HR 2269 was introduced in the U.S. House yesterday afternoon by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (CA), Rodney Alexander (LA), Joseph Cao (LA), Charlie Melancon (LA), Gene Taylor (MS), Bennie Thompson (MS), John Conyers (MI), Barbara Lee (CA), John Lewis (GA), Peter Stark (CA), and Charlie Rangel (NY).

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