Amy Klobuchar’s bill offers a step towards a federal Buy Clean policy, a key policy under a Green New Deal. The bill would require enviro, labor data reporting from manufacturers etc for those bidding on govt contracts.
June 17, 2019
The Buy Clean Transparency Act would increase the information available to federal government offices about the greenhouse gas emissions associated with public projects in order to boost the competitiveness of sustainably produced American-made goods and reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout global supply chains
The bill is cosponsored by Senators Bennett, Merkley, and Smith
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced new legislation to identify and incentivize American manufacturers using sustainable practices. Studies have shown that U.S.-made materials often produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than foreign-made materials, but most countries fail to include these emissions in their estimates of domestic emissions. The Buy Clean Transparency Act would require the federal government to assess the amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with proposed public projects, giving agencies the information they need to consider sustainable when awarding government contracts. The legislation would not only help mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout global supply chains—it would also create good jobs and benefit domestic manufacturers who engage in sustainable practices but whose efforts have been underappreciated during bids for federal projects.
The Buy Clean Transparency Act is cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennett (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Tina Smith (D-MN), and supported by the Sierra Club.
“American-made goods are often produced more sustainably than foreign-made materials, but those green practices aren’t taken into account when bidding for government contracts,” Klobuchar said. “Our legislation will help manufacturers here at home that have proven their dedication to fighting climate change by giving federal agencies the information to take those efforts into consideration during the bidding process, creating new opportunities to fight climate change and reduce emissions across global supply chains.”
Specifically, the Buy Clean Transparency Act would:
- Direct the heads of Federal contracting agencies such as the Department of Transportation to carry out an assessment to determine the pollution associated with the production of goods they procure for public projects.
- Require prospective contractors to disclose the environmental cost of steel rebar, flat glass, mineral wool board insulation, and structural steel used in public projects.
- Direct the EPA to issue rules for calculating the environmental product cost of materials procured by contracting agencies for public projects.
- Require reporting on the number and value of contracts awarded, including those to foreign contractors or suppliers, as well as the dollar value and environmental cost of materials procured by the United States.
“We cannot afford for the government to buy billions of dollars worth of goods without knowing whether they support good jobs and climate solutions, or further fuel the climate crisis. Senator Klobuchar’s transparency bill is a strong step towards enacting “Buy Clean” standards, and the Sierra Club is proud to support this legislation,” said Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club Legislative Director.
In her time in the Senate, Klobuchar has supported a comprehensive approach to combatting climate change that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the development of energy efficient technologies and homegrown energy resources. As a member of the Senate Climate Action Taskforce, she has fought to ensure that efforts to address the threat of climate change are a part of our nation’s energy and environmental policy. In May, Klobuchar joined Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and 24 colleagues to introduce legislation to support an innovative, low carbon economy through investments in clean energy. The Clean Energy for America Act would consolidate the current 44 energy incentives into three technology-neutral provisions that encourage clean electricity, clean transportation, and energy efficiency. Klobuchar strongly supports the Paris Climate Agreement and has cosponsored legislation that would prevent the Administration from using funds to withdraw from the Agreement. She has also opposed cabinet members who doubt the science of climate change and deny that it is occurring. In April, Klobuchar and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced bipartisan legislation to help rural communities access renewable energy. The Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy (EASE) Act will assist rural communities and rural electricity cooperatives overcome the barriers to renewable energy storage and grid improvements by providing access to relevant resources and expertise.