Environmental, labor advocates join lawmakers to discuss local benefits of federal climate investments

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Media Contact:
Lee Francis | Deputy Director
434-989-3197 | lfrancis@valcv.org


CHESAPEAKE – Tuesday, April 23, on the heels of Earth Day and the announcement of hundreds of millions of dollars of clean energy funding coming to the Commonwealth, labor and environmental advocates joined Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-3) and Delegate Bonita Anthony (HD-92) at the United Association’s Local 110 Training Facility to discuss the economic and environmental benefits of federal clean energy investment to Hampton Roads and to tour the facility where UA Local 110 helps prepare the next generation of skilled workers for the workforce. Here is a recording of speakers’ remarks. 

“Thanks to investments made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, Hampton Roads is leading the clean energy transition,” said Congressman Scott. “This is good for the climate and good for energy reliability, but it also creates opportunities for workers. By developing a skilled workforce, we can create new, good-paying jobs here in Hampton Roads and provide our community with clean, affordable energy.”

“I’ve been at the forefront of workforce diversification, advocating for tailored training pathways in Hampton Roads. Leveraging our academic backbone, including Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, and Tidewater Community College, we’re preparing a skilled labor force for the clean energy sector,” said Delegate Anthony. “Through initiatives like Tidewater Community College’s Apprenticeship Institute and House Bill 1345, we’re not only creating pathways to well-paying careers but also advocating for union jobs and ensuring that opportunities within the district prioritize Virginia workers, securing a prosperous future for all.”

The billions of dollars of investment from federal laws such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act are translating into clear economic and environmental benefits in the Commonwealth – the only southern state with a plan to reach 100% clean energy by mid-century.

“We can best address climate change by also investing in a well-trained professional workforce,” said Michael Town, Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. “Thanks to the leadership of the Biden Administration and members of Congress like Congressman Scott, we are seeing unprecedented federal investment in clean energy, climate action and workforce development. In a state like Virginia where we’re already working toward 100% clean energy deployment, these resources can help support and accelerate this transition.”

As we’re securing cleaner air and working to address the climate crisis, we’re also building a new economy, creating good-paying union jobs in Hampton Roads

“As the country transitions to a cleaner economy and we grow our supply chain for critical infrastructure, we need to develop a workforce who will build this new economy,” said Dan Taylor, Appalachian Regional Field Organizer with BlueGreen Alliance. “Thanks to the historic federal investments passed by President Biden, Rep. Scott, and his colleagues, the demand for these highly skilled workers—like UA members—is expected to skyrocket in the coming years. That’s why the rigorous apprenticeship and training programs offered by unions are so crucial.”

“The historic federal investments we’re seeing rolled out now leave us with a huge opportunity to create the good, union jobs Virginians need,” said Kris Begolly, business manager of the United Association’s Plumbers and Pipefitter Local 110. “This funding will help address real problems in our infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, and other sectors. The high-quality, union-led apprenticeship programs offered by this local union and other construction trades across the Hampton Roads area are already helping us to prepare workers to step into these good-paying careers.”

About us:
The Virginia League of Conservation Voters serves as the political voice of the state’s conservation community, working to make sure Virginia’s elected officials recognize that our natural heritage is an environmental and economic treasure for all. Virginia LCV works with conservation leaders across Virginia and strives for a conservation majority in state government. We secure good public policies on the state level and hold public officials accountable for their positions on environmental issues. For more information, visit www.valcv.org.