WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today joined the Environmental Law & Policy Center’s (ELPC) monthly forum, ELPC Thinks, to deliver a speech highlighting the impact the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make by investing in climate solutions, clean renewable energy, and clean transportation solutions. During his speech, Durbin spoke about the rich, natural resources the Midwest is home to, including the Great Lakes, and touched on how the federal government will protect the lakes’ health with a $1 billion investment in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

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“The next step is moving forward the Build Back Better package. Between the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better package, Democrats are proposing roughly $900 billion toward addressing the climate threat. This would be the largest investment in climate action in history,” Durbin said. “These proposals will accelerate our nation’s transition to a clean energy future, upgrade our power grid, and the rest of our physical infrastructure to withstand the strains of a changing climate, and they will establish America as the global leader in sustainable innovation.”

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Durbin went on to discuss his proposal to invest in public lands by establishing a new Civilian Climate Conservation Corps, putting nearly 300,000 Americans to work, through his RENEW Conservation Corps Act.

Durbin concluded by emphasizing the role Illinois will play in the electric vehicle revolution as Rivian has begun manufacturing in the previously-closed Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois.

“Illinois is already primed to be a leader for an economy addressing climate change, and a model for others around the country to follow…Today, that once-shuttered factory is now manufacturing the first mass-produced electric truck in America…Here’s why this is good news, not just for Illinois, but the entire world – each additional Rivian truck on the road will help confront the threat of climate change. Transportation accounts for more than a fourth of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. If every vehicle on the road were electric, we’d be well on our way to a green future,” Durbin said.

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