Rush Introduces Bicameral Legislation to Create One Million Jobs Through Environmental Conservation Projects

Nov 12, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) introduced the Restore Employment in Natural and Environmental Work (RENEW) Conservation Corps Act, which would create a civilian conservation corps to provide communities with job training and employment opportunities related to the outdoor recreation economy and green infrastructure projects. This legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

“The ongoing pandemic has presented our nation and it’s communities with countless challenges and hardships, which includes enduring the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression. With this in mind, it is essential that Congress pursue every avenue to restore the prospect of well-paying jobs and occupational training,” said Rep. Rush. “This is why I am pleased to join Senator Durbin in introducing legislation today to establish the RENEW Conservation Corps program, which would deliver much-needed workforce training and employment opportunities within our communities by tackling the backlog of deferred conservation projects.”

“America’s outdoor spaces have provided recreation for generations, and this year we’ve seen how important and valuable they’ve been to countless Americans looking for a respite. If we are to leave these natural gifts to the next generation, we have to take responsibility in protecting them,” Senator Durbin said. “This bill is a straightforward approach to creating one million jobs that can address maintenance and restoration of our greatest natural resources and recreation areas. This is an investment to protect the beauty of America’s natural treasures.”

“Access to public and natural spaces is an essential part of our individual and collective health and well-being,” said Jerry Adelmann, President and CEO of Openlands, a conservation organization active in the Chicago region.  “With the RENEW Conservation Corps Act, we will welcome a new generation of jobs that restore and preserve our natural lands and waters and create more inclusive and inviting places for all to enjoy and connect with nature.”

The RENEW Conservation Corps Act establishes the new conservation corps program at the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture and authorizes more than $55 billion over a five-year period to put one million Americans to work to address the backlog of deferred conservation projects. To ensure a diverse workforce, the bill requires participants be reflective of the demographics in the area where the project is being completed. In addition, those participating in the program that complete a full year of work would be eligible to receive up to $5,500 credit for post-secondary education.