Fact Sheet: President Biden Tackles Methane Emissions, Spurs Innovations, and Supports Sustainable Agriculture to Build a Clean Energy Economy and Create Jobs

Leaders representing industry, labor organizations, and environmental nonprofits applauded the Biden-Harris Administration’s new actions under its Federal Buy Clean Initiative to spur the development of low-carbon construction materials made in America while supporting good-paying jobs. Last Thursday, Deputy National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and U.S. General Services Administration Administrator Robin Carnahan, and announced the Federal Government will prioritize the purchase of key low carbon construction materials, covering 98% of materials purchased by the Federal Government, while visiting a Cleveland-Cliffs Direct Reduction steel plant in Toledo.

See below for what they’re saying:

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: “I’m glad to see the Biden administration using the buying power of the federal government to boost domestic clean manufacturing and expand the use of low-carbon materials. That means more jobs & innovation, and less of the carbon pollution that is responsible for climate change.” [Tweet, 9/18/22]

AFL-CIO: “Secretary @PeteButtigieg and other administration leaders joined @Steelworkers #union members at Cleveland Cliffs direct reduction steel facility in #Toledo today. A model for how new investments in clean construction materials and good #union #jobs go together!” [Tweet, 9/15/22]

Ohio AFL-CIO: “The @POTUS administration keeps stepping up for good #Ohio #union jobs. @USDOT Secretary @PeteButtigieg joined Deputy National Climate Advisor @alizaidi46 GSA Administrator @RobinCarnahan in #toledo with @steelworkers from Cleveland Cliffs to promote clean steel manufacturing.” [Tweet, 9/15/22]

BlueGreen Alliance, Building Transparency, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Rocky Mountain Institute, and Third Way Joint Statement:“The Biden Administration is taking another major step towards meeting our climate goals by using the government’s vast purchasing power to grow the market for clean materials, helping to reduce industrial pollution, revitalize manufacturing, and create quality jobs for workers. As the largest purchaser of common construction materials like concrete and steel, the federal government is uniquely positioned to accelerate an already growing demand for cleaner products. Today’s announcement that the federal government will prioritize the procurement of low-embodied carbon materials for public works projects is the latest example of the Administration’s commitment to tackling industrial emissions while supporting U.S. manufacturing workers who produce some of the cleanest materials in the world. This important initiative to Buy Clean is designed to work in concert with the robust industrial investments in the Inflation Reduction Act, including roughly $5 billion to pilot the procurement of lower carbon concrete, steel, and other construction materials and a suite of programs and tax incentives to drive emissions reductions in these emissions-intensive heavy industrial sectors. These unprecedented investments complement the Task Force’s recommendations, and will help ensure a stronger, cleaner, and more resilient U.S. manufacturing base.” [Statement, 9/16/22]

Kevin Dempsey, President, American Iron and Steel Institute: “We are pleased that the administration continues to recognize that the American steel industry is leading the way on decarbonization, as reflected in today’s announcement to prioritize the government’s purchase of lower-emissions construction materials for federally-funded projects. Of the major steel-producing countries, the U.S. has the lowest CO2 emissions per ton of steel produced. Our entire industry continues to make key investments to further decrease carbon emissions and advance our leadership position on sustainability. Today’s announcement recognizes the innovations and advancements being made by American steel producers, and we look forward to working with the government agencies to continue to incentivize the use of clean American-made steel as this initiative is implemented.” [Statement, 9/15/22]

Sean O’Neill, Senior Vice-President of Government Affairs, Portland Cement Association:“The Portland Cement Association (PCA) appreciates the Biden Administration’s formal announcement of its Buy Clean Initiative and the continued push to make the federal procurement process more sustainable. Our members share the Administration’s goal of reducing greenhouse gases in the built environment. We remain committed to working with policymakers to arrive at reasonable and realistic solutions that achieve reductions without harming the U.S. economy, the environment, or our communities. PCA looks forward to continuing our partnership with the Administration in developing federal procurement policies that evaluate construction materials over their entire lifecycle. Buy Clean initiatives must fully account for all greenhouse gas emissions, decarbonization, and project design to achieve lower GHG emissions over the project lifecycle.” [Statement, 9/16/22]

U.S. Climate Alliance: “We welcome these new #BuyClean actions from @WhiteHouse, which build on important work from our states. We look forward to expanding markets for clean manufacturing and low carbon materials as we continue to align and strengthen our efforts.” [Tweet, 9/15/22]

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES): “We applaud the #BuyClean Task Force and @WhiteHouse Council on Environmental Quality’s (@WHCEQ) efforts to incentivize greater uptake of lower carbon construction materials while also supporting U.S. #manufacturing and creating domestic jobs.” [Tweet, 9/15/22]

Rocky Mountain Institute: “🚨BREAKING: The @WhiteHouse has ambitious #BuyClean goals to reduce emissions from their 2.8B sq ft of federal buildings! Our analysis shows potential emission reduction up to 15M metric tons = to emissions of more than 3M gas powered cars for a year ⤵️ https://bit.ly/3S2I9a2” [Tweet, 9/15/22]

Basil Seggos, Commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation, and Jeanette Moy, Commissioner, New York State Office of General Services: “On the eve of Climate Week 2022 in New York State, we applaud the Biden Administration for taking additional actions to further advance the nation’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change head on. This announcement builds on the historic Inflation Reduction Act investments that will support state and local initiatives to decarbonize the economy and ensure the purchasing power of the federal government contributes to the sustainability efforts being made in our state. In New York, we are proud to work alongside the federal government and all of our partners to achieve our emissions reduction targets and a cleaner, more sustainable environment for future generations.” [Statement, 9/15/22]

Scott Paul, President, Alliance for American Manufacturing: “American workers and manufacturers are already leading the way in transitioning to a cleaner economy, making major investments to lower carbon emissions and do their part to address climate change. Buy Clean provides an opportunity to boost to American manufacturers and workers who are doing the hard work to build a cleaner industrial sector….Climate change is one of the most daunting problems of our time, but the United States can lead the way in addressing it if we get our policy response right. Let’s make sure Buy Clean builds upon Buy America so we can turn our climate challenges into new opportunities and build a green economy that is truly Made in America.” [Statement, 9/15/22]

Jason Walsh, Executive Director, BlueGreen Alliance: “The benefits of Buy Clean, done right, will ripple throughout the American manufacturing sector to workers and communities across the nation,” said. “We welcome and applaud the leadership of the Biden administration in working to implement this transformational policy at the federal level. By leveling the playing field for American manufacturers already taking steps to drive down emissions, Buy Clean will bolster good manufacturing jobs and create a race to the top, encouraging others to innovate to support clean air and a livable climate.” [Statement, 9/15/22]

Max Puchtel, Director of Government Relations and Sustainability, American Institute of Steel Construction: “We applaud the Biden administration’s efforts to lower emissions in the construction sector, and we look forward to continued collaboration with the Federal Buy Clean Task Force. As America already leads the world in producing low-embodied-carbon fabricated structural steel and transparently disclosing environmental impacts–all while responsibly complying with environmental and labor regulations–the structural steel industry is uniquely positioned to continue its leadership role and deliver on the administration’s Buy Clean and Buy America priorities.” [Statement, 9/15/22]

Michael LeMonds, VP, Member of the U.S. Executive Team, Holcim US: “Holcim US, the largest cement, concrete and building materials manufacturer in the United States, welcomes the new Biden-Harris Buy Clean actions to reduce embodied carbon in the built environment. The federal government’s commitment to sourcing low-carbon products will enable Holcim to invest in American manufacturing, help launch new low-carbon products, and help us build the future for people and the planet.  At Holcim, we know the future is not written, it’s built. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration to ensure we build a future that delivers on Holcim’s Accelerating Green Growth Strategy, sets the building materials industry on a path towards net-zero, and builds a more sustainable future for all.” [Statement, 9/16/22]

Sasha Stashwick, Director of Industrial Policy, Climate & Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council: “Today the Task Force announced that the federal government will prioritize low carbon procurement across four major materials categories – steel, concrete, asphalt, and flat glass and Secretary Buttigieg announced that he will embed Buy Clean principles into everything the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) does agency-wide, showing that the administration is serious about putting these policies to work and at a major scale. This means that an astounding 98% of materials purchased by the federal government, across both the GSA and DOT, will be in service of decarbonizing our industrial sector and infrastructure and creating green jobs. Coupled with billions in investments to retrofit industrial facilities and other incentives to slash U.S. industrial emissions, this is exactly the kind of holistic and robust federal investment in climate progress for this sector we’ve long needed.” [Blog, 9/15/22]

Breakthrough Energy: “To create a net-zero economy, we need to leverage the power of the federal government to spur demand for clean technology. The newest @WhiteHouse #BuyClean Initiative actions will prioritize procurement of lower-carbon materials like steel and concrete.” [Tweet, 9/16/2022]

Rebecca Dell, Program Director for Industry, ClimateWorks Foundation: “The first requirement for a manufacturing and construction sector that produces clean products and clean structures is that somebody must be willing to pay for them. Strong policies like the one announced today can facilitate that through robust public purchasing commitments and market creation. We applaud this decision and look forward to working with the Buy Clean Task Force and our grantee partners to help ensure the strongest implementation possible.” [Statement, 9/15/22]

Mike Williams, senior fellow, Center for American Progress: “This is a transformational move that will help reduce climate emissions and create good jobs for American workers. Once again, the Biden administration is leading the way on climate change, using the government’s vast purchasing power to Buy Clean and spur development of low-carbon construction materials. This plan will have a ripple effect across the nation to encourage innovation and boost job growth in clean manufacturing.” [Statement, 9/15/2022]

Ben Beachy, Vice President of Manufacturing and Industrial Policy, BlueGreen Alliance: “The U.S. government is the largest purchaser on Earth. Buy Clean uses the government’s vast purchasing power to drive demand for low-emissions materials, so that taxpayer dollars for bridges and roads go to steel and concrete manufacturers that support clean air, quality jobs, and a livable climate. Coupled with investment in emerging technologies and clean manufacturing processes, Buy Clean will help to renew American manufacturing.” [Statement, 9/15/2022]

Hebah Kassem, Acting Director, Living Economy Program, Sierra Club: “We are heartened to see President Biden making good on his climate commitments by tackling the massive problem of industrial pollution. Implementing clean procurement standards for manufacturing goods in an equitable and rigorous manner could make significant strides in addressing the negative health effects that fenceline communities have long suffered. Directing federal agencies to invest in materials such as clean steel and clean concrete for infrastructure projects leverages billions of dollars in government contracts to drive demand for clean manufacturing. Such large-scale investment in industrial transformation is absolutely vital in ensuring public health, supporting workers, and advancing our climate goals. These efforts by the Buy Clean task force — in concert with the Inflation Reduction Act’s investments in clean manufacturing — could significantly reduce pollution throughout the country’s industrial supply chains while creating high-quality jobs for working families.” [Statement, 9/15/22]

Sara Fontes, Government Affairs Advocate, League of Conservation Voters: “Today’s announcement further advances the administration’s all-of-government approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating the climate crisis, and marks an early step in the implementation of the significant job-creating industrial investments in the historic Inflation Reduction Act signed into law just a few weeks ago. We know robust executive and state action will be crucial to meeting President Biden’s goal of reducing climate pollution by 50% by 2030, and we applaud the administration on this important step forward…We’re thrilled that the administration also announced its intention to work with states to expand Buy Clean initiatives, to increase supply chain transparency, and to launch pilot programs across the country – all supported by investments included in the Inflation Reduction Act. Together, these important initiatives will help expand and secure the market for clean materials, reduce emissions from hard to decarbonize industrial sectors, and deliver on President Biden’s promise to revitalize American manufacturing while creating good-paying union jobs.” [Statement, 9/15/22]

Traci Forrester, Executive Vice President, Environmental and Sustainability, Cleveland-Cliffs: “Cleveland-Cliffs was honored to be recognized by Secretary Buttigieg, GSA Administrator Carnahan and Deputy White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi for our transformational investment in our state-of-the-art Toledo Direct Reduction Plant.  Cleveland-Cliffs’ greatest contribution to fighting climate change will be providing the steel needed to support the modernization of our U.S. transportation sector and related infrastructure.  Today’s announcements by the White House highlight the carbon advantage of American-made steel and will complement the Biden Administration’s Build America, Buy America policies in ensuring that our steel products are used in major infrastructure projects going forward.” [Statement, 9/16/22]

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