May 27, 2021

Cortez Masto Introduces Legislation to Create a National Climate Service Corps

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced legislation to create a National Climate Service Corps within AmeriCorps. The corps would provide opportunities for Americans to serve their communities through public service projects focused on climate adaptation, mitigation and resiliency. The bill would also create a Climate Careers Network to help connect corps alumni and other interested Americans to long-term, good-paying career opportunities in the clean energy and environmental sectors. Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Calif.-27) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“A climate service corps will help protect Nevada’s environment, combat climate change, and jumpstart the careers of young Nevadans looking to give back to their communities and gain experience for the green jobs of the future,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Nevada is already facing the impacts of climate change with increased droughts and wildfires, and these effects hit the most vulnerable Nevadans the hardest, including communities of color and seniors. We must ensure the next generation has the tools, experience, and support they need to lead the charge in protecting our Nevada families and preserving our public land.”

“Each of us has a responsibility to protect our environment and ensure it is there for future generations to enjoy. This bill makes that responsibility an opportunity,” said Congresswoman Chu. “Not only will a National Climate Service Corps complete projects that will promote resilience and help our area respond to and recover from climate-caused disasters, but it will also mean better career options and workforce training for the growing green industries. I’m so glad to be partnering with Sen. Cortez Masto on this important bill and am proud that the White House shares our commitment to helping put more people to work building a green and resilient future.”

“National service programs address challenges ranging from food insecurity, to illiteracy, to the backlog of maintenance needs on our public lands. With this bill, we see a path to engage more national service programs in addressing the very real challenge of climate change and putting participants on the pathway to successful careers,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. “We thank Sen. Cortez Masto for her leadership on this issue and look forward to working with her and our partners at AmeriCorps to make climate resiliency projects a greater priority for Conservation Corps and other national service programs.”

“We applaud Senator Cortez Masto’s legislation that provides young adults with the opportunity to promote environmental sustainability within our country. Especially in areas where climate-driven weather events are on the rise, including communities of color, low-income and tribal communities.” said Russell Kuhlman, Executive Director of the Nevada Wildlife Federation. “As our country strategizes pathways to address climate change, this legislation is vital to provide our future work force with the skillset, experience and career paths needed to address our climate crisis.”

 “Great Basin Institute proudly support's Senator Cortez Masto's National Climate Service Corps legislation and firmly applaud her interest in enacting President Biden's call for a Civilian Climate Corps,” said Chris Warner, Director of Development at the Great Basin Institute. “As an AmeriCorps host site for more than two decades, GBI fully appreciates the impact that national service can have on participants, as well as the communities they are serving. Calling for the creation of a Climate Careers Network provides a dedicated pathway to help National Climate Service Corps participants to more easily enter the clean energy green jobs economy.”

The National Climate Service Corps and Careers Network Act would establish a National Climate Service Corps within AmeriCorps. Projects for members in the corps would include assessing community resilience to climate change, ensuring emergency preparedness, promoting sustainability, and supporting climate adaptation and mitigation. These projects would be focused in communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change and severe weather events, including communities of color and tribal communities. The bill would also provide alumni corps members with pathways to permanent employment through job banks, networking opportunities, and partnerships with federal, state, and local entities to encourage careers in conservation and clean energy.

The bill is supported by The Corps Network, Great Basin Institute, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Nevada Wildlife Federation, Conservation Lands Foundation, Nevada Conservation League, the Nevada Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, America’s Service Commissions, and the Service Year Alliance. Additional statements of support can be found here.

The bill text and a section-by-section summary can be found online.

Senator Cortez Masto has consistently called for a comprehensive approach to combat climate change and protect Nevada’s public lands. She is leading efforts to promote Nevada’s clean energy sector and extend investment tax credits for renewables. She also helped champion the Great American Outdoors Act to conserve Nevada’s public lands and recreation economy.