May 17—Nevada U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto joined three other Democrats on Wednesday to introduce a bill that seeks to expand the manufacturing supply chain of solar panels, a move she says will help diversify the state's economy.
If passed, the so-called Reclaiming the Solar Supply Chain Act would provide more than $3 million in grants and loans over the next five years to aid in the construction of new solar facilities, her office said in a release, adding the money could also be used to retool, retrofit or expand existing manufacturing plants.
"Nevada's solar economy is booming, and I'm pushing legislation to ensure we are manufacturing more solar panels and components in the U.S.," Cortez Masto said in a statement. "Right now, the demand for solar is outpacing domestic supply. My bill would make critical investments to grow that supply chain and create good-paying union jobs right here at home."
Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Dianne Feinstein of California and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin each joined Cortez Masto in helping introduce the measure. Cortez Masto's office says the bill has also gained the support of the Environmental Defense Fund, the American Council on Renewable Energy and others.
The four senators introduced a similar iteration of the bill last year but it never advanced out of committee.
Cortez Masto's office contends the U.S. currently only has capacity to manufacture a fraction of what's needed to meet domestic solar demand as the desire for renewable energy sources continuing to grow. Earlier this month, Cortez Masto and Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., were among a small group of lawmakers who urged colleagues to vote against a measure that would have reinstated a tariff on solar imports from four Southeast Asian countries.
That measure cleared both the House and Senate, but was vetoed by President Joe Biden. The senators contended that reinstating such tariffs would have eliminated nearly 30,000 jobs in Nevada alone and tens of thousands more nationwide.
"There is no justifiable reason to move forward with this resolution that would kill jobs in our own states," Cortez Masto told senators on May 3. "We need to be supporting American leadership in the solar industry, protecting our working families, and creating more jobs."
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