On Thursday, Rep. Henry Cuellar criticized the Green New Deal after presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders released his version of a climate deal.
“The Green New Deal would kill jobs for hard-working Texans,” Cuellar wrote on Twitter. “In Webb County alone, 8,000 people would lose their jobs, and 1 billion in payroll would be lost overnight. Our schools and quality of living would be devastated.”
Sander’s Green New Deal– different from the nonbinding congressional resolution pushed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earlier this year– calls for a $16.3 trillion plan to fight climate change. Sanders described his climate plan as putting “meat on the bones” of the original Green New Deal, a federal jobs program that aims to rapidly transition the U.S. to renewable energy and address poverty, among other things.
In April, The Signal spoke with Rice University’s Baker Institute about what a rapid change to renewable energies would mean for Texas. “For Texas, the number one oil & gas electricity generator, [the transition to green energy] is going to be very expensive,” Michael D. Maher, Ph.D., a senior program advisor for the Center for Energy Studies said at the time. “Not only raising the cost of what we buy, but implications for the job market, given so much of our economy is tied to chemicals, oil, and gas.”
Defenders of the Green New Deal, including Cuellar’s primary opponent Jessica Cisneros, say the loss of oil & gas jobs would be offset by a federal jobs program.
Cisneros, a 26-year-old lawyer from South Texas, has frequently attacked Cuellar on the campaign trail for his lack of support of the ambitious climate change plan. “My vision is that the 28th district is going to lead the nation on green energy and we can definitely do it,” Cisneros said on Tuesday. “You know, it’s just a matter of believing in our people, and Henry Cuellar really doesn’t.”
Justice Democrats, a political action committee that helped elect AOC has labeled Cuellar their number one target ahead of the 2020 elections and are backing Cisneros’ run. Cuellar blasted the group in his Thursday tweet, writing, “Policies crafted by New York PACs won’t work for Texas.”