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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is introducing a bill that would reinstate and build upon a tax credit for investments in manufacturing facilities for clean energy technologies.

The proposed American Jobs in Energy Manufacturing Act, that Manchin has worked on alongside Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., would follow the Section 48C tax credit, which provided a 30% investment tax credit to clean energy manufacturing facilities in 2009, 2010 and 2013.

The bill, released Monday, would make $8 billion available in tax credits, including up to $4 billion for communities where coal mines have shuttered.

The measure is designed to encourage building new or retrofitting existing industrial or manufacturing facilities to produce or recycle energy products, including technologies that capture or store carbon, renewable energy and energy efficiency equipment, and grid modernization components.

Manchin’s goal is to guide investments toward rebuilding Appalachian coal communities, and the bill is geared toward retooling industrial sites throughout the region.

“If you’re transitioning to new energy forms, they can build you anything. Give a coal miner a chance, they’ll build you the best windmill, the best solar panels, whatever you want. They can build,” Manchin said in a virtual joint news conference with Stabenow Monday. “But you have to have a reason to attract them into that area, and this [bill] does that.”

Manchin said he believes West Virginians whose families have a tradition of coal mining don’t want to leave the areas where mines have been shuttered, and would welcome family-sustaining jobs that diversify their neighborhood economies.

“In a West Virginia coal mining town or any coal mining town, they feel like a returning Vietnam veteran,” Manchin said. “They’ve done everything that’s been asked of them and now, all of a sudden, they’re discarded.”

Monday’s bill introduction continues Manchin’s high-profile start to the new Congress. On the subject of energy and the environment alone, the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week announced he would cast a pivotal vote to confirm U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., to lead the Department of Interior, and saw former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a nominee he supported, confirmed as secretary of the Department of Energy.

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