— Press Release

NEW: Stacey Abrams Releases Environmental Action Plan; Will Invest in Job Creation for Rapidly Growing Fields

Abrams’ plan will also establish a Coastal Resilience Response Plan, expand tax incentives for energy efficiency, safeguard Georgia’s natural resources and more

ATLANTA – Today, Democratic nominee for Governor, Stacey Abrams, released her environmental action plan that focuses on environmental protection, job creation and building a resilient future to reduce Georgia’s vulnerabilities to weather-related disasters as a result of climate change. 

“We must do more to protect our state from the impact of climate change by investing in our people and our businesses so all Georgians have access to jobs in rapidly growing fields, modernized infrastructure, and a coordinated statewide response that addresses both immediate environmental threats and future challenges,” said Stacey Abrams. ”Refusing to act now could result in devastating economic impacts for our thriving coastal region, agricultural industry and more. As governor, I will work to ensure long-term sustainability for our state while also driving innovation and spurring economic growth.”

Georgia continues to lag behind other states in taking action on clean energy and energy efficiency. Our continued failure to do so compromises an estimated 25,000-40,000 jobs over the next decade in fields from manufacturing to engineering and coding. Clean energy technicians, solar installers, clean car engineers, and green builders are increasingly in demand, and by combining training, investment and policy, Georgia stands to become a national leader. Although we have taken minor steps on infrastructure for clean energy generation and alternative fuel vehicles, we have not adequately scaled training and apprenticeships for a new labor force. With dynamic efforts, Georgians will be better positioned to drive innovation and economic growth.

Additionally, Georgia’s aging infrastructure leaves the state unacceptably vulnerable to temperature extremes, storms, and flooding. Infrastructure upgrades can reduce Georgia’s vulnerability to weather-related disasters. Home to the world’s busiest airport, the fourth busiest port and a vast interstate system, Georgia has aging energy and transportation systems that are vulnerable to damage and energy supply disruptions from natural and man-made disasters. These hazards will also impact over half a million Georgians dependent on the productivity of 10 million acres of farmland and 22 million acres of timberland. By ensuring environmental protection and resilience for our natural resources, agribusiness and forestry industries, Georgia will ensure long-term sustainability while also safeguarding against potentially devastating economic impacts. 

Stacey Abrams is the only candidate with a comprehensive plan to preserve Georgia’s environment and generate significant job growth by ensuring Georgians are positioned to benefit from having access to jobs in rapidly growing fields. 

As governor, Stacey will:

Jobs and Infrastructure

  • Increase access to training and apprenticeships for advanced energy jobs. Through free technical college, expanded apprenticeships and leveraging the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, an Abrams’ administration will train thousands of additional workers by 2030 to ensure we are reaching clean energy and energy efficiency goals. Georgia must act now to get federal funds and provide opportunities in growing job markets. 
  • Ensure Georgia’s electric system is cheaper, more efficient and reliable. As governor, she will support legislation to cap consumer-paid energy costs and ensure Georgians fully benefit from net-metering. An Abrams’ administration will aggressively draw down federal funds for electric grid modernization, including supporting research on strategies for grid modernization, tax credits and renewable integration.
  • Expand state tax incentives for consumers. Increased environmental resilience is directly connected to reduced consumer demand, which we can incentivize by offering cost savings for energy efficiency, including more energy efficient cars, commercial buildings, and homes. Abrams championed these incentives as a legislator, and she will work to expand their use in her administration.
  • Upgrade aging transportation networks. As governor, she will utilize funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to expand access to charging stations and other infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles. Georgia will promote growth in the low-carbon transportation jobs sector while also lowering carbon emissions. Coordinated action by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and other partners will assess all modes of transportation, including high speed rail as well as risk mitigation strategies, resulting in more resilient infrastructure and the best use of federal funds.

Health and Safety

  • Strengthen the resilience of Georgia’s health system. The expansion of Medicaid will allow Georgia to reinforce its public health infrastructure and be more readily responsive to crises. Natural disasters and hazards resulting from climate change, such as heat-related illness and vector-borne diseases, will result in numerous risks to public health. Natural and man-made disasters also strain existing infrastructure. By expanding Medicaid, Georgia will be better able to meet disaster impacts effectively. 
  • Grow Georgia’s Healthcare Preparedness Program. Leverage federal funding to ensure Georgia’s hospitals and healthcare facilities are able to anticipate and respond to health emergencies. By working with the Georgia Department of Public Health to evaluate the pandemic response, healthcare system vulnerabilities will be addressed to enhance resilience. 

Protecting South Georgia and the Coast

  • Target resources to most vulnerable areas. Coastal Georgia and South Georgia face unique environmental challenges due to location and the array of industries dependent on its resilience. An Abrams’ administration will adopt an integrated plan that protects critical infrastructure, coastal industries, marine ecosystems, and low-income Georgians by investing in hazard mitigation and community resilience.
  • Establish a Coastal Resilience Response Plan and a South Georgia Readiness Response Plan. Georgia’s port facilities, water supply, wastewater treatment, road and rail networks and communications systems are all vulnerable to extreme weather.  Likewise, we must prepare for threats to agriculture, our military bases and low-lying areas. An Abrams’ administration will task Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) with preparing a Coastal Resilience Plan and a separate South Georgia Readiness Plan. These plans will coordinate programs that assess extreme weather and flood risks, conduct risk assessments that will reduce social and economic vulnerability, catalyze strategic investment and ensure equitable community resilience planning.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Invest in and support our agricultural families and businesses by developing strategies for long-term sustainability and productivity. By ensuring small, medium, and large agricultural and livestock businesses have access to markets and protections from extreme weather, she will ensure the backbone of Georgia’s economy continues to thrive. Easier access to low-cost capital and investments in research for agricultural innovation will ensure rural revitalization and industry growth while also identifying opportunities for carbon sequestration and protection from extreme weather. These investments will expand markets for local food by establishing food hub networks, farmers markets, and farm-to-school programs through public-private partnerships with area food banks to respond to changing food needs.  
  • Safeguard the health and preservation of Georgia’s natural resources. Georgia’s rich landscape of parks, forests, wetlands and rivers improves the quality of life of Georgians in numerous ways, from outdoor recreation to ensuring clean water and healthy ecosystems. Throughout the state, forests, parks, and aquifers need better protections from unsustainable growth practices and environmental contaminants. By working with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Environmental Protection Division, and other owners of forest land, she will continue to ensure the long-term protection of clean water and thriving natural environments.

Coordinating a Statewide Response

  • Appoint a Chief Resilience Officer in the Office of the Governor. This individual will coordinate and lead environmental and resilience policy, resilience planning and investment across agencies. They will also coordinate with agencies including the Departments of Community Health, Public Health, Education, Natural Resources, Transportation, Human Services and the Environmental Protection Division to ensure a unified, comprehensive response. 
  • Ensure Georgia’s urban areas are resilient. As governor, she will work with GEMA to ensure Georgia’s cities are better positioned to provide for urban residents’ health and well-being, by offering local governments access to technical assistance for resilience planning, supporting access to federal funds available to local governments for resilience and adaptation planning, and ensuring that current hazard-mitigation plans are updated to reflect the impact of climate change on city services, infrastructure and communities. 

See Stacey Abrams’ full environmental action plan here