President Joe Biden just released his proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget and it comes with a steep $7.3 trillion price tag. The budget contains many tax-and-spend programs—including giving a boost to the newly-launched American Climate Corps (ACC)

In a related White House fact sheet, the President expressed his desire to expand the ACC to 50,000 participants by 2031. It noted, “The Budget would provide mandatory funding to expand the ACC over the next decade by supporting an additional 50,000 ACC members annually by 2031. The ACC will provide job training and service opportunities on a wide range of projects that tackle climate change in communities around the country.”

The budget, if approved, would appropriate $8 billion in funding to support this 50,000 ACC participant goal. An additional $23 million would support an additional 1,700 ACC workers. 

The ACC is a derivative of President Biden’s January 27th, 2021, Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which heralded the creation of a modern-day Civilian Climate Corps. The program, launched in September 2023, intends to employ over 20,000 clean energy and climate workers to prepare for a net-zero economy. The initiative also says it’ll focus on equity and environmental justice by “prioritizing communities traditionally left behind, including energy communities that powered our nation for generations, leveraging the talents of all members of our society, and prioritizing projects that help meet the Administration’s Justice 40 goal.” 

Potential ACC job applicants will be fielded to spots in the Agriculture, Interior, Energy, and Labor Departments and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) because they already boast service programs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, lacks the infrastructure to support this and is excluded, for now, even though the ACC’s goals greatly align with the agency. AmeriCorps- which would get a $15 million boost by Biden’s proposed budget – will also act as a central hub. 

The administration has been unclear about the ACC’s costs, but estimates suggest it’ll cost anywhere between $10 billion to $30 billion. More concerning is these jobs would boost government jobs over private sector ones as 25% of new job gains in 2023 were government, public-sector jobs. 

There are also questions about the program’s legality and if President Biden can create the program without congressional approval. 

As I previously noted here at IWF, the ACC borrows heavily from President Frank D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)—a short-lived program that was ultimately disbanded for failing to be an employment pipeline for participants: 

The CCC, the NPS added, failed to be a successful employment pipeline for its participants because it never outgrew “its temporary status” beyond a relief program and indicator of “useful work.” Moreover, the lands agency said “much good work was undoubtedly performed” but the program was disbanded for lacking “cohesive planning” and confusion over the deliverables of a CCC education. 

Our Center for Energy and Conservation (CEC) believes Americans shouldn’t have to choose between economic productivity and environmental stewardship. This program, however, is intentionally deceptive over its goal to push unreasonable net-zero energy and climate objectives. 

The ACC ultimately would waste taxpayer dollars, do little to bolster the environment, and invite further encroachment by the federal government to dictate conservation and environmental decisions that are best left to private stakeholders, nonprofits, states, and localities.