BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Federal health officials said that the West Virginia state Department of Health and Human Resources lacks a program and properly trained staff to assess community-wide chemical exposures—like the incident on the Elk River when chemicals leaked into Charleston’s water supply in January. The federal officials called on the state to start a program and hire and train staff for it to ensure they’re ready for any future problems. (Charleston Gazette)

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

After making comments about climate change earlier this year, including asserting that he doesn't know if it's occuring because he’s not a scientist, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has been working hard to backpedal. After his statement, a group of leading climate and ocean researchers in the state asked to meet with him and discuss climate change and the impact it’s having on Florida and he’s agreed to do so. (Gainesville Sun)

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Much of California continues to deal with a prolonged drought and that is taking nervousness and turning it into alarm about water supplies in the state. One state-owned well near Sacramento has dropped 100 feet in just three months. (Washington Post)

By Susan Diegelman, AT&T and Brendan FitzSimons, Environmental Defense Fund 

Across the United States, and especially throughout the South and West, drought has been a persistent problem that is more and more -becoming the new normal.

Some recent photos from America’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, show how drought is drastically reducing water reserves. This month, its water levels sank to a record low and federal water managers predict that by next spring, the level will have dropped even further. 

Now let’s make it personal. According to Circle of Blue, the price of residential water has increased 33 percent since 2010 in 30 major US cities. This is based on water scarcity issues as well as the cost of energy associated with moving more water further distances to reach residents in drought areas. 

Water scarcity is a global issue driven by countless local decisions regarding its use, as well as larger environmental factors outside of our control. Because businesses and utilities must now factor the risks and costs caused by water scarcity into everyday operations, we at AT&T and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) believe these risks demand immediate attentions and action.

For any organization, large or small, a good place to start is a usage assessment with the free Water Efficiency Toolkit, cooperatively developed by AT&T and EDF. The tool kit provides a set of materials to help organizational leaders and facility managers operate cooling systems more efficiently, enabling them to save both water and related energy and chemicals. 

On a beautiful summer morning on Minnesota’s Iron Range last week, local members from several unions including the United Steelworkers—many of whom work in the taconite mines—and International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) met with U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (MN – 8) to talk about the need and opportunity presented by repairing America’s infrastructure systems and making large, industrial energy users in Minnesota more efficient. About 25 union members gathered in Mountain Iron for the roundtable discussion that also featured State Rep. Jason Metsa (DFL –Virginia). 

Congressman Nolan spoke on a variety of topics, including the need for Congress to address critical transportation needs by passing a long term, fully funded transportation bill by through Congress and the importance of strong Buy America provisions to ensure materials used to repair our infrastructure systems are made here in the U.S. “I was pleased to be part of this great event and it is critical that we invest in our infrastructure to make our communities safe and healthy, create family-sustaining jobs for workers, and to cut down inefficiencies,” said Nolan. 

Bob Ryan, Rapid Response Coordinator for United Steelworkers (USW) District 11 also spoke to the gathering saying, “Repairing our infrastructure will create good, union jobs making the steel to rebuild bridges and rails and the concrete that will be poured to repair our roads, and building the systems used to generate renewable energy, like wind turbines and solar panels. And, it will help our environment.” 

Posted In: Minnesota, Energy Efficiency, Infrastructure, United Steelworkers, Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Around 100 retired union members gathered together yesterday in Toledo, OH to har from the BlueGreen Alliance, Moms Clean Air Force and National Wildlife Federation. The event focused on ways to better protect area water quality and public health and invest in area infrastructure for the long term. (Toledo Blade)

WHAT’S TRENDING

New wind – Renewable energy developers in Chile plan to invest $7 billion for wind and solar projects. (Bloomberg)

Energy portfolio – New data profiles where each state stands on energy generation. (Wall Street Journal)

Posted In: The Source
Aug 14

The following blog by Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune was originally posted online here.  

For the eighth year in a row, Sierra magazine has dedicated a big chunk of its September/October issue to higher education. So why is the "Cool Schools" issue such a big deal? I'll give you a hint: It's not because of the schools.

Over the last few years, I've spoken to many different audiences about how clean energy is going to change our world -- I never get tired of talking about it. And people seem to appreciate hearing the good news that we're already well on our way to a future without fossil fuels. But one particular audience always leaves me with a net surplus of energy -- and that's college students. I don't know if it's because young people have always been passionate about social issues or because our planet's future is especially important to the people who'll be spending the most time there, but young people seem to possess a singular fervor for making the world a better place.

Posted In: Green Schools, Sierra Club

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Typically mid-July is the hottest point of the summer, but where you live depends on when the hottest days will hit. (Climate Central)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Record breaking rain – Islip, NY and Detroit, MI have received record-breaking rainfall in the past few days. Scientists say heavy downpours are increasing significantly. (Wall Street Journal and ABC News)

National treasure – As a result of more severe drought and temperature swings, America’s national parks are requiring more care than ever before. (Accuweather)

Posted In: The Source

The following blog by Sam Parry, Environmental Defense Fund's director of online membership and activism was originally posted in the EDF Voices: People on the Planet blog. The original post is available online here

I look out the window of the crowded Scandinavian Airlines plane – bleary-eyed after a sleepless, 8-hour flight – as it makes its final approach to the Copenhagen airport one recent morning.

The first thing I see are the wind turbines that hug the coast, spinning steadily like white jewels against the blue water. For a moment I wonder if I’m hallucinating.

What are wind turbines doing so close to civilization and adjacent to Denmark’s main airport?

Back in the United States, I have to travel far beyond my Washington suburb to spot any signs of wind energy. In Denmark, it’s ever-present.

You can’t drive more than a few kilometers on the country’s flat roads without seeing a turbine. They are fully integrated into society and part of the landscape everywhere.

And that’s not by accident.

 

The following post is from JB Tengco, the California Director for the BlueGreen Alliance.

Passed in 2006, AB 32, California’s landmark clean energy and climate law, is spurring investments in the clean energy economy and transforming our energy sector in ways that benefit Californians on many levels. It is driving job growth, reducing the carbon emissions causing our climate to change, and improving air quality in regions throughout our state.  

Unfortunately, AB 32 is under attack…again. Today, many of the same groups that tried in 2010 to destroy our progress on clean energy jobs and climate change through Proposition 23 are back. They’ve hired the same PR firms and teamed with several anti-labor groups to delay AB 32 and get around important parts of the law. Delaying the implementation of AB 32 will harm both the environment and working families. Like we have done three times before, we must stop these attacks

AB 32 is creating jobs. With the passage of our state budget, California begins the next phase of the AB 32 by allocating cap-and-trade proceeds. Through cap and trade, California will invest $872 million this fiscal year to create quality jobs, help working families, and reduce our carbon emissions and other pollutants. Some of the cap and trade investments include: 

  • Better public transit and more frequent bus service, providing more ways for Californians to get to jobs and other destinations;
  • More affordable housing, which means construction jobs across the state as well as more affordable living opportunities for working families;
  • Inter-city and high-speed rail that will create demand for a well-trained, high-skill workforce across the state, beginning in the central valley where unemployment remains high; 
  • Water-energy efficiency projects to improve our water delivery system; and
  • Increased recycling and composting facilities that create more jobs and reduce pollution. 
Posted In: California, Climate Change