BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

Jul 31

Diverse voices add their support for Clean Power Plan

Earlier this week, in Washington, D.C., at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) headquarters, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas spoke about what we can do to make sure EPA’s Clean Power Plan—which proposes the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants—benefits the economy and the environment.

In her testimony, Glas emphasized that the Clean Power Plan is a significant step forward in tackling the root causes of climate change. In addition, she urged that engaging America’s workers throughout the process is key to well-crafted state plans that will protect existing jobs; reduce emissions; grow new, family-sustaining jobs in clean energy and energy efficiency; and encourage investments to jumpstart new technologies.

Diverse groups participated in the hearings, including some of BlueGreen Alliance’s partners. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

Michael Langford, Utility Workers Union of America
Utility Workers Union of America National President Langford urged regulators to adopt a final rule that will “encourage the states to embrace in their State Implementation Plans concrete support for new technologies that will protect existing jobs while reducing emissions.” He also said, “We believe this can be done while also substantially reducing carbon emissions, if we combine sensible regulatory policies with a sound plan to assist affected workers and communities in the transition.”

Dean Hubbard, Sierra Club
Dean Hubbard, the Labor Director for the Sierra Club, said, “We should use the next two years to come together, talk through our differences, and find common ground to get this done in the best way possible.  That’s because the Clean Power Plan is not about ‘jobs vs. the environment.’ It gives us a chance to work together to create good jobs in healthy communities on a living planet, as we protect workers and communities affected by America’s transition to clean energy.”

Collin O’Mara, National Wildlife Federation
National Wildlife Federation President & CEO Collin O’Mara described the Clean Power Plan as a “uniquely American solution in that it establishes clear common-sense standards, while providing states with significant flexibility and the tools to achieve the standards in the way that makes most sense for each state.” He went on to say, “It builds upon the effective work already taking place in states across the nation.  It allows for regional collaboration, which time and again has proven effective at addressing pollution challenges that transcend state boundaries. It is clear that EPA listened closely to the states and stakeholders in developing the Plan.”

Attention now turns to Pittsburgh where BlueGreen Alliance staff Lee Geisse and Khari Mosley and Executive Director Kim Glas also be testifying. They’ll urge state and local leaders in Ohio and Pennsylvania to take the lead to come up with a unique state implementation plan that will work best with the existing energy portfolio of each state.

Check back at www.bluegreenalliance.org for their testimony.

 

 

Jul 30

The Green Jobs Source for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Inaction on climate change comes at a cost of $150 billion according to a new report released by the White House yesterday. The 33-page report was released by the Council on Economic Advisors. For every decade of inaction, the costs to control global warming rise an average of 40 percent. (Politico & Inside Climate News)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Story time – Facts alone may not be enough to sway people on the need for climate action, but personal stories provide a more convincing argument. (New York Times)

Budget debate – The Senate Budget Committee confronts the issue of climate action, and inaction. (The Hill)

Praise for Clean Power Plan – At the Denver Environmental Protection Agency hearing on the Clean Power Plan, officials hear praise from diverse groups of speakers. (New York Times)

Short-term fix – The Senate passed a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund. While the House version kicks the can down the road another year, the Senate version extends funding only until December 19. (Wall Street Journal)

Carbon dividend – Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen today plans to introduce legislation creating further economic incentives to curb carbon emissions. (New York Times)

Clean Energy in Ohio – For the past five years, renewable energy has been a success story in Ohio. (Toledo Blade)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Huffington Post: We Can't Wait: The Cost of Delaying Action to Stem Climate Change

Alaska Dispatch News: Southeast, southwest Alaska communities at highest risk from ocean acidification, study says

Bloomberg: German Wind Installations Soar Ahead of Subsidy Reduction

Discovery: Could California Go All in On Renewable Energy?

Al Jazeera: Report: World faces water crises by 2040

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Posted In: The Source
Jul 25

The Green Jobs Source for Friday, July 25, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW… 

313,000 jobs. That’s what our latest report with the AFL-CIO says can be created and sustained by moving up the timeline of repairing and replacing America’s natural gas pipelines from its current 30-year rate to a 10-year schedule. In addition, we’d stop 81 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted, save consumers an additional $1.5 billion, and grow the U.S. Gross Domestic Product by over $37 billion.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Good ruling for workers – While the legislative fight over right-to-work (for less) law in Indiana is long over, opponents of the misguided measure got some hope with a court ruling last week that the law is unconstitutional. The court ruled it “null and void,” and that the state cannot enforce it. The state’s Attorney General is requesting a delay in putting the decision into effect. (Northwest Indiana Times) 

Struggle for clean water – The EPA has faced obstacle after obstacle in its attempt to ensure Americans get clean water. (The Hill) 

New study – A new study shows the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is economically feasible. (The Hill) 

Toxics – An opinion piece says it’s time to protect consumers from toxic chemicals, highlighting the failure of the Toxic Substances Control Act to properly safeguard us all from toxic chemicals. (Huffington Post)

Pulling no punches – The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board lambasted the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, saying the department has been unwilling or unable to enforce laws to protect the public. (Los Angeles Times)

The Godfather – The man dubbed by some in Michigan the “wind godfather” is expanding into solar energy. (Midwest Energy News)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

E&E News: Profile of an academic feud: What do 97% of scientists believe about climate change?

The Hill: Greens launch ad campaign to back EPA climate rule

New York Times: A Carbon Tax’s Ignoble End

The Hill: White House gets new energy, climate spokesman

NPR: Who Is Most To Blame For Climate Change?

Network Indiana: Right To Work Not Decreasing Union Membership

Denver Post: Colorado businesses should support Clean Power Plan

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Jul 24

The Green Jobs Source for July 24, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

The AFL-CIO and the BlueGreen Alliance are releasing a report today called Interconnected – The Economic and Climate Change Benefits of Accelerating Repair and Replacement of America’s Natural Gas Distribution Pipelines. In it, we examine how moving up repairs to our natural gas distribution lines can have a tremendous impact in terms of jobs created and sustained, millions of metric tons of greenhouse gases avoided, cost savings from consumers not paying for lost gas, and growth in our nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

After 11:30 a.m. ET, make sure to head to www.bluegreenalliance.org/interconnected to check it out!

WHAT’S TRENDING

Testify – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy went before a Senate committee yesterday. The results were predictable, with one Senator accusing the EPA of “trying to run the country” and other Senators praised the work of the EPA on the Clean Power Plan. (The Hill)

Interestingly – A new report says that the states that have filed suit and are trying to stop the Clean Power Plan moving forward—like Texas and Oklahoma—are some of the states who would gain the most from its implementation. For example, wind power in Texas continues to grow stronger as more wind farms go live. (New York Times)

Clean energy fund – Illinois will have a new clean energy fund to help clean energy businesses grow. The fund will give startups up to $500,000 in convertible notes in areas like smart-grid technology, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and next-generation transportation. (Sustainable Business)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

National Journal: The Obama Administration Safety Agency At War With Itself

Los Angeles Times: As Washington fires spread, threat of flash flooding rises

The Hill: Green group targets Latinos in clean energy push

Los Angeles Times: Some bumps in the road on the way to a bike-friendly L.A.

Wichita Eagle (KS): Brownback’s office clarifies position on renewable energy standards

Deseret News (UT): Renewable energy advocates decry proposed surcharge for solar panels

Minneapolis Star Tribune (MN): Delay in alerting public to dangerous Williston toxic chemical fire raises concerns

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Posted In: The Source
Jul 23

The Green Jobs Source for July 23, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Renewable energy was 56 percent of the energy capacity added in the U.S. in the first half of this year. Of the 3,529 megawatts (MW) installed, 1,965 MW came from renewable sources. A third of that was solar. (The Energy Collective)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Hearing from the people – Yesterday, officials in Minnesota hear public testimony on the Clean Power Plan to limit carbon pollution from power plants. (MinnPost)

Black lung – Federal officials are contacting coal workers to ask them to re-apply for black lung benefits after their claims were initially denied. (The Hill)

Climate impacts the Windy City – Chicago residents are feeling the impacts of climate change and they aren’t pretty. (Washington Post)

No surprise – A global survey on climate change shows that Americans are more divided and doubtful about the issue than people in other leading countries. (CBS News)

Task force – Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and Fort Collins, Colorado Mayor Karen Weitkunat talk about the work of the Obama administration’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. (The White House blog)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

New York Times: Washington Mudslide Report Cites Rain, but Doesn’t Give Cause or Assign Blame

Los Angeles Times: Brown signs bill lifting ban against light-rail in San Fernando Valley

The Hill: Climate change hits all Pentagon operations, official says

The Hill: Sen. Murkowski blames Obama for drop in federal land energy production

The Hill: Industry to EPA: Climate rule 'not workable'

Rock River Times (IL): Renewable energy featured at Aug. 23-24 fair in Oregon, Ill.

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Posted In: The Source
Jul 22

The Green Jobs Source for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

 

Wildfires are raging throughout the Northwest U.S. Over 3,500 people in fire crews are battling the fires in Washington and Oregon alone. Cooler, damp weather may be on the way, to the relief of those battling the flames. (New York Times)

WHAT’S TRENDING

A scorcher – June was the hottest one on record worldwide. It’s the 38th consecutive June that’s been hotter than average. (San Francisco Chronicle) 

Standing pat – A committee in Montana that was considering the impacts of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard published a report arguing to keep the standard as-is, instead of raising it (or eliminating it). (Bozeman Daily Chronicle) 

The price we’re already paying – An opinion piece talks about the costs we’re already shouldering for carbon pollution and climate change. (Los Angeles Times)

Solar energy growing – Solar energy grew by 4.75 gigawatts in the U.S. last year, but challenges remain globally. (TIME)

Larger impacts of drought – The lingering drought in California is impacting the state’s efforts to grow clean energy. (The Hill)

Costly to small businesses – Congress’ efforts to stop the EPA from limiting carbon pollution may have a detrimental impact to small businesses. (The Hill)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Think Progress: This Congressional Candidate Isn’t Running From Climate Change, She’s Running On It

New York Times: A Reassuring American Presence Joins Talks on Climate Change With China

The Hill: Britain to cut carbon emissions in half despite opposition

Midwest Energy News: Michigan legislators seek ‘energy freedom’ for consumers

The Hill: NHL outlines plan to fight climate change

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Jul 21

The Green Jobs Source for July 21, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Source: Human Dynamics of Climate Change

From shipping routes to population density, to airports, fishing cyclones and more, new global maps are helping to illustrate climate change’s impacts on our daily lives. (The Carbon Brief)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Under the microscope – Senators will grill Environmental Protection Agency Administrator McCarthy this week in a hearing on the Clean Power Plan. (The Hill)

Highway Trust Fund – The onus is on the Senate to renew funding for the Highway Trust Fund this week now that the House has approved its own measure. (The Hill)

Energy star – One manufacturer has asked Congress to ban class-action lawsuits against Energy Star rated products. (New York Times)

Protecting historic sites – Bostonians work to protect sites of historic importance vulnerable to sea level rise and more. (WBGH)

Carbon tax – One Oregonian argues to bring back the carbon tax because it’s the most effective way to combat climate change. (The Oregonian)

Charleston, WV settlement – Attorneys have reached a $2.9 million agreement with Freedom Industries, the company responsible for a chemical spill that contaminated area drinking water for 300,000 residents. (The Hill)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Los Angeles Times: Lake Morena caught in crosshairs of San Diego's water policy

The Guardian: Great Barrier Reef 'in worst state since records began'

The Sentinel: Midstate Profile: Perry County man revamps truck to run solely on electricity

The Sydney Morning-Herald: Climate models on the mark, Australian-led research finds

The Guardian: Missed targets: when companies fail to keep their key sustainability promises

Engineering.com: Students Build Record-Breaking Solar Electric Car

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Posted In: The Source
Jul 18

The Green Jobs Source for July 18, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Source: ACEEE

They didn’t just win the World Cup, Germany came out on top of new energy efficiency rankings of the world’s major economies. The U.S. comes in at number 13 of 16 in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) scorecard. (ACEEE)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Climate compendium - Average sea surface temperatures in 2013 were among the 10 highest on record. This and other data has been compiled and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (New York Times)

Nice, Minnesota – Minnesota has emerged as a clean energy leader now as a state that gets more of its power from wind than only four other states. (New York Times)

Water quality – EPA has awarded $2.1 million in grants to 37 organizations to improve water quality in urban settings. (The Hill)

“Secret science” – Eight GOP senators have introduced a bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from using undisclosed scientific studies—what they call “secret science”— to justify regulations. (The Hill)

3-D mapping – As part of President Obama’s efforts to arm communities with both the data and the resources to protect against the threat of climate change, he’s announced a new 3-D mapping tool that would help identify flood risks and more. (USA Today)

Lost ground – The Senate in Sydney, Australia voted to repeal the carbon tax, making it the first country to reverse progress on climate change. (New York Times)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

New York Times: U.S. Raises Threat of Quake but Lowers Risk for Towers

WBEZ : In Dayton, Ohio an economic comeback is in the water

Union of Concerned Scientists: Brilliance from Sea to Shining Sea: Which States are the Clean Energy Superstars?

Clean Technica: India Targets 35% Renewable Energy Share In Installed Capacity Mix By 2050

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Posted In: The Source
Jul 17

The Green Jobs Source for Thursday, July 17, 2014

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Source: Union of Concerned Scientists

Here’s 10 things you should know about renewable energy investmentsincluding that business is leading the way and poll after poll shows a majority of people support renewable energy investments. (The Guardian)

WHAT’S TRENDING

Acting on climate – The president is taking many comprehensive steps to address climate change while Congress stands by. Here’s our statement on the big steps he announced yesterday. (National Journal)

Clean Power Plan – This piece focuses on making sense of what exactly the Clean Power Plan asks of states with diverse energy portfolios. (Washington Post)

$2.4 trillion – That’s how much climate-related disasters have cost globally since 1971. (Climate Central)

Undercutting clean water – Yesterday a House committee approved two bills that will weaken EPA’s clean water protections. (The Hill)

Global emissions – A leader in carbon pollution, China is expected to release its own climate protection plan early next year. (UPI)

Banking it – Last year New York launched a “green bank,” a state-run $1 billion fund to help get renewable energy and energy efficiency investments up and running. Now more states are considering similar measures. (National Journal)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

On Earth: Hawaii: Climate Wipeout

The Guardian: The carbon tax is dead and there is nothing credible to take its place

City Lab: The U.S. Has Quietly Made Some Remarkable Advances in Fuel-Efficiency

EcoWatch: How Your Tax Dollars Fund Climate Change Denial

The Hill: Scientists Take Issue With Rupert Murdoch’s Remarks on Climate Change

Science 2.0: What Google Trends Reveals About Republican And Democrat Climate Change Concerns

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Posted In: The Source
Jul 16

New Jersey, Come Back! An Open Letter to Governor Christie on RGGI

Ken Kimmell

The following blog by Ken Kimmel, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists was originally posted in The Equation blog. The original is available online here

Dear Governor Christie:

I read today that you plan on formally pulling your state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nine state “cap and trade” program that cuts carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Your actions today follow through on steps you took three years ago to take New Jersey out of the program.

As the President of the Union of Concerned Scientists and former chair of RGGI, I urge you to re-consider. I know you like straightforward, no-nonsense communication, so let me be as direct as I can:

RGGI works. The nine RGGI states have cut carbon emissions from their power plants by over 40% and grown their clean energy economies by keeping their energy dollars local, investing over 700 million dollars in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and creating thousands of jobs.

You need RGGI more than ever. The EPA is setting up sensible rules that will require New Jersey to cut its carbon emissions 43% below 2012 levels by 2030. RGGI gives you a great chance to work with your neighboring states and pool resources to make these cuts. Why go it alone when you can do it better by teaming up with your friends?

When you pledged to get out of RGGI three years ago, you made a good point—the program wasn’t working as well as it could because it offered too many “allowances” to the power plants and the price of the allowances was too low. But RGGI fixed that problem last year and now the program is firing on all cylinders.

So Governor, now is the time to recognize that times have changed, and so have you. Come back into this highly successful program. By the way, I am sure that the nine RGGI states would be delighted to have you return.

Please call me if you have any questions.

Ken Kimmell

Posted In: Union of Concerned Scientists