BlueGreen Alliance

Good Jobs, Clean Environment, Green Economy

Mar 27

The BlueGreen Source for Friday, March 27, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

The debate over climate change is getting attention in the 2016 presidential race, with Ted Cruz comparing himself to Galileo and a vast majority of scientists who say the climate is changing to “flat-Earthers.” Meanwhile, other Republican hopefuls have bucked their party and acknowledged that climate change is occurring. (The Guardian)

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“It’s not enough to use the latest, best, cleanest technology. We have to re-invest in the people, plants, and technology in order to realize all of the benefits manufacturing advanced vehicles have to offer,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance in a Bloomberg story on the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan program.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Clean energy boost – Under a U.S. Department of Energy program, 11 tribal communities will receive $6 million to accelerate the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. 

Efficiency – A bill the authors say will make America more energy efficient has passed the U.S. Senate. (The Hill) 

Unmuzzled – A Democratic senator from Florida has offered an amendment that would protect the ability of federal employees to talk about climate change. (The Hill)

Low energy housing – Take a look at the “passive house” in New York City—an energy efficient home that maintains a comfortable climate without heating or cooling. (New York Times)

$600,000 – That’s the fine that Monsanto has agreed to pay for not reporting the release of toxic chemicals at an Idaho chemical plant. (NBC) 

BLUEGREEN LINKS

Reuters: Occupational exposure to chemicals may up lymphoma risk for men

The Hill: GOP senators object to climate planning directive for federal agencies

The Hill: Obama's chemical agency chief resigns under pressure

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Mar 27

Turning Clean Vehicle Innovation into Jobs: A New Loan from the ATVM and New Investments in Manufacturing

The following blog is by Zoe Lipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the BlueGreen Alliance.

The Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Programs office today announced a $259 million loan to Alcoa to upgrade and expand its Tennessee aluminum mill to produce specialized automotive grade aluminum to reduce weight and improve fuel economy in millions of cars and trucks. For the community in Alcoa, TN, near Knoxville, the project also means adding 200 full-time jobs at the plant in addition to 400 construction jobs carrying out the expansion project.

With this announcement, DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM) is continuing and extending its track record of turning clean advanced vehicle innovation into jobs, manufacturing and growth.

>>Check out DOE’s blog and infographic here

>>BGA partners including the United Steelworkers weigh in on the impact of the new loan and the ATVM program in our press release here

Pictured: The innovation and investment doesn’t stop with Alcoa’s plants in Tennessee and Iowa. The specialty aluminum then heads to automakers like Ford who have also made multi-million dollar investments in tooling, robotics and worker training to enable the use of new materials and components. One of the highest profile uses of Alcoa’s aluminum is the Ford F-150 pickup—America’s best selling vehicle. The truck also makes extensive use of advanced high-strength steel and engine and transmission innovation. The result is a popular truck which is both dramatically more efficient and more powerful than the same vehicle was just a few years ago. Ford has also brought back thousands of jobs at the Dearborn, MI and Kansas City, MO plants, which build the F-150. Previous ATVM loans helped modernize and retool both these facilities. (Photo: Ford Motor Co)

That premise proved powerfully correct. Investment galvanized by the program helped underpin an earlier stronger recover of the manufacturing sector and one that is ongoing, while achieving unprecedented reductions in greenhouses gases.  The ATVM was created as part of the bipartisan 2007 energy bill. It was designed to ensure that at the same time we make big steps to increase fuel economy and cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, we also invest in building the next generation of globally competitive advanced vehicle components and materials in the U.S., and position the U.S. as a technology leader.

The previous $8 billion in loans leveraged a total of $14 billion in investment in 17 facilities in 8 states, including support to supported build, expand or retool Ford engine, transmission and assembly plants in 6 states, as well as Nissan and Tesla plants Tennessee and California. Those investments added or retained 35,000 direct manufacturing jobs. At the same time the program has kept the taxpayer more than whole—while boosting jobs, tax revenues, and growth.

To build a strong competitive modern economy its not enough just to use the latest, best, cleanest technology, we also have to invest in people, plants, and technology.

>>Our updated factsheet providing more information on the ATVM program is available here

To build a strong competitive modern economy its not enough just to use the latest, best, cleanest technology, we also have to invest in people, plants, and technology. With the new loan to Alcoa—and $16 billion in loan authority remaining accessible not just to major automakers, but to the hundreds of automotive suppliers making advanced engines, powertrains, electronics, materials and other advanced technology—the ATVM program extends its promise to communities across the country.

The diagram below provides a rough snapshot of the breadth of companies manufacturing fuel efficient vehicles and components

Suppliers across the country stand to benefit from the AVTM program 
In 2011, BlueGreen Alliance members the United Auto Workers (UAW), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) released Supplying Ingenuity, a report identifying over 500 factories in 43 states that were already building the components, materials, and technology that contribute to achieving higher fuel economy. While the industry has grown and changed since 2011, companies like these across the auto supply chain stand to benefit from ATVM loans that could aid them in making new investments in innovation and growth. Interactive maps available here

Posted In: Auto, Natural Resources Defense Council, United Auto Workers, United Steelworkers
Mar 26

The BlueGreen Source for Thursday, March 26, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Ohio’s General Assembly passed a new measure to clean up pollution in Lake Erie. They hope that the bill will help fight harmful algae blooms, like the one that left hundreds of thousands of people without water for days in Toledo last summer. (Sandusky Register)

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

"Now we have a time where people are cherry picking science. The science is not political. That's like repealing gravity because you gained 10 pounds last week,” Dr. Neil deGrasse Tysonsaid of Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s banning of the terms terms climate change and global warming in his administration.

WHAT’S TRENDING 

ATVM – That stands for Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing, a successful program of the U.S. Department of Energy that is providing a $259 million loan to Alcoa to upgrade a factory in Tennessee that makes high-strength aluminum used to make vehicles—specifically the Ford F-150—even more fuel efficient. If you’re curious about the program, here’s our fact sheet on it. (Bloomberg) 

Sewage woes – An opinion piece says the city of Pittsburgh should stay on track on its effort to upgrade sewer infrastructure to prevent raw sewage from being pumped into the area waterways. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

North Carolina – A Republican state senator has filed a bill to extend North Carolina’s renewable energy tax credits to 2020. As of now, the credits are set to expire at the end of the year. (Charlotte Business Journal) 

Online – Australia’s largest solar plant is now online. The 25-megawatt plant has close to 350,000 solar PV panels. (Renewable Energy Magazine) 

BLUEGREEN LINKS

The Hill: GOP chairman subpoenas EPA on texts

The Hill: Left threatens to oust key Dem over trade

New York Times: Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.

National Journal: Marco Rubio and Rand Paul Said Congress Shouldn't Act on Climate Change—But 5 Republicans Disagreed

Tacoma News Tribune (WA): State Senate should pass bill on toxic fire retardants

Chicago Business (IL): Illinois seizing clean-energy funds to balance budget

Crains Detroit (MI): Snyder faces challenges in boosting Michigan's energy efficiency, renewable energy

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Mar 25

From NRDC: New York's Energy Revolution Will Mean More Clean and Renewable Power Projects in Low- to Moderate-Income Neighborhoods

This post was co-authored by Raya Salter and Mr. Cecil D. Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director/Director of Policy Initiatives with WE ACT for Environmental Justice. It has been cross-posed from the NRDC's Switchboard blog. The original post is available online here

New York State is revolutionizing its electric system - a move NRDC has praised as positive and precedent-setting. The initiative, called "Reforming the Energy Vision" or "REV" will mean big changes for how communities, particularly low- income communities, interact with both energy and utilities. Among the initiative's core principles, described by my colleague Jackson Morris as the "commandments of REV," are addressing high energy bills and reducing carbon emissions.

New Yorkers Face a High Energy Burden

This is critical because according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, New Yorkers pay the nation's second-highest energy prices. This leads to a crushing energy burden for low-income New Yorkers. According to a 2013 New York State Energy Research and Development Authority home energy costs threaten not only the ability of New York low-income households to retain access to energy services, but also threaten access to housing, food, medical care and other necessities of life. This is true across New York State, in both rural and urban areas. Further, many low income communities, particularly communities of color, need immediate relief from the impacts of dangerous carbon emissions that impact them the most. For these "environmental justice" communities, action on energy prices and clean and renewable power is of primary importance.

New York Utilities Should Be Increasing Engagement with Low- to Moderate-Income Communities on Clean and Renewable Energy Projects

In a landmark February 26 order, regulators outlined a policy framework and implantation plan for the state's energy revolution. New York's new vision means that utilities will build a new platform in cities, neighborhoods and towns across the state to facilitate clean and renewable distributed energy resources. Because the state wants to make sure that customers and private markets invest in distributed energy, utilities won't be allowed, for the most part, to own these distributed resources. Utilities will, however, be able to own distributed energy resources where a project will enable low or moderate income residential customers to benefit from clean distributed power the private market is unlikely to meet the need. Utilities will also be able to own distributed energy resources like solar, batteries and wind (DER) in areas of system need, in new demonstration projects and in projects that involve energy storage. This may start happening soon. In the February 26 order, utilities were directed to file demonstration project plans on July 1.

The New Con Edison $300 Low- to Moderate-Income DER Project in Brooklyn and Queens

This is likely to mean more projects in low- to moderate-income communities like the $300 million Con Edison Brooklyn Queens Demand Management project, which will work with low- to moderate-income communities, including New York City Housing Authority developments, to reduce customer usage. This $300 million is expected to defer the need for Con Edison to spend $1 billion on an upgrade. Projects that promote energy efficiency can reduce energy bills. In addition, this Con Ed project is likely to bring new storage or solar projects to certain low- to moderate-income communities in Brooklyn and Queens. The project may include micro grids, where more efficient clean heat and power generation (and often other resources, like solar) can provide local power and allow communities to go "off the grid." This can not only save all utility customers money by deferring the big 1 billion upgrade but can also make neighborhoods more resilient, or able to withstand extreme weather events like what the state experienced with Superstorm Sandy.

Streets_of_NYC.jpg

Projects like the Con Ed initiative are exciting developments. REV should mean that all communities, including environmental justice communities, can fully benefit from distributed energy resources. As the Energy Efficiency for All coalition has advocated for in the REV, this means that all communities are protected from dangerous emissions while receiving lower energy bills. In fact, the true clean energy opportunity lies in improving local emissions impacts, improving health, beautifying communities and creating wealth in communities. In addition, improved health, infrastructure and access to resources will make communities more resilient and better able to adapt in the face of climate change.

There is a Long Road Ahead and Much Work to Be Done

There is still much more work to be done to get communities better engaged in this significant undertaking because residents in low-income communities know all too well that words alone do not easily translate into improvements in their lived realities. This is especially true as other states look to the New York REV for guidance and inspiration as they also embark on utility reform. Energy insecurity is a national problem. According to the "Energy Insecurity among Families with Children" report co-authored by Dr. Diana Hernandez of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, nationally over 80 percent of families living in extreme poverty (with a family income less than 50 percent of the federal poverty level) face economic energy insecurity, which reflects an inability to adequately meet basic household heating, cooling, and energy needs. About 60 percent of families whose income is 50-99 percent of the federal poverty level also face economic energy insecurity.

New York's energy revolution is just beginning and it is off to a good start. We look forward to working with communities, stakeholders and regulators to ensure that REV results in both a cleaner, healthier environment and lower electricity bills for all New Yorkers, regardless of income, age, race, neighborhood or vulnerability.

Mar 25

From SEIU - Infographic: How unions succeeded in making your workplace safer in the 100+ years since the deadly Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

The following blog by Michelle Miller, graphics: Erik Moe, Research: Bill Borwegen and Eric Frumin has been cross-posted from the SEIU's blog. The original post is available online here

When a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in lower Manhattan on March 25, 1911, overcrowded worktables, inadequate and locked fire exits and narrow escape passageways created a fatal inferno for the 146 people–mostly women and girls–who died. 

In the aftermath of the deadly fire that could have been prevented, outraged New Yorkers, lead by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (now Workers United) fought for crucial health and safety workplace regulations that continue to protect us on the job to this day.

HOW MODERN BUILDINGS HAVE BEEN RESHAPED BY LABOR ACTIVISM

 

Reform victories mean that fires are a much smaller risk at the workplace today, but the fight for safer working conditions continues on other fronts...

More Resources

Unions continue to push for safer workplaces. SEIU is especially focused on addressing workplace violence, the number two cause of workplace fatalities and an area that disproportionately affects healthcare workers.

Posted In: SEIU
Mar 25

The BlueGreen Source for Wednesday, March 25, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Virginia is the first state to secure a wind research lease in federal waters. They are planning to erect a pair of 6-megawatt test turbines on the Outer Continental Shelf, about 24 nautical miles ease of Virginia Beach. (Newport News Daily Press)

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“A recent poll found that fully 73 percent support the tax credit for investment in new wind farms. Congress should listen. This clean, homegrown energy source has become a symbol of national progress. Extending the Production Tax Credit would keep wind power competitive and generate economic benefits for decades to come,” said James Walker of EDF Renewable Energy in an opinion piece calling for Congress to extend the wind energy Production Tax Credit .

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Fast Track – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says fast-track trade authorization is a top priority. (Business Insider) 

Superfund – Areas in Michigan and Indiana have been added to the EPA’s Superfund priority sites. (The Hill) 

Concern dropping – Americans are less concerned about environmental issues than in previous years, according to a new Gallup poll. (The Hill)

CA clean energy – Check out this Q&A on California’s clean energy efforts and how they’re overcoming hurdles. (Los Angeles Times) 

BLUEGREEN LINKS

Washington Post: Ted Cruz says satellite data show the globe isn’t warming. This satellite scientist feels otherwise

Los Angeles Times: How should journalists treat candidates who deny climate change?

Los Angeles Times: L.A. transit officials should support affordable housing near rail lines

New York Times: Stop Making Us Guinea Pigs

Burlington Free Press: Lawmakers: Next year for renewable energy legislation

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Mar 24

The BlueGreen Source for Tuesday, March 24, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Wisconsin’s Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has noticed the huge disadvantage the Badger State has when it comes to clean energy. With all of its neighbors outpacing it, Walker and crew continue to work to stop any progress on renewables. And that’s to the detriment of all Wisconsinites. Fun fact: despite having only about 1/5 of the amount of wind energy as Minnesota, the average cost per kilowatt-hour in Wisconsin is 11 percent higher. (Think Progress)

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“Trade needs to work for all of us, every one of us, and that’s why we need a real debate in America about what we are trying to do when we make trade deals,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

WHAT’S TRENDING 

The two words you can’t say in Florida – Check out this Florida official struggling to not say “climate change”—a phrase that Gov. Rick Scott has unofficially banned from his administration. (Salon)

Fast Track – An effort to fast-track U.S. trade deals will likely happen next month in Congress. (Reuters) 

Clean Power Plan – An effort is underway in Congress to delay the Clean Power Plan and give states veto power over its carbon pollution limits. (The Hill)

Energy storage – California’s efforts to grow clean energy are also driving efforts to find ways to store it. New Jersey is also looking to promote energy storage. (Los Angeles Times & NJ Spotlight)

Transit funding – Several members of Congress from Illinois wrote a letter to a Congressional subcommittee arguing for full funding of transit and passenger rail. In the letter, the members cited a BlueGreen Alliance and Environmental Law & Policy Center report that outlined the economic benefits of transit and passenger rail to our nation. (Chicago-Sun Times)

 

BLUEGREEN LINKS

Washington Post: Global warming is now slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences

The Hill: Scientists, greens want museums to cut Koch ties

The Hill: Sen. Inhofe scrutinizes new White House climate adviser

Detroit News (MI): Rowe: Government stacks deck against renewable energy

Denver Post (CO): Renewable energy isn’t boosting electric bills study contends

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA): Fight climate change the way Ronald Reagan would

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Mar 23

The BlueGreen Source for Monday, March 23, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Attacks on clean energy continue in Kansas, where lawmakers are trying to freeze the state’s renewable energy standard. In Texas, wind is booming but that isn’t stopping lawmakers from attacking the policies that helped create the boom. (Lawrence World-Journal & Dallas Morning News)

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“Harnessing the natural resources available in our area has attracted good jobs, produced local economic benefits, and given us energy security. This wind farm is further proof that Ohioans benefit when we work to attract new investment in our rural communities,” said Ohio State Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) in a story about how wind energy is helping to provide funding for schools in the state. (Clean Technica)

WHAT’S TRENDING 

Sea ice – Coverage of sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to a winter low. (New York Times)

Big solar on campus – The University of Maryland is planning to install 7,000 solar panels on the roofs of three parking garages. (The Diamondback)

Energy efficiency – Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is looking to reduce energy waste in his state and signed an executive order telling a newly created agency to work to reduce energy waste and adapt to changing needs and technology. (COSPP)

BLUEGREEN LINKS

Washington Post: The bizarre way that we justify actions that waste energy and are bad for the environment

Los Angeles Times: EPA rule on power plant emissions faces formidable hurdle in Supreme Court

MLive (MI): Political intrigue builds as governor and lawmakers plot Michigan's energy future

 

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Mar 20

The BlueGreen Source for Friday, March 20, 2015

YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Image credit: DYLAN PETROHILOS

Climate Progress launches its own bracketology, putting cute animals threatened by climate change and environmental degradation head to head. Readers have the power to vote for the winning animal. (Think Progress)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“It’s a good time to move on solar,” said Carey King, assistant director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute. Georgetown, TX is a town that has decided to go all in on renewable energy,announcing a 25-year deal with SunEdison.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Leading by example – President Obama yesterday signed an executive order committing the federal government will cut emissions 40 percent over the next decade. (Washington Post)

Aggressive campaign – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues his aggressive campaign against carbon pollution limits—attempting to influence state and local governments. (New York Times)

Common ground – Despite differences between the U.S. and China and both countries work toward anemissions agreement ahead of the Paris climate talks, there are growing areas of common ground. (Reuters)

Royal agenda – In a visit to the White House yesterday, Prince Charles pressed President Obama totalk climate change. (Bloomberg)

BLUE-GREEN LINKS

Albert Lea Tribune (MN): A long-term fix is needed for roads

Oakland Press: Renewable energy initiatives should be permanent part of Michigan’s future

National Journal: Arctic Sea Ice Hits All-Time Winter Low

Palm Beach Post: Employees group: Florida environmental manager was punished for uttering “climate change.”

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You can sign up here.

Mar 19

Senator Elizabeth Warren to Keynote Good Jobs, Green Jobs

We're excited to announce Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will keynote this year’s Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference, April 13 in Washington, D.C.!

If you haven’t registered yet, join us April 13 in Washington, D.C. for the Conference where jobs and the environment meet!

Senator Warren is a national leader with real solutions about how we can address the threat of climate change, create family-sustaining jobs and increase global competitiveness, and protect the environment and secure the economy for generations to come.

Registration is only $199 for the full day conference and awards luncheon. Sign up today and secure your spot atGood Jobs, Green Jobs 2015.

I look forward to seeing you April 13 at what is shaping up to be the best Conference yet!

And, don’t forget to book your hotel room. Use this link and save!