Blue Green Alliance Latest News Feed http://bluegreenalliance.com/news/latest/rss Blue Green Alliance Latest News Feed Tue, 24 Jan 2012 05:00:00 +0000 AMPS en hourly 1 STATEMENT: Truck Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards Can Continue American Auto and Manufacturing Resurgence http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-md-hd-vehicle-greenhouse-gas-and-fuel-efficiency-standards Fri, 19 Jun 2015 16:09:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-md-hd-vehicle-greenhouse-gas-and-fuel-efficiency-standards WASHINGTON, DC (June 19, 2015) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today released proposed phase 2 standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that will increase fuel efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions from long-haul trucks—along with larger pick-ups, other trucks, buses, and vocational vehicles. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas on the announcement: 

 “The BlueGreen Alliance and its 15 labor and environmental partners recognize the importance of the proposed medium- and heavy-duty truck fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reduction rule released today. America’s economy depends on leadership in building the next generation of clean globally competitive energy and vehicle technology. These new standards can provide a critical opportunity to sustain jobs, further reduce the pollution driving climate change and foreign oil dependence while enhancing the competitiveness of U.S.-manufactured trucks in global markets. 

“We greatly appreciate the thorough and systematic process EPA and NHTSA have undertaken in developing this proposal. It is critical that an effective final rule works for the environment, for the economy, and for the thousands of hard-working American men and women in the heavy truck, component and related industries. The auto industry and autoworkers have been at the forefront in proving that America can lead globally in combating climate change while rebuilding manufacturing and jobs. We are hopeful that, working with the agencies, we will see a final truck rule that continues this trajectory. 

“Together, the previous rounds of car and light truck and medium- and heavy-duty truck standards achieve the largest greenhouse gas reductions ever undertaken in the U.S. and one of the largest globally. We look forward to working with all our partners to ensure that we keep on combating climate change by building great trucks.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

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STATEMENT: Fast Track Approval is a Step Backward http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-fast-track-approval-is-a-step-backward Thu, 18 Jun 2015 12:26:37 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-fast-track-approval-is-a-step-backward FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, DC (June 18, 2015) – Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve Fast Track trade authority. After the bill passed with a vote of 218-208 BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas issued the following statement: 

“Passage of this trade legislation in the House today is a step backward for our country. These measures undercut fundamental values we’ve fought long and hard to protect and virtually ensure that future trade deals will send jobs overseas and erode our environmental and health protections. We’re deeply disappointed with the members who chose politics and special interests ahead of what’s best for working families, America’s economic future and our environment. We now call upon the Senate to stand firm in rejecting this measure.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

 

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BlueGreen Alliance Applauds Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Calls for Leaders to Take Action at Paris Climate Meetings http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-applauds-pope-francis-encyclical-calls-for-leaders-to-take-action-at-paris-climate-meetings Thu, 18 Jun 2015 08:38:53 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-applauds-pope-francis-encyclical-calls-for-leaders-to-take-action-at-paris-climate-meetings FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Eric Steen, 612-466-4488, erics@bluegreenalliance.org

WASHINGTON, DC (June 18, 2015) – Pope Francis today released an encyclical on climate change that focuses on the need to address the issue to protect both people and our planet. Following the release of the teaching, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement:

“Addressing climate change is our moral obligation and action to reduce the pollution causing it is urgent. Protecting those most impacted by climate change—especially disadvantaged communities—is a responsibility we cannot shirk. 

“The solutions to climate change—growing clean energy, making our current energy and building stock more efficient, and repairing our outdated infrastructure—are an opportunity to lift people out of poverty, protect our communities from extreme weather, and make our country—and our planet—more fair and just. Pope Francis’ encyclical is a call to act now to address climate change and seize the opportunity created by doing so. 

“Make no mistake, climate change is a dire threat to all of us, but we all stand to benefit from tackling this challenge. We applaud Pope Francis for his leadership and urge world leaders to heed his call for action at the upcoming climate summit in Paris later this year.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

 

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STATEMENT: House Rejects Fast Track Trade Authority http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-house-rejects-fast-track-trade-authority Fri, 12 Jun 2015 14:04:42 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-house-rejects-fast-track-trade-authority FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, DC (June 12, 2015) – Today’s vote against Trade Adjustment Assistance by the U.S. House of Representatives has blocked progress on Fast Track authority. BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas issued the following statement: 

“The result of today’s vote is a victory for those who stand for good jobs and stronger environmental protections. The voices of everyone working to ensure future trade deals safeguard workers and the environment have been heard. 

“We applaud the members of Congress who today stood up with us for promoting growth and prosperity across all sectors of society and ensuring enforceable labor, environmental and human rights standards are part of our trade agreements.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org 

 

 

 

 

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Labor, Environmental Leaders Call on House Members to Reject Fast Track http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/labor-environmental-leaders-call-on-house-members-to-reject-fast-track Thu, 11 Jun 2015 12:20:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/labor-environmental-leaders-call-on-house-members-to-reject-fast-track FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, 202-706-6916, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org 

Prior to House Vote, National Partnership Says Fast Track Trade Authority is Wrong for Workers, Environment 

WASHINGTON, DC (June 11, 2015) – Before the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on Trade Promotion Authority—also known as Fast Track—the BlueGreen Alliance urged members of the House to reject the proposal because it removes critically important checks and balances. 

“Approving Fast Track would be bad for our economy and our environment,” said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW). “The USW is not against trade, but unfortunately the history of trade agreements is clear: I don’t know anyone who can name an agreement passed under fast track that has resulted in a net gain of jobs for working Americans.” 

“The Sierra Club and our 2.4 million members and supporters oppose Fast Track, and we’re in good company,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “Leaders from environmental, labor, civic, and faith groups agree—Fast Track is a bad deal for our climate and our communities, and the House should reject it.” 

Under Fast Track, Congress gives up its constitutional authority over trade negotiations and trades away its ability ensure that trade deals protect communities, workers, and the environment. The groups argued that Fast Track would encourage a race to the bottom and could lead to allowing companies to have expanded rights to challenge our environmental and other laws in a special trade tribunal outside the U.S. court system. 

“Fast track gives little opportunity for the public or the Congress to weigh in substantively on agreements that could reshape U.S. environmental policy. We are especially concerned about the process the agreements may include to enable companies to challenge the effects of U.S. laws that protect health and the environment,” Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

“Future trade agreements must always prioritize what is in the best interest of hard working American families first,” said Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). “Fast tracking away from regulations and protections put our workforce, our jobs, our economy and our environment in jeopardy.” 

“Fast Track will offshore jobs, cut wages, close factories and threaten the well-being of our communities,” said Amalgamated Transit Union President Larry Hanley. “Time and again we’ve seen those set to gain the most from trade deals tell us that they’ll make the lives of average Americans better and time and again they’ve been wrong. Fast Track is the wrong track for America.”

The House vote comes just a few weeks after the Senate approved Fast Track. However, a strong bipartisan effort to reject the measure has gained ground in the House in recent months. A broad and growing movement of workers, environmentalists, people of faith, consumers, and community activists has been pushing to stop Fast Track. 

“AFT continues to stand with a broad coalition of labor, environmental, and consumer and patient rights organizations against fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Fast Track limits transparency and rigorous debate over our trade policy. American workers deserve a voice, especially around initiatives that would have such far-reaching and lasting economic impacts,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). 

“Fast Track would virtually guarantee the passage of trade deals that ship jobs overseas and give corporations more power over our lives,” said Michael Langford, National President of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA). “Working families can’t afford more bad trade deals.” 

“These trade negotiations have the potential to seriously undermine science-based public health, safety and environmental protections in the United States and for our trading partners. It is simply unacceptable that risky provisions are being negotiated in secret when the public has so much at stake,” said Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

“We need fair trade not trade deals that are hidden from the public’s view,” said Joseph Sellers, Jr., General President of the International Association of Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART). “Workers and families deserve to know what’s in these deals and our elected representatives should not abandon their duty to protect our workers and environment.” 

“The House should reject Fast Track to ensure we have fair trade agreements that don’t engage us in a race to the bottom,” said James Boland, President of the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers (BAC). 

“This is a critical vote. Trade agreements should be fair, uphold labor standards that protect workers and their jobs, preserve environmental protections, and ensure consumer safeguards aren’t weakened,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Fast Track would deny the ability of Congress to amend deals to achieve those things. Our message to House members is simple: Don’t let Fast Track put America on the wrong track; vote no.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

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STATEMENT: House Rules Committee Vote Undercuts U.S. Ability to Address Climate Change http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-house-rules-committee-vote-undercuts-u-s-ability-to-address-climate-change Thu, 11 Jun 2015 09:33:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-house-rules-committee-vote-undercuts-u-s-ability-to-address-climate-change FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, 202-706-6916, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org

 

WASHINGTON, DC (June 11, 2015) – A provision added into the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 644) would effectively remove the ability of the United States to include obligations in free trade agreements to address climate change in trade deals. Following action early this morning by the House Rules Committee, the BlueGreen Alliance issued the following statement from its Executive Director Kim Glas: 

“This change undercuts America’s ability to address global climate change. Making H.R. 644 worse in order to try to attract votes for the larger, and also flawed, Fast Track effort, is the wrong thing to do. Fast track is already a bad bill that would just be made worse by this change, and we urge lawmakers to vote both it and H.R. 644 down. 

“Climate change is a huge concern globally—as the recent G7 agreement on climate action shows—and addressing it must be a consideration in any trade negotiations.”

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

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Growing Partnership Announces Kelly Schwinghammer as Executive Vice President http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/growing-partnership-announces-kelly-schwinghammer-as-executive-vice-president Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:39:25 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/growing-partnership-announces-kelly-schwinghammer-as-executive-vice-president BlueGreen Alliance Also Names New Legislative and Policy, Organizing Directors 

WASHINGTON, DC (June 4, 2015) – The BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations, today announced that Kelly Schwinghammer is the organization’s new Executive Vice President. The organization also announced that Lee Anderson has been named Director of Legislation and Policy and Katie Gulley will serve as Organizing Director. 

“I am excited that Kelly, Lee and Katie will be taking on these new, expanded roles within the organization that they have helped to build,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas. “The BlueGreen Alliance and its partners are leading the charge to find solutions to climate change that create and secure the kinds of jobs that support families in this country. This team is the right choice to help move this vision forward.” 

“The BlueGreen Alliance is advancing solutions to environmental problems that will ensure the creation and security of good jobs across the country—whether through energy efficiency and renewable energy, the repair and replacement of the nation’s natural gas distribution pipelines, or fair and enforceable trade agreements—all in pursuit of a clean, thriving and fair economy,” said Schwinghammer. “I’m honored to be named the organization’s first Executive Vice President and I am looking forward to continuing this work at a critical time for our economy and our environment.” 

Schwinghammer has worked with the BlueGreen Alliance since 2008, when she became the organization’s founding communications director. In 2012, she led the communications effort as Deputy Campaign Manager of Research and Communications for Minnesota United for All Families, the first ever campaign to defeat a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Now as Executive Vice President, she will lead the field organizing, communications and legislative advocacy efforts.    

Lee Anderson formerly served as a Senior Legislative and Policy Advocate for the BlueGreen Alliance. Prior to joining the BlueGreen Alliance, Anderson worked as a labor and employment attorney with the Provost Umphrey Law Firm, representing labor unions and individual workers. His law practice centered on union organizing and bargaining, employment discrimination, overtime wages, consumer protections, and pension issues. 

“Even with a gridlocked Congress, there are opportunities to advocate for and implement smart policies at the state and federal level,” said Anderson. “I’m very proud of our efforts to grow and secure good jobs, while protecting the rights of working people and our environment, and I look forward to continuing that mission in my new position.” 

Katie Gulley joined the BlueGreen Alliance in 2009 as the Regional Program Manager for Minnesota, helping to launch efforts to move smart environmental and energy policies in the state. Before joining the BlueGreen Alliance, she was the Campaigns Coordinator for the Change to Win Labor Federation in Minnesota and Member Mobilizer for the Minnesota Nurses Association. 

“As our economy continues its recovery and as the U.S. embarks on an effort to limit carbon pollution, there couldn’t be a more important time to build consensus on solutions that will address climate change and secure and create new, good jobs,” said Gulley. “We’ve been working over the years to build collaboration and consensus around the best ways to do this for our environment and our economy, and I can’t wait to help our organization build on this important work in the future.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org 

 

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STATEMENT: More Work Needed on TSCA Bill to Protect Workers, Communities and the Environment http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-more-work-needed-on-tsca-bill-to-protect-workers-communities-and-the-environment Wed, 03 Jun 2015 09:54:53 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-more-work-needed-on-tsca-bill-to-protect-workers-communities-and-the-environment WASHINGTON, DC (June 3, 2015) – The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee today considered a bill to reform the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)—our nation’s ineffectual law that purports to protect Americans from dangerous chemicals. Following the passage of the bill in committee without making substantial improvements—like those offered by the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition—the BlueGreen Alliance’s Vice President for Health Initiatives Charlotte Brody released the following statement: 

“While the House’s TSCA Modernization Act is improved over previous versions, there are still too many significant flaws that need to be fixed. Americans need a federal chemical policy that, at least, charts a course towards the eventual protection of the health of workers, communities and the environment. We’re hopeful the House will continue to improve their bill to address outstanding concerns.” 

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RELEASE: Labor, Environmental Leaders Applaud Improved Clean Water Act Protections http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-labor-environmental-leaders-applaud-improved-clean-water-act-protections Wed, 27 May 2015 10:39:13 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-labor-environmental-leaders-applaud-improved-clean-water-act-protections U.S. EPA to Announce Finalization of Waters of the U.S. Rulemaking 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 27, 2015) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy today will announce the finalization of a rule to clarify Clean Water Act protections that impact the drinking water supply of over one hundred million Americans. More specifically, this clean water rule restores pollution protections that used to exist for streams and wetlands that feed into bigger lakes and rivers, and strengthens enforcement of those protections. 

“Clean water is a basic need we depend on for good public health and even for economic prosperity,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas. “We can’t afford to take the streams and wetlands that supply clean drinking water for granted. This final rule takes important steps to better preserve and protect hundreds of thousands of miles of streams and wetlands.” 

A recent poll conducted by the League of Conservation Voters showed more than two-thirds of respondents—Democrats, independents and Republicans alike—support the rule. 

“Thanks to the Obama administration, the drinking water supplies of 117 million Americans will gain strong safeguards against pollution. These long-overdue protections also will ensure cleaner wetlands, headwaters, brooks and streams that we use for swimming, fishing and other recreational activities,” said Rhea Suh, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “It was a long, hard slog to reach this day. Now we will redouble our efforts to defend the new Clean Water rule against developers, big polluters and their allies in Congress who want to kill it.’’ 

According to EPA, the proposed rule would provide an estimated $388 million to $514 million annually of benefits to the public by reducing flooding, providing wildlife habitat, supporting hunting and fishing, and recharging groundwater. 

“The safety of our drinking water depends upon clean source waters,” said Michael Langford, President of the Utility Workers Union of America. “The Clean Water Act has restored and maintained the integrity of our waters since it was enacted nearly 40 years ago, and clean water would be impossible without protecting headwaters. Our water infrastructure is already challenged due to increasing demand and lack of investment. Restoring protection of our streams and wetlands is essential.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

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BlueGreen Alliance Statement: Senate Democrats Do the Right Thing on Fast Track http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-senate-democrats-do-the-right-thing-on-fast-track Tue, 12 May 2015 16:26:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-senate-democrats-do-the-right-thing-on-fast-track FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 12, 2015) – Today the Senate failed to pass a procedural vote in order to move forward with consideration of the bill on fast-track trade authority. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas. 

“Today, Senate Democrats did the right thing. They called for accountability as part of a fast track agreement and put House and Senate leaders on notice that fast track—as it is construed—is bad for our economy and environment.  

“With the continued work of a broad coalition of unions, environmental organizations, civic, and economic and environmental leaders, and many others, we will call for transparency in trade agreements and that these agreements must provide opportunities for workers and our environment.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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National Labor, Environmental Leaders Spotlight Long-Term Consequences of Fast Track Passage http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/national-labor-environmental-leaders-spotlight-long-term-consequences-of-fast-track-passage Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:57:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/national-labor-environmental-leaders-spotlight-long-term-consequences-of-fast-track-passage FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 23, 2015) – Today, as the House Ways and Means Committee considers Fast Track Trade authority and several new international trade agreements, national labor and environmental leaders offered another view of what Fast Track would mean for the American people, urging committee members and Congress to vote no on granting Fast Track Trade authority.

“Fast tracking flawed trade agreements should not be an act of Congress,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard. “We need a new approach to trade, not more of the same failed policies so damaging to American workers and their communities.”

On Tuesday in the Senate, the Finance Committee held a hearing on Fast Track Trade authority. Under Fast Track, Congress gives up its traditional power to amend bad trade deals and it cannot send the agreement back to the executive branch with instructions for improvement.

“Fast track would rush dangerous trade deals through Congress­—trade deals that would hurt our access to clean air, clean water, and undermine years of work to address climate disruption,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “We call on members of Congress to clean up toxic trade—and they should start by rejecting fast track."

“The two pending trade agreements that the U.S. is negotiating could have enormous impacts on our bedrock environmental laws and public health protections. That is why we oppose this ‘fast track’ bill. It would give a blank check with no way to ensure that trade agreements it will allow to become law don’t undercut our protections or allow new challenges to them. Our country has worked for decades—and is still working—to build up and enforce basic environmental and public health protections. Now is not the time to undercut these important protections,” said Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would include 12 countries, about 40 percent of the world economy and have a significant impact on the global and domestic economy for many years to come.

“Fast Track repeats all the mistakes of our previous failed trade policies,” said Communications Workers of America (CWA) Senior Director George Kohl. “We need a new trade policy that benefits everyone. We need a new trade policy that creates a net increase in U.S. jobs and investment while expanding workers’ rights here and abroad. New trade agreements need to lift up regulatory standards and our overall quality of life, not undercut them.”

“The BlueGreen Alliance supports fair, transparent trade that doesn’t engage the U.S. in a race to the bottom,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas. “Fast Track is the opposite of that. That’s why it is wrong for our workers, economy and environment.”

Full audio of the call is available here

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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STATEMENT: Quadrennial Energy Review Maps Out Solutions to Fix America’s Energy Infrastructure http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-quadrennial-energy-review-maps-out-solutions-to-fix-americas-energy-infrastructure Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:08:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-quadrennial-energy-review-maps-out-solutions-to-fix-americas-energy-infrastructure FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 21, 2015) – Today, the Department of Energy presented its Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), outlining strategies to strengthen our nation’s energy infrastructure, to include modernizing our electric grid and natural gas distribution pipelines to make them more resilient and reduce climate change pollution. The BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement: 

“The Department of Energy’s QER provides real solutions to address America’s growing infrastructure investment gap. Over the next 10 years, the administration is committing up to $3.8 billion to modernize our electrical grid and up to $3.5 billion to protect our energy systems from extreme weather and accelerate the repair and replacement of leak-prone natural gas distribution pipes. 

“In the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Infrastructure Report Card, our nation’s energy infrastructure earned a barely passing D+ grade. Getting the electrical grid to a “B” grade over 10 years could create an estimated 180,000 jobs, and accelerating upgrades to our natural gas distribution networks to a 10 year timeline could create an additional 250,000 jobs throughout the economy. Fixing our leak-prone gas distribution pipes is a crucial part of the national goal, proposed by the administration in January, to reduce methane emissions by up to 45 percent over the next decade. 

“Congress should stand with the president to ensure these commitments become reality. U.S. consumers and businesses will see economic benefits, there will be more quality jobs created and sustained, and we’ll reduce emissions along the way.”  

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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BLUEGREEN ALLIANCE STATEMENT: Fast Track is Bad for the Environment and Working Families http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-fast-track-is-bad-for-the-environment-and-working-families Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:58:40 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-fast-track-is-bad-for-the-environment-and-working-families FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 16, 2015) – Today, Trade Promotion Authority—also known as Fast Track legislation—was introduced in Congress. Under Fast Track, Congress gives up its traditional power to amend bad trade deals and it cannot send the agreement back to the executive branch with instructions for improvement. BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement: 

“Yesterday on Capitol Hill a broad coalition of over 1,200 union members, environmentalists and allies called on Congress to deny Fast Track authority for trade deals because it removes critically important checks and balances. 

“Trade agreements should be fair, uphold labor standards that protect workers and their jobs, preserve environmental protections, and ensure consumer safeguards aren’t weakened. Fast Track would deny the ability of Congress to amend deals to achieve those things. 

“The BlueGreen Alliance supports fair, transparent trade that doesn’t engage the U.S. in a race to the bottom. Fast Track is the opposite of that. That’s why it is wrong for our workers, economy and environment.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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STATEMENT: Emissions Reduction Pledge Reinforces U.S. Commitment to Lead on Climate Change http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-emissions-reduction-pledge-reinforces-u-s-commitment-to-lead-on-climate-change Tue, 31 Mar 2015 09:35:04 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-emissions-reduction-pledge-reinforces-u-s-commitment-to-lead-on-climate-change FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 31, 2015) – The United States formally submitted its pledge to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels. The BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement in response to the submission: 

“President Obama continues to lead on climate change. This U.S. pledge helps lay the foundation for what we hope is a strong and fair international agreement later this year in Paris. We need this agreement to begin to significantly reduce global emissions and to help keep America’s economy and the manufacturing sector on a level playing field. 

“There is much more we need to do. Congressional leadership must cast aside the anti-science, anti-worker sentiments, and begin to take action to complement the president’s actions with necessary investments in our workers and communities. We look forward to working together with Congress and the Obama administration to advance this important pledge.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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Administration’s POWER Initiative is a Proactive Approach to Provide Support for Workers Affected by Energy Transition http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/administrations-power-initiative-is-a-proactive-approach-to-provide-support-for-workers-affected-by-energy-transition Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:11:40 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/administrations-power-initiative-is-a-proactive-approach-to-provide-support-for-workers-affected-by-energy-transition FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 27, 2015) – In Lexington, Kentucky today, the Obama administration announced details of the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative that allocates a range of federal resources and programs to coal communities and workers impacted by America’s energy transition, particularly in Appalachia. The initiative is part of the larger POWER+ Plan and would provide grants to impacted communities to help plan for economic development opportunities and implement workforce development strategies—make investments in workers and technologies to help as America continues its energy transition. 

BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director, Kim Glas recognized the administration’s leadership on these issues in the following statement: 

“The POWER+ Plan takes steps to invest in affected workers and communities, mitigate these impacts and connect workers with the necessary resources so they can arrive on the other side of this energy transition with new skills. We applaud the administration for this plan. 

“We’re all shareholders in America’s energy future. We look forward to continuing to work with the Obama administration and Congress to handle this energy transition the right way—by protecting workers and communities and growing cleaner, more reliable energy for us all.”  

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

 

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Department of Energy’s $259 Million Loan Will Retool Alcoa Facility, Create 200 Jobs and Improve Fuel Efficiency http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/department-of-energys-259-million-loan-will-retool-alcoa-facility-create-200-jobs-and-improve-fuel-efficiency Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:11:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/department-of-energys-259-million-loan-will-retool-alcoa-facility-create-200-jobs-and-improve-fuel-efficiency Labor, Environmental Leaders Applaud Commitment to Domestic Manufacturing and Competitiveness 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 26, 2015) – BlueGreen Alliance leaders from the United Steelworkers and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) today applauded a Department of Energy announcement of a $259 million loan that will help Alcoa retool what will become one of the largest automotive grade aluminum facilities in North America and add 200 good jobs. The company’s advanced aluminum products will be utilized to improve the fuel economy of millions of vehicles. 

“The ATVM is a critical part of a renewed commitment to America’s manufacturing,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard. “It will also help the United States achieve its environmental goals.” 

The loan—carried out through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program—makes it possible for the company to expand and upgrade its Tennessee facility to make specialized aluminum sheet for vehicles like the Ford-F150 pick-up truck, America’s best-selling vehicle. Products like aluminum and high strength steel make the F-150 lighter and more fuel efficient while remaining equally powerful. 

“The UAW has been a strong supporter of the ATVM program from its inception. This program is critical for improving fuel efficiency and strengthening domestic manufacturing and increasing our nation’s competitiveness,” UAW President Dennis Williams said. “UAW members who proudly build the Ford F150 are utilizing lightweight aluminum to build the next generation of vehicles. The Department of Energy’s conditional loan to expand Alcoa’s factory in Tennessee will enhance the work of UAW members and will create more job security for them and manufacturing workers across the country.”

ATVM loans have previously helped retool 17 automotive assembly facilities such as the Dearborn Assembly Plant that manufactures the F-150. This program is one way the automotive industry is achieving the biggest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions ever undertaken in the U.S., and one of the largest achieved worldwide to date, while bringing back jobs and making powerful, globally competitive and much more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The ATVM program is designed to benefit a whole network of small, medium and large companies that support hundreds of thousands of jobs critical to America’s manufacturing industry. The DOE loan to Alcoa will also support 400 additional construction jobs. 

“It’s exciting to see the many benefits this kind of fuel-efficiency technology can deliver. Lighter-weight materials such as aluminum will help cars and trucks achieve deep carbon emissions reductions and set a higher standard on protecting the environment for generations,” said Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

To date the bipartisan program has provided over $8 billion in loans—matched by over $14 billion in private investment—to 18 facilities in eight states. Those facilities in turn have supported thousands of suppliers. 

View the BlueGreen Alliance's fact sheet on ATVM here.

“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 the all of the benefits manufacturing advanced vehicles have to offer,” said Kim Glas, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director. 

Photo credit: Sam VarnHagen Ford Motor Co.

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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RELEASE: Labor, Environmental Leaders Laud President Obama’s Decision to Make Pullman Area a National Monument http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-labor-environmental-leaders-laud-president-obamas-decision-to-make-pullman-area-a-national-monument Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:19:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-labor-environmental-leaders-laud-president-obamas-decision-to-make-pullman-area-a-national-monument Site Will Celebrate Heritage of Labor and Civil Rights Movements 

CHICAGO (February 19, 2015) – President Barack Obama today announced that the Pullman area of Chicago—the site of the Pullman Palace Car Company’s planned industrial town where workers made sleeper cars for rail passengers—was designated as a national monument. The president used his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the site under the portfolio of the National Park Service. 

“Protecting the Pullman area for future generations is the right thing to do,” said Scott Marshall, Coordinator of Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) District 7. “I applaud the president and his decision to make this site that is so vital to the history of the labor movement a national monument.” 

The Pullman site was the first planned industrial town and the site of an1894 strike that triggered America’s first industry-wide walkout. Several workers died at the hands of U.S. marshals and the military and the leaders behind the strike were imprisoned. The strike and the events that followed provided a vital spark for the burgeoning labor movement in the nation. In the wake of the strike, Congress honored slain workers by making Labor Day a national holiday. 

"Designation as a national monument finally gives this site the recognition it deserves. It also expands our country's public lands system to be more inclusive and representative of the full American story," said Chuck Frank, Highland Park resident and member of Sierra Club's Board of Directors.   

The 300-acre site saw the birth of the first African-American union in America. In the 1920s, the Pullman Company was one of the largest employers of African-Americans in the country. The Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters was the first African American labor union to secure bargaining rights, and chose A. Philip Randolph as its leader. As a labor leader, civil rights and social justice activist, Randolph helped win labor concessions through the 1940s that paved the way for Civil Rights victories in the 1960s and 1970s.  

“This will ensure the legacy of Pullman won’t be forgotten and will recognize the sacrifices made by workers for generations,” said Tom Conway, Jr., Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “This place is a unique part of the American experience and the BlueGreen Alliance thanks the president for his leadership in ensuring its preservation.” 

For the last several years, the Pullman community has seen strong public and private investment. The State of Illinois has recently completed a $4 million renovation of the historic Hotel Florence, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, a non-profit developer, has invested more than $11 million in renovating historic Pullman rowhouses and the historic Pullman Wheelworks saw a $30 million renovation into 210 affordable rental units. 

Chicago remains an important manufacturing center, and the BlueGreen Alliance is one of many local and national labor, community, environmental, and industrial groups working to spur a resurgent and community-supporting rail manufacturing industry in the area. 

The newly designated national monument is expected to draw as many as 300,000 visitors annually and create several hundred jobs. It is the first national monument designated in Chicago. 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy.  www.bluegreenalliance.org

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BlueGreen Alliance Statement: Administration’s Budget Provides Key Resources to Workers and Communities During Energy Transition http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-administrations-budget-provides-key-resources-to-workers-and-communities-during-energy-transition Tue, 03 Feb 2015 09:04:09 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-administrations-budget-provides-key-resources-to-workers-and-communities-during-energy-transition WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 2, 2015) – The BlueGreen Alliance today responded  to the White House’s proposed budget announcement that includes a transition package to increase federal resources and programs for workers and communities in the energy industry. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas: 

“The White House’s announcement of a proactive set of investments for communities and workers affected by America’s energy transition is critical. 

“The policies unveiled today, which  include  securing workers’ pensions, proactively assisting potentially impacted communities, and broadening low-carbon technology deployment, help ensure that a transition to a clean economy includes every community and every industry. The budget proposal outlines key policy priorities and resources necessary to enable communities, workers, and government to work in tandem to make this transition a success. We strongly urge Congress to make this funding a priority during the budget process.”

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

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New Report Showcases America’s Rail, Transit Manufacturing Opportunity http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/new-report-showcases-americas-rail-transit-manufacturing-opportunity Fri, 30 Jan 2015 11:17:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/new-report-showcases-americas-rail-transit-manufacturing-opportunity FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACTS:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

Report Maps U.S. Rail, Transit Manufacturing Footprint, Highlights Critical Impact of Federal Transportation Investment on Manufacturing Growth Nationwide

WASHINGTON, DC (January 30, 2015) – The BlueGreen Alliance and the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) today released a groundbreaking new report illustrating the breadth of the U.S. transit and passenger rail manufacturing footprint, showing businesses and  jobs nationwide that are being sustained by state and federal investments in rail and transit. The report—Passenger Rail and Transit Rail Manufacturing in the U.S.—found more than 750 companies in at least 39 states that manufacture transit and passenger railcars, locomotives and their components and related materials and equipment today.

The groups said the report shows that there is a powerful opportunity to grow transit and passenger rail manufacturing nationwide, but argued that success depends on leadership from Congress to make the long-term investments in rail and transit that are key to sustaining a strong and globally competitive industry.

“This report underscores that investing in the transportation systems we need for a strong, prosperous economy, is also critical to rebuild good manufacturing jobs all across the country—in communities both nearby and far from the transit and rail systems themselves” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “We need leadership from Congress to ensure long-term, sustainable funding for transportation, and from leaders at every level to ensure that as we build and operate the clean energy and transportation infrastructure and technology of the future, we also rebuild good family supporting jobs and prosperous communities.”

“Modernizing our nation's passenger rail and transit systems will improve mobility, alleviate congestion on highways and at airports, and will reduce pollution. This report shows that sound policies to accelerate passenger rail and transit will grow the economy and drive job creation at large manufacturing businesses, smaller fabricating companies, and technical and engineering businesses across the country,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Modern higher-speed rail development is good for job creation, good for economic growth and good for the environment.”

The report identifies 212 companies in 32 states that manufacture transit or passenger rail cars and locomotives or major rail propulsion, electronics, and body components and systems. And major suppliers are just the tip of the iceberg. Focusing on just two rail manufacturing regions—the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic—the report identified 542 additional companies manufacturing sub-components, materials, track and infrastructure, and providing repair and remanufacturing to the industry in these states. Not included were rail subcomponent manufacturers nationwide, but a closer look at that sector would certain generate an even longer list of companies that rely on transit and passenger rail investment.

“The bottom line is that those numbers represent real people, with real jobs that support their families in communities in towns like mine,” said Jennifer Narrod, Shop Chairman of IUE-CWA Local 81323 and a worker at Alstom Signaling in Rochester, New York. “Long-term, predictable funding is essential for my job and the many other people around the country who work for companies making parts for our rail and transit systems.”

Rail and transit manufacturers are located in virtually every state, in diverse industries—from major multinationals manufacturing railcars or propulsion systems to small family-owned precision machining companies. Transit and passenger rail use specialty materials, such as steel, glass and fabrics. Maps and state lists of all 754 companies were included in the report.

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of America’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. We work together to turn today’s biggest environmental challenges into our biggest economic and job-creating opportunities. Together with 15 million members and supporters, we are a powerful, unified voice calling for good, family-sustaining jobs, a clean environment and a thriving and fair American economy. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org

The Environmental Law & Policy Center is the Midwest’s leading environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization. www.ELPC.org

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Rep. Pocan, Labor, Environmental Leaders Raise Concerns on Fast Track Trade Deals http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/rep-pocan-labor-environmental-leaders-raise-concerns-on-fast-track-trade-deals Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:56:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/rep-pocan-labor-environmental-leaders-raise-concerns-on-fast-track-trade-deals FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

BlueGreen Leaders Urge Tough Questions of USTR’s Froman on Fast Track Authority

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 27, 2015) – Rep. Pocan and members of the BlueGreen Alliance today urged Members of Congress to ask tough questions of U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman about the administration’s support of Trade Promotion Authority, also known as fast track. The administration will be pushing Congress to extend Fast Track Authority in an effort to conclude the Trans-Pacific negotiations currently underway in New York City. The Ways and Means Committee will be holding a hearing featuring Froman as a witness later today. Earlier, Froman testified in front of the Senate Finance Committee.

The coalition argued trade negotiations should be transparent to ensure the results are fair and urge Congress to not limit itself to a mere yes or no vote on an agreement that will have wide-reaching consequences for American workers and the environment.  

“We’ve seen how bad trade deals hurt U.S. workers and companies as well as the global environment,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard. “Allowing another trade agreement to be reached absent the scrutiny of Congress and others jeopardizes the inclusion of essential safeguards.”

“Congress must not make the same Fast-Track mistake of the past,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “We have seen how trade agreements like NAFTA and the Korean Free Trade Agreement, passed using the Fast-Track process, have turned out to be a bad deal for American workers and the environment. I support fair trade but I cannot support greasing the skids for trade agreements that could end up destroying more American jobs and weakening U.S. environmental protections.”

Fast Track is a policy that gives the president the power to negotiate trade agreements—out of public view. Under Fast Track, Congress gives up its traditional power to amend bad trade deals and it cannot send the agreement back to the executive branch with instructions for improvement. 

Larry Cohen, President of the Communications Workers of America, said a broad coalition is fighting fast track authority for bad trade deals like the TPP. “There’s a growing movement of workers, people of faith, environmentalists, consumers and community activists that has united to stop this attack on U.S. jobs and communities. Working families want 21st century trade that gives workers, consumers, communities and our environment at least equal rights and protections to those given to big corporations,” said Cohen.

“The quality of the air our families breathe and the water they drink would be put in jeopardy with trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership—and fast-tracking massive deals through Congress without oversight or accountability would be a disaster,” said Debbie Sease, Federal Campaign Director of the Sierra Club, pointing to a letter sent to Congress by more than 40 environmental groups opposing fast track. “With fast track, we would be trading away clean air, clean water, and safe communities.”

“21st-century agreements require openness and transparency. Fast Track would roll back the clock and double down on a process that is already far too secretive,” said Lorretta Johnson, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers. “Our elected leaders go to Washington to be our voice. Under Fast Track, Congress will have no say in selecting our trade partners, negotiating trade terms, or debating and amending trade agreements.”

The group urged fast track was originally designed in the 1970s when trade agreements focused on traditional trade issues such as cutting tariffs and lifting quotas. Today’s trade agreements, however, are about much more than tariffs and quotas and have significant implications for our environment, public health, and global climate.

“The BlueGreen Alliance supports fair, transparent trade that doesn’t engage the U.S. in a race to the bottom,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas. “Fast Track is the opposite of that. That’s why it is wrong for our workers, economy and environment.”

Listen to the audio from the press call below.

Flash Required

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

 

 

 

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BlueGreen Alliance Statement: President’s Call for Bipartisan Infrastructure Fixes is the Right Remedy for Middle Class http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-presidents-call-for-bipartisan-infrastructure-fixes-is-the-right-remedy-for-middle-class Tue, 20 Jan 2015 22:07:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-presidents-call-for-bipartisan-infrastructure-fixes-is-the-right-remedy-for-middle-class WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 20, 2015) – In reaction to the president’s State of the Union speech, the BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement:

“Repairing America’s infrastructure is the path to create quality, middle-class jobs and reduce the carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases, like methane, that are causing our climate to change. We applaud President Obama for bringing this vital issue to the front burner, and we agree that fixing the systems we rely on every day is an achievable, bipartisan effort. A strong, modern infrastructure—modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest Internet—is not only good for our environment, health and safety—but for job creation, as well.

“We look forward to working with the president, his administration and Congress and to starting the work that will fulfill America’s promise to working families.”

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

 

 

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BlueGreen Alliance Praises Administration’s Goal to Reduce Methane Emissions http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-praises-administrations-goal-to-reduce-methane-emissions Wed, 14 Jan 2015 09:35:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-praises-administrations-goal-to-reduce-methane-emissions FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

Goal Would Reduce Methane Emissions up to 45 Percent by 2025 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 14, 2015) – Today the Obama administration announced an ambitious goal of reducing methane emissions up to 45 percent by 2025. Achieving the administration’s goal could save the natural gas equivalent to 33 million tons of carbon pollution per year, and address reducing methane emissions not only in the energy sector but across the U.S. economy. 

“Methane leaks and releases are a big problem. Many cities and states have taken action to curb wasteful—and harmful—methane emissions. Until now a national methane strategy—and the resources that come along with it—have been the missing piece,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance.

“We applaud President Obama for announcing this important and significant step forward to address methane emissions. Methane is a potent source of emissions, and taking steps to reduce emissions is a substantial opportunity to put American workers squarely at the forefront of developing, manufacturing, and implementing these technologies—providing high-quality jobs and stimulating local economies. Achieving the reductions announced in this proposal would be a significant step toward realizing the vast potential American workers and technology can deliver to move the U.S. to a clean energy economy,” said Glas.

The BlueGreen Alliance sent a letter to President Obama on October 10, 2014 calling on the administration to develop a national methane strategy. In addition, in December the group placed a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post pushing for action.

The group also released a report on repairing and replacing natural gas distribution lines that showed that this could be a significant driver of jobs. The report found that by accelerating the repair and replacement of the distribution pipelines to a 10-year window versus the status quo, we would create 313,000 jobs for American workers. 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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STATEMENT: BlueGreen Alliance Applauds Gov. Brown’s Ambitious Infrastructure and Climate Change Agenda http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-applauds-gov-browns-ambitious-infrastructure-and-climate-change-agenda Mon, 05 Jan 2015 15:10:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-applauds-gov-browns-ambitious-infrastructure-and-climate-change-agenda SAN FRANCISCO (January 5, 2015) – Following Gov. Jerry Brown’s joint Inauguration and State of the State Address, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from California Director JB Tengco: 

“Repairing California’s failing infrastructure systems was front and center in today’s speech. We applaud Gov. Brown’s call to come together and tackle California’s longstanding infrastructure challenges. We cannot delay in addressing shortfalls in our critical infrastructure—like transit, energy and water. Broken down systems—from the natural gas distribution and water pipes beneath our feet to the roads and bridges in our state—create excess carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. They also cost us time and money.  

“Fixing California’s failing infrastructure can address climate change and create new jobs. Repairing these systems now is an opportunity to save money and reduce carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases, while creating family-sustaining jobs that Californians need. 

“The Governor got it right when he said, ‘Taking significant amounts of carbon out of our economy without harming its vibrancy is exactly the sort of challenge at which California excels.’ We must address climate change in ways that create and preserve family-sustaining jobs. We can’t let the clean economy be a low wage economy.”  

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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NYC Can Create Nearly 40,000 Jobs a Year Addressing Climate Change http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/nyc-can-create-nearly-40000-jobs-a-year-addressing-climate-change Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:54:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/nyc-can-create-nearly-40000-jobs-a-year-addressing-climate-change Environmental Justice Organizations, Labor Unions, and Community Groups Unveil “Climate Works for All” Agenda Urging Mayor de Blasio to Make NYC a National Model for Reducing Greenhouse Emissions While Creating Thousands of Good Jobs for Local Residents 

New York, NY— If Mayor de Blasio goes bigger and bolder on addressing climate change, he can create nearly 40,000 good jobs a year, and transform the future of New York City.

That is the major finding of an eye-opening new report, Climate Works for All: A Platform for Reducing Emissions, Protecting Our Communities, and Creating Good Jobs for New Yorkers, released today by ALIGN, along with the National AFL-CIO, the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the BlueGreen Alliance, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, and a large number of endorsers and supporters.  

The report brings together the best analysis, evidence, data, and policy thinking to show how New York City can tackle income inequality and climate change at the same time. It includes ten pragmatic proposals that, if enacted together, would create nearly 40,000 good jobs a year. Those proposals include:

  1. Requiring Large-Building Energy-Efficiency Retrofits
  2. Replacing Damaged NYCHA Boilers with Combined Heat and Power Units and
  3. Renewable Energy Systems
  4. Expanding the Green Jobs - Green New York Program for NYC
  5. Installing Solar Energy on the Rooftops of NYC’s 100 Largest Schools
  6. Replacing Leaking Natural Gas Lines throughout NYC
  7. Upgrading NYC’s Energy Distribution Systems by Investing in Microgrids
  8. Improving Flood Protection and Stormwater Management Infrastructure
  9. Reducing Transportation Emissions by Investing in Increased Bus Rapid Transit and
  10. Restoring Cut Train Lines
  11. Improving NYC’s Public Health System by Investing in Resilient Public Hospitals
  12. Increasing the Efficiency of Commercial Waste Hauling and Recycling Rates

The announcement comes on the heels of a well-attended forum at Local 32BJ SEIU earlier this week in which a broad range of approximately 200 allies met to strategize a Climate Works for All campaign for 2015 that will build on the success of the People’s Climate March and urge the de Blasio administration to take aggressive action to advance a robust climate jobs agenda.

Earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio set a bold goal of reducing New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. The Climate Works for All agenda is a roadmap for reaching the 80x50 goal while creating a more equitable economy and a massive number of new employment opportunities for struggling families, especially in lower-income communities and communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by climate change.

“Many of the same leaders and groups involved in the People’s Climate March helped develop this Climate Works for All agenda. This is a blueprint for creating the best quality jobs while enabling vulnerable communities to become more resilient and sustainable. With strong leadership from Mayor de Blasio, we can get this done and lead the way for the rest of the country. We have both an opportunity and an obligation to create a climate that truly works for all,” said Matt Ryan, Executive Director, ALIGN.

"The time is right for the bold proposals to combat climate change and create good new jobs in the Climate Works for All agenda," said Brad Markell, Executive Director, AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council. "We are encouraged that labor and community are coming together behind this agenda and by what seems possible in New York City right now."

“The Climate Works for All agenda is long overdue, especially in lower-income communities and in communities of color where income equality and climate change are most deeply connected. Enacting these proposals will create good quality jobs and career paths for New Yorkers who are exposed to the greatest hazards of climate change and economic unfairness. New York City can become the national leader on climate jobs, and elevate the grassroots voices of people on the frontlines of the environmental justice movement,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to do right by our workers and communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change by building infrastructure in a sustainable way,” said Kim Glas, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director. “Efforts to curb emissions are a good start, but there is a vast and untapped potential that exists in initiatives that mandate energy efficiency retrofits in New York’s largest buildings and replace inefficient boilers for example. Strategies like these can truly transform New York into a safer, more equitable city of the future.”

"As we work to ensure that our city is prepared for the effects of climate change, it is imperative that the working men and women performing these infrastructure upgrades have the union protections, wages, and benefits that will allow them to pay rent, raise families, and invest in their local communities," said Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. "Climate protection, economic justice, and the creation of good, union jobs must go hand in hand as we move forward in the push for a more livable New York City."

The Climate Works for All agenda is endorsed and supported by the following organizations: 

1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

350.org

American Federation of Teachers

American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter

Citizen Action

Communications Workers of America District 1

Community Voices Heard

El Puente

Environmental Defense Fund

Faith in New York

Good Old Lower East Side

Housing is a Human Right

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16

International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 12

Make the Road

Metallic Latherers& Iron Workers

Morningside Heights/West Harlem Sanitation Coalition

Mutual Housing Association of New York

New York City Environmental Justice Alliance

New York Communities for Change

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

New York State Nurses Association

Nos Quedamos

Pratt Center for Community Development

Professional Staff Congress CUNY

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union

Rockaway Wildfire

Sandy Storyline

Service Employees International Union 32BJ

Sierra Club

Sustainable South Bronx

The Point

Transport Workers Union Local 100

United Autoworkers Region 9A

UPROSE

VOCAL-NY

WE ACT

Working Families Party

Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice

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BlueGreen Alliance Defends Workers’ Rights at COP20 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-defends-workers-rights-at-cop20 Sun, 14 Dec 2014 14:09:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-defends-workers-rights-at-cop20 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 14, 2014) – Today the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP 20) concluded in Lima, Peru. BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement on the framework approved by global negotiators.

“Building off of the commitments to the Green Climate Fund and significant bilateral agreement between the US and China, the Lima Call to Action takes steps towards a global agreement at COP21 in Paris next year. However, there’s no getting around the fact that an agreement will be insufficient for millions of working families across the world unless it includes a community resilience strategy to help workers negotiate a fair and just transition to the clean economy. We are missing an important opportunity unless we choose to invest in both the economic and environmental needs of this and future generations.

“Serious consideration must also be given to policies that put a price on carbon to meet global emissions goals and invest in our communities. Climate change is having an impact on us all regardless of borders and we must do more to protect communities from these impacts. The solutions for addressing climate change cannot sacrifice workers, their families and the communities that depend on them.”

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a strategic partnership that brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a clean economy.  Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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