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 RELEASE: County Officials, Labor and Environmental Leaders Highlight Benefits of Energy Efficiency Investments http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-county-officials-labor-and-environmental-leaders-highlight-benefits-of-energy-efficiency-investments Fri, 20 May 2016 10:08:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-county-officials-labor-and-environmental-leaders-highlight-benefits-of-energy-efficiency-investments FLINT, MI (May 20, 2016) – Genesee County Commissioners Jamie W. Curtis and Michael Lynch today joined local labor and environmental leaders from the BlueGreen Alliance to highlight the benefits the county is seeing from investments made in energy efficiency in its buildings. In 2010, Genesee County entered into a contract with Johnson Controls, Inc. to upgrade facilities as part of a performance contract. The agreement stated that the benefits during the five-year term of this Agreement would be over $3.9 million. The five-year agreement has been a resounding success. 

“Making our public buildings more energy efficient is something we can do right now to create jobs and reduce pollution,” said Chairperson of the Genesee County Board of Commissioners Jamie W. Curtis (District 3). “Through our performance contract with Johnson Controls, we’ve shown that this work can have tremendous benefits.”

“The performance contract with Johnson Controls illustrates the value that energy and water efficiency can deliver to our citizens,” said Genesee County Commissioner Michael Lynch (District 7). “Energy costs make up about 10 percent of the average municipalities budget. Every dollar that we help reduce energy expenditures is one more dollar for the county’s core needs.” 

Through this partnership, between November 2014 and October 2015, the upgrades have saved over $780,000—more than $22,000 over the guaranteed cost avoidance that was expected in the third year of the agreement.

The leaders also released a report that includes a series of policy recommendations for local and state officials to utilize to spur job growth and reduce pollution by investing in energy efficiency in Municipal, University, School, and Health Care buildings. The report found that reducing energy use in Michigan public buildings and schools by 20 percent by 2030 would create or sustain 24,000 quality full-time jobs and reduce energy use by 56,000 gigawatt hours over the life of the equipment.

 “There is a great opportunity to both create and maintain good jobs with family-sustaining wages and reduce carbon emissions driving climate change in the Municipal, University, School, and Health Care sector,” said United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters (UA) Local 370 Business Manager Harold Harrington. 

“SMART members are also ready to do the needed work to reduce energy use in our public buildings, schools and health care facilities by replacing outdated HVAC systems, integrating new controls, repairing and replacing ducts, adding insulation, and the many other ways we can reduce waste,” Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation (SMART) Local 7 Business Manager Jake Denman. 

Repairing and updating homes and buildings can have a tremendous impact—reducing energy waste and creating jobs. A report released by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) found that 2.5 million people are working in the clean economy. More than 1.8 million of those jobs are in the energy efficiency sector. And, schools in particular in Michigan are in dire need of efficiency improvements. The American Society of Civil Engineers found that Michigan’s schools have about $8.9 billion of need. 

“An aggressive program to reduce energy use in Michigan's schools and health care facilities would also create good jobs with family supporting wages and benefits,” said Angela Guyadeen, deputy director, Safe Water Initiative, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Reducing our energy and water use is the right thing to do to ensure a strong economic foundation and a clean environment for future generations here in Michigan.” 

“Making our public buildings more energy efficient is just a common sense idea,” said Sue Browne, Michigan regional program manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “And it’s one that will grow good jobs and reduce pollution. This is work that needs to be done anyway, so let’s find ways to do it now and do it the right way with skilled, trained workers.”

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RELEASE: Ohio Leaders Tout Benefits of New Standards to Reduce Methane in State’s Oil and Gas Industry http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-ohio-leaders-tout-benefits-of-new-standards-to-reduce-methane-in-states-oil-and-gas-industry Fri, 13 May 2016 09:48:47 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-ohio-leaders-tout-benefits-of-new-standards-to-reduce-methane-in-states-oil-and-gas-industry Methane Standards for New Sources Will Reduce Pollution, Protect Workers and Communities, and Grow and Sustain Jobs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 12, 2016) – Civic, environmental, labor and business leaders from around Ohio today lauded new standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that will curb methane emission in the state’s oil and gas sector. The standards will apply to new and modified equipment in the oil and gas industry and will help reduce methane pollution driving climate change, ensure the health and safety of workers and communities, and grow and sustain quality jobs in the state.

“We are excited that the Obama administration has finalized these standards,” said Melanie Houston, Director of Oil and Gas Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council. “These common sense standards are a step in the right direction towards reducing one of the most potent contributors to climate change.”

“I support these standards for new and modified sources that were finalized today,” said Don Bryant, Mansfield City Council Member. “They will both be good for the short term—protecting workers, reducing pollution in our air, and safeguarding the health of our families—and in the long term for our economy and our climate.”

Methane from the oil and gas industry comes packaged with other pollutants, called Volatile Organic Compounds—or VOCs—which are a key ingredient in ground-level ozone, also called smog. In addition, these leaks release a number of pollutants known as “air toxics”—such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene that are dangerous to human beings. 

“As a healthcare professional, I know that the best way to treat any disease is to prevent it in the first place,” said Dr. Peggy Berry, Certified Occupational Health Nurse Specialist. “These standards will help ensure workers and communities are not impacted by ozone and VOCs in the first place by reducing the leaks that emit them.” 

During natural gas gathering, transmission, production, and processing activities the nation’s energy sector wastes the amount of gas it takes to heat nearly 8 million homes. Ohio’s energy sector wastes an estimated 13,000 metric tons of natural gas from leaks that could be cost-effectively reduced with technologies (many manufactured in the state) and improved industry practices. Studies show that the energy sector could cut their emissions and leaks by up to half in five years at a cost of less than 1 cent per thousand cubic feet of natural gas (mcf)—a fraction of a percent of market prices. 

“Doing this voluntarily won’t cut it, because most of the industry has failed to adopt these safeguards,” said Joe Holcomb, United Steelworkers District 1 Staff Representative. “We need to make sure the industry implements these low-cost solutions that already exist. That way we can plug the industrial gas leaks and power more homes and businesses.” 

Methane is the primary component of natural gas and it is a significant contributor to climate change. In fact, it is much more impactful on a pound-for-pound basis than carbon dioxide. 

“Climate change poses an increasingly dire threat to wildlife, communities, and public health,” said Liz Parker, a fly fisher. “Changes to our climate are projected to destroy essential wildlife habitat, cause habitat and species ranges to shift, increase incidence of pests and invasive species, change the chemistry of the ocean, and increase the rate of species’ extinction. We need to take action now to avoid the worst of these impacts.” 

The groups said that reducing methane will also create and sustain quality jobs in the state. Ohio has 12 companies operating 16 facilities across the state, ranking 9th among states in the methane mitigation industry, producing leak reduction technologies that can make these energy activities safer and more efficient. 

“Ohio parents are delighted to see our elected leaders and the EPA working together with labor, citizen, public health and environmental groups to support these commonsense standards that ultimately protect our health and wellbeing,” said Laura Burns, a mother of two and former biologist. 

“Ohio’s economy has benefited from the surge in domestic energy production in recent years, both through low oil and natural gas prices as well as in manufacturing the equipment helping to ramp up domestic energy production,” said Mayda Sanchez, Executive Director of the Ohio Sustainable Business Council. “We can also benefit from the effort to reduce methane emissions in the industry. The bottom line is that cost-effective solutions to reduce methane can be built here in Ohio.” 

“The finalization of this EPA standard on methane for new and modified sources is a positive step forward toward curbing emissions,” said Cheryl Johncox, Methane Organizer with the Sierra Club. “The next logical step is to move quickly with standards for existing sources, which make up the bulk of the methane pollution in the oil and gas industry. This will bring immediate improvement to air quality affecting communities living near oil and gas infrastructure.

Audio from the call can be downloaded here.

 

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STATEMENT: BlueGreen Alliance Applauds Obama Administration’s Guidelines to Fix Leaks and Reduce Methane Emissions http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-applauds-obama-administrations-guidelines-to-fix-leaks-and-reduce-methane-emissions Thu, 12 May 2016 10:21:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-applauds-obama-administrations-guidelines-to-fix-leaks-and-reduce-methane-emissions WASHINGTON, DC (May 12, 2016) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today finalized Emission Standards for New and Modified Sources for the Oil and Natural Gas Sector. Following the finalization, the partnership applauded the administration for curbing methane emissions and creating good jobs as a result of the highly skilled work needed to bring new sources into compliance with the critical public safety standards in a statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

“Today's announcement is a significant step forward in reigning in methane emissions. We hope policymakers work to fix methane leaks and reducing emissions throughout the energy sector—including the distribution networks carrying gas underneath our cities and towns. We’re glad to see improvements regarding inspections and innovative leak reduction technology that will be enhanced by the expertise of unionized gas sector workers. We are hopeful that today's announcement is just the beginning of an industry-wide cleanup for energy infrastructure nationwide. 

“Fixing leaks and keeping gas in the system will create and maintain quality jobs, stimulate local economies, and keep front-line communities and workers safe. Our member unions—many of which represent gas sector workers—and environmental partners support this important standard reducing methane emissions at new and modified oil and gas facilities, and look forward working with national and state leaders on other policies to fix natural gas leaks."

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STATEMENT: Climate Change Has Dramatic Impact on Worker Health, Safety http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-climate-change-has-dramatic-impact-on-worker-health-safety Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:37:47 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-climate-change-has-dramatic-impact-on-worker-health-safety WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 28, 2016) – After the release of a new report from the United Nations Development Programme—Climate Change and Labour: Impacts of Heat in the Workplace—that showed the dangers climate change poses to workers, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

“Climate change is already creating real problems in the U.S. and around the world. This new report only further illustrates how a warming planet impacts the health and safety of workers. The increased heat in workplaces, particularly jobs in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, will also hurt our economy by decreasing the productivity of workers.

“It is only fitting that this report was released on Workers Memorial Day. Each year, millions of Americans are killed or injured on the job and climate change and the extreme heat it will bring only exacerbates an already serious problem.

“Action needs to be taken now and in the future to protect workers. These actions could include more access to drinking water in workplaces, more frequent rest breaks, improved cooling systems, and other efforts that ensure workers are safeguarded from the heat. And, they should be part of a strategy to address climate change as a whole.”

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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 ON SIGNING OF PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-on-signing-of-paris-climate-agreement Fri, 22 Apr 2016 10:22:45 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-on-signing-of-paris-climate-agreement WASHINGTON, DC (April 22, 2016) – On this Earth Day, world leaders from nearly 170 countries are gathering at the United Nations to sign the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement. The BlueGreen Alliance—a partnership of U.S. labor unions and environmental organizations—released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

“Today is a historic day, as nations from all over the world gather to sign the Paris Climate Change Agreement. This agreement represents the first significant global effort to address the crisis of climate change, and we believe it lays the foundation for ensuring that the idea of addressing climate change is synonymous with creating and securing quality jobs and economic opportunities worldwide.

“We support this critical agreement because it sets an ambitious goal of keeping the world below an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius; because it provides strong accountability with measures to ensure transparency and verification of countries’ commitments; and most importantly, this agreement for the first time recognizes the impact of a transition to clean energy on workers and communities, and promises a regime that ensures a just transition.

“This is a strong step forward to solve the biggest challenge of our time. We applaud the Obama Administration for providing U.S. leadership in achieving this landmark deal, and look forward to working with this administration and the next to realize the promise of this agreement.”

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BlueGreen Alliance Statement on Designation of Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-on-designation-of-belmont-paul-womens-equality-national-monument Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:17:44 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-on-designation-of-belmont-paul-womens-equality-national-monument WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 12, 2016) – President Barack Obama today designated the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument. The following is a statement from Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance: 

“We applaud President Obama for today designating the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument, formerly the Sewell-Belmont House and Museum. This house was the center of the fight for women’s suffrage and equality, and today’s designation appropriately honors the evolving roles and contributions of women to American society. 

“Before today, only eight historic sites—just two percent of all national parks—were established to commemorate women’s contributions to American history. We thank President Obama for recognizing the important contributions of American women and for his continuing efforts to create equality for all Americans.“ 

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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: BlueGreen Alliance Lauds Release of Silica Rule http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-lauds-release-of-silica-rule Thu, 24 Mar 2016 11:19:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-lauds-release-of-silica-rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 24, 2016) – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced a final rule to improve protections for workers exposed to silica dust. The following is a statement from Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance:

“We applaud the administration’s announcement of the final version of the long overdue silica rule in the presence of so few new worker protections. After 40 years of regulatory delay, this rule could save nearly 700 lives and prevent 1,600 cases of silicosis a year. Silica dust has been a known carcinogen since the 1970’s; exposure to the mineral can cause a multitude of illnesses including silicosis, lung cancer, kidney disease, and respiratory diseases. The estimated 2.2 million workers who are exposed to this carcinogen everyday all deserve the protection these new standards will offer.

“No job can be considered a good job if it is not, first and foremost, a safe job. We applaud OSHA for finalizing this rule amid staunch industry resistance and look forward to continuing to work with the agency on policies that limit workplace hazards.” 

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STATEMENT: BlueGreen Alliance Statement on Todd Stern’s Decision to Step Down as U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statementbluegreen-alliance-statement-on-todd-sterns-decision-to-step-down-as-u-s-special-envoy-for-climate-change Wed, 23 Mar 2016 16:26:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statementbluegreen-alliance-statement-on-todd-sterns-decision-to-step-down-as-u-s-special-envoy-for-climate-change WASHINGTON, DC (March 23, 2016) – BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement after the announcement of Todd Stern’s decision to step down as U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change in April:

“Climate change poses dire consequences for our environment, our economy, public health, food and national security. Over the past seven years, Todd Stern has served as U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. State Department. In this position, he has been a tireless advocate for stemming climate change, ultimately serving as the lead negotiator, and one of the driving forces, of the Paris Agreement. The agreement will help to reduce carbon emissions and curb the effects of climate change. Mr. Stern effectively led these negotiations and was critical in ensuring that the agreement was fair and just for working people and the environment.

“We thank Todd Stern for his contributions and tireless advocacy. We look forward to continuing to work with Jonathan Pershing on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the development of other critical policies to address climate change.” 

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STATEMENT: BlueGreen Alliance Praises Obama Administration for Commitment to Limit Methane Emissions from Existing Oil and Gas Operations http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-praises-obama-administration-for-commitment-to-limit-methane-emissions-from-existing-oil-and-gas-operations Thu, 10 Mar 2016 14:30:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-praises-obama-administration-for-commitment-to-limit-methane-emissions-from-existing-oil-and-gas-operations WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 10, 2016) – The Obama administration today announced plans to limit methane emissions from existing industrial oil and gas facilities. The following is a statement from Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance:

"We laud the administration’s continuing efforts to reduce methane pollution and natural gas leaks. Pound for pound, methane is at least 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a climate change pollutant. Existing sources in the oil and gas industry are expected to account for up to 90 percent of methane emissions by 2018, and covering these activities is a tremendous opportunity to prompt the energy sector to invest in efficiency, reduce leaks, fight climate change, create and sustain quality jobs, and improve safety.

"Keeping natural gas in the system is good for the environment and a significant opportunity to put American workers squarely at the forefront of developing, manufacturing, and implementing technologies needed to accomplish this—providing high-quality jobs and stimulating local economies. We look forward to helping the administration to achieve their goal of reducing methane pollution by up to 45 percent of 2012 levels by 2025."

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STATEMENT: BlueGreen Alliance Applauds Reauthorization of Safe Pipes Act http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-phmsa Fri, 04 Mar 2016 10:53:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-phmsa WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 4, 2016) - Following the Senate’s reauthorization of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, also known as the Safe Pipes Act, the BlueGreen Alliance released this statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

“We applaud the Senate for reauthorizing the Safe Pipes Act, important legislation that enables the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to carry out its mission of protecting the public. Right now, PHMSA is working to establish rules that will facilitate upgrades to safer, more efficient technology and help ensure workers get the best training before making repairs to leaking pipes.

“The Safe Pipes Act expired six months, ago and it’s about time Congress is taking action. We encourage the House to follow the Senate's lead and swiftly reauthorize the Safe Pipes Act, which will help to reduce methane emissions, address climate change, and create quality jobs for American workers.”

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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: BlueGreen Alliance Statement on President’s FY 2017 Budget http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-on-presidents-fy-2017-budget Tue, 09 Feb 2016 13:24:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-on-presidents-fy-2017-budget WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 9, 2016) Following the release of President Barack Obama’s FY 2017 Budget, the BlueGreen Alliance released this statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

“We applaud President Obama’s continued commitment to building a thriving, clean economy. In particular, we laud this budget’s dedication to clean energy and energy efficiency, to modernizing and making safer America’s transportation and natural gas systems, and to making vital investments in international climate efforts and resiliency. In addition, the budget will help ensure we are building next generation of clean energy and transportation technologies here in America and expanding access to apprenticeships—and the good jobs that go with them.

“The budget will also aid workers and communities impacted by the transition to a clean economy with increased funding for the Power+ Initiative. However, Congress needs to show the same commitment by fully funding this program. The needs are great to ensure impacted workers and communities have the resources necessary to retrain workers and create jobs.

“As the Flint water crisis has shown, there is a dire need for strong investments in our nation’s drinking water infrastructure. While this budget increased funding for drinking water, it decreases funding for waste water systems. There should be room in the budget for both drinking water safety and other investments that safeguard America’s water.

“The president’s final budget makes critical investments in creating good jobs and protecting the environment, workers and communities, and we look forward to working with the administration and Congress to further these priorities.”

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RELEASE: Ohio Women Leaders Call for State Blueprint to Meet EPA’s Clean Power Plan http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-ohio-women-leaders-call-for-state-blueprint-to-meet-epas-clean-power-plan Thu, 28 Jan 2016 10:29:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-ohio-women-leaders-call-for-state-blueprint-to-meet-epas-clean-power-plan COLUMBUS, Ohio (January 28, 2015) Prominent civic, labor and community women leaders today spoke out in favor of Gov. Kasich taking action to implement a state blueprint to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan that will create and sustain quality jobs, improve the air quality in the state to protect public health, and create economic opportunity for all Ohioans. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) puts the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing sources, like power plants. The CPP gives states flexibility and the opportunity to draw up their own blueprints—called State Implementation Plans—to meet the carbon pollution reduction target.

"It is time to reinstate Ohio's strong renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and reduce harmful power plant emissions through implementation of the Clean Power Plan," said State Representative Nickie Antonio. "We simply cannot afford any more delays in protecting our economy, our environment, and our health—especially the health of our children."

Meeting the CPP will also benefit public health. The EPA estimates climate and health benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion in 2030, including avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children.

Those benefits are why Columbus-area mother Michelle Timmons, whose son has asthma, strongly supports acting now to create a state plan.

"As parents, we always want what is best for the future of our children," said Michele Timmons, a Reynoldsburg mother with an asthmatic son. "By implementing the Clean Power Plan and restoring Ohio’s clean energy standards, our state’s leaders have the opportunity to stand up for the health of our kids. It is the right thing to do, and it will make this mother proud to be an Ohioan." 

The event, which took place at the Ohio Statehouse in the Ladies’ Gallery, also focused on the need for lawmakers and Gov. Kasich to “unfreeze” the state’s clean energy and energy efficiency laws. The laws were put on hold by the legislature and Kasich in 2014.

“Cleaner energy and energy efficiency can be opportunities to grow quality jobs,” said Teresa Hartley, United Steelworkers District 1 Women of Steel Coordinator. “From the manufacturing of renewable energy component parts and power plants themselves, to construction, installation, maintenance, and operation of these cleaner energy systems, our state stands to gain from smart policies and strategic investments that build a clean energy economy right here in Ohio.”

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STATEMENT: President Obama Will Leave a Lasting Climate Legacy http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-president-obama-will-leave-a-lasting-climate-legacy Tue, 12 Jan 2016 21:05:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-president-obama-will-leave-a-lasting-climate-legacy WASHINGTON, DC (January 12, 2015) – After the conclusion of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

“Seven years after President Obama took office, our economy is getting back on track and the United States has taken the most significant action yet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will help to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. From early investments in the clean energy economy, to the Clean Power Plan, vehicle emissions rules, the Paris agreement, and standards to reduce natural gas leaks, President Obama has set the stage to address climate change in a way that creates and maintains quality jobs.

“However, there is still more to be done. The Obama administration can continue this work by finalizing standards to reduce natural gas leaks in new and modified energy facilities, and extending those standards to existing facilities. In addition, as states work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, President Obama and Congress should jumpstart efforts to provide transition assistance for workers and communities impacted by America’s energy transition. Finally, we remain concerned about how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will impact jobs and the environment. The TPP is neither a fair nor just agreement, and if approved by Congress, will cost American workers their jobs and put our hard-won workplace and environmental protections at risk. Congress should reject it.

 “We thank President Obama for his leadership and dedication to building a stronger, fairer economy and protecting our environment. We are proud to have supported these efforts and look forward to continuing to work with him to achieve more great things 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: BlueGreen Alliance Lauds International Climate Agreement http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-lauds-international-climate-agreement Sat, 12 Dec 2015 09:31:37 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-lauds-international-climate-agreement WASHINGTON, DC (December 10, 2015) – Following the release of the final text of the Paris Agreement awaiting adoption at COP21 in Paris, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

 “This is a proud moment in world history and a strong step forward to solving the biggest challenge of our time. While not perfect—the Paris Agreement urges a just transition for impacted workers and underscores the obligation to protect human rights. The Agreement does right by us all because it sets a goal and structure that could keep our world below 1.5 degree C of warming. The Agreement also made significant progress towards helping developing nations fund efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and in ensuring both transparency and verification of everyone’s commitments. Enforcement and follow through are now key.

“While it is no doubt a victory for working people that strong reference to a just transition and decent work was included in such a landmark deal, its placement is solely in the preamble. Rest assured, we will continue to fight for just transition—along with human rights, gender equality and the other core social issues that were in the text going into COP21—to become an operational item within the structures created in the Agreement and the UNFCCC. Still, the inclusion in the preamble is without a doubt a call to action to all nations to take on climate change in accordance with the needs of their people, and we plan to hold them accountable.

“We have been honored to stand alongside the diverse representation of civil society—labor, environment, human rights, youth, justice, gender equality, indigenous peoples and others—in this journey towards a world that is fair, just and not ravaged by climate change. We are not there yet, but that world is in sight.”

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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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RELEASE: U.S. Labor, Environmental Organizations Call for Effective, Accountable and Just International Climate Agreement http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-u-s-labor-environmental-organizations-call-for-effective-accountable-and-just-international-climate-agreement Mon, 30 Nov 2015 09:04:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-u-s-labor-environmental-organizations-call-for-effective-accountable-and-just-international-climate-agreement WASHINGTON, DC (November 30, 2015) – As world leaders gather in Paris today, the BlueGreen Alliance, a partnership of U.S. labor unions and environmental organizations, called on countries to reach an international climate agreement that reflects several key principles to ensure that such an agreement is effective, accountable, and ensures a just transition for workers and communities across the world.

“It is absolutely critical that countries reach an agreement in Paris over the next few weeks that takes the first step to address climate change,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the U.S.-based nonprofit organization. “We need an agreement that is not only effective in staving off the worst impact of climate change, but one that also ensures fairness and a just transition for workers and communities in the United States and across the world.”

The BlueGreen Alliance outlined several principles for an effective, accountable and just international climate change agreement. Among them, the partnership urged that the agreement set a transformational long-term goal and ensures a review of nations’ commitments every five years to ensure that we are increasing the level of ambition to meet scientific reality.

The BlueGreen Alliance also strongly urged that Just Transition and Decent Work language be included in both the preamble and operational articles of the agreement. Such language acknowledges that the transition to a clean energy economy requires the resources, policies and priorities needed to retool our nation, create family-sustaining jobs, strengthen and grow no- and low-carbon sectors, and ensure communities are healthy and safe.

The partnership also urged that an agreement include the necessary means for measurement, verification and review, as well as provisions for biennial reporting and review, saying that these measures were necessary to ensure a level playing field for globally competitive manufacturing while ensuring we meet our environmental objectives.

“Ensuring a strong, binding agreement to reduce carbon emissions worldwide is an essential first step in addressing climate change,” said Glas. “Just transition, transparency and accountability are critical to ensuring fair playing field for workers and communities at home and abroad. We hope that Paris will represent a turning point where the world focuses on serious action to achieve reductions in carbon pollution to address the threat of climate change.”

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RELEASE: Labor, Environmental Leaders Call on Congress to Reject Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-labor-environmental-leaders-call-on-congress-to-reject-tpp Tue, 10 Nov 2015 11:40:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-labor-environmental-leaders-call-on-congress-to-reject-tpp WASHINGTON, DC (November 10, 2015) – Leaders from the BlueGreen Alliance—a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations—and their allies today reacted to the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was released late last week. The leaders identified four key areas where the agreement falls short—including the risk to American manufacturing jobs, the Investor-State Dispute System, and labor and environmental standards—and urged Congress to vote “no” on the TPP.

"The TPP undermines our manufacturing sector and, like NAFTA, KORUS and other free trade agreements before, will ship good-paying American jobs overseas," said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers. "The TPP would richly reward gigantic multi-national corporations that already have moved or plan to move U.S. factories to low-wage, low-standard TPP countries. This is a bad deal for American workers."

Gerard pointed to the impact of past trade agreements, including the last ratified agreement completed in 2012 between the U.S. and Korea (KORUS), which caused a net loss of 75,000 jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute. In the first three years after that agreement took effect, U.S. domestic exports to Korea increased by only $0.8 billion—or 1.8 percent. Imports from Korea increased $12.6 billion, an increase of 22.5 percent.

The leaders also highlighted the TPP’s flawed Investor-State Dispute System (ISDS), which could allow an unelected tribunal to veto America’s environmental and labor laws at the behest of corporations. The system also allows companies to be compensated for damages.

“Corporations have been using the dangerous investor-state dispute settlement process to attack common-sense air, water, and climate protections for years. The TPP would only make a bad situation worse, expanding this system to thousands of new corporations for the first time ever,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “The TPP is a toxic deal for American families. We can’t afford to trade away our ability to protect workers and communities, our environment, and our climate. This corporate giveaway is just another reason why Congress should reject the TPP.”

"Even a cursory review demonstrates how the Trans-Pacific Partnership fails working families. It forces the U.S. to compete with countries with low-wage workers. It's a deal negotiated by and for the 1 percent, and our broad coalition will continue to oppose it," said Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Chris Shelton.

Celeste Drake, Trade Policy Specialist for the AFL-CIO, raised concerns about how the agreement will impact the rights of working people.

"The TPP is a corporate rights agreement that threatens good jobs and wages in the U.S. while allowing worker abuses abroad to continue unabated,” said AFL-CIO Trade Policy Specialist Celeste Drake. “Instead of incorporating new mechanisms to create a race to the top for workers and the environment, it repeats the special interest giveaways we’ve seen in past agreements.”

In terms of environmental protections, the groups said that the agreement may not force countries to live up to obligations on key international agreements or to stop illegal and unsustainable activities that are destroying the ocean, wildlife, and forests.

"This trade agreement would allow foreign corporations to challenge our health, safety and environmental protections in a foreign tribunal outside our legal system, and it would weaken those bedrock safeguards in the United States. While there are some positive conservation measures, the agreement's substantial shortcomings should lead Congress to reject it," said Jake Schmidt, International Program Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

The audio of the call is available here

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STATEMENT: Time for States to Move Forward to Meet Clean Power Plan http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-clean-power-plan-fed-reg Fri, 23 Oct 2015 09:04:34 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-clean-power-plan-fed-reg WASHINGTON, DC (October 23, 2015) – After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan was officially published in the Federal Register—an important procedural step that marks the beginning of implementation, interpretation and review of the rule—the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

“Today, the Clean Power Plan moves forward. States should now take the proactive step of developing an implementation plan that reduces emissions and creates and secures good jobs.

“Done right, state implementation plans can and should expand renewable energy, invest in energy efficiency—including for industrial facilities—and make traditional generation cleaner and more efficient. These are solutions that will help states meet these goals while maximizing the creation of good jobs in communities across America.

“However, as America continues this move to clean energy, we must provide assistance to those communities negatively impacted by this transition. States can and should provide support directly to workers and communities, recognizing adverse job and community impacts where they may occur and creating an integrated program to specifically and directly address them."

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STATEMENT: POWER Initiative Awards Much Needed Help For Communities Dealing With Energy Transition http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-power-initiative-awards-much-needed-help-for-communities-dealing-with-energy-transition Thu, 15 Oct 2015 13:17:15 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-power-initiative-awards-much-needed-help-for-communities-dealing-with-energy-transition WASHINGTON, DC (October 15, 2015) – After the announcement by the White House today of 36 Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative awards totaling $15 million, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas: 

“Today’s awards will help communities and partnerships to create comprehensive economic development strategies for their region.

“We appreciate the Obama administration’s efforts to ensure that impacted workers and communities get the help they need to manage the transition to clean energy. We also applaud the administration for listening to organizations like ours who have been calling for a comprehensive, inter-agency approach to transition and creating these programs. The BlueGreen Alliance has and will continue to work with stakeholders in impacted communities to develop a plan and to implement economic development and job creation strategies like those awarded by the Department of Commerce today.

 “The POWER grants are an important first step, but we should and can do much more. We urge Congress to take action to ensure impacted workers and communities get the resources they need to drive economic development and create and secure quality family-sustaining jobs.”

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STATEMENT: Lifting Crude Oil Export Ban Hurts Workers, Environment http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-lifting-crude-oil-export-ban-hurts-workers-environment Fri, 09 Oct 2015 12:31:05 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-lifting-crude-oil-export-ban-hurts-workers-environment WASHINGTON, DC (October 9, 2015) – After the U.S. House of Representatives today voted to lift the long-standing ban on exporting crude oil, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas: 

“Congress’ unrelenting attacks on workers and our environment continued with their vote today to lift the crude oil export ban. 

“Refinery and related industry jobs strengthen our communities by providing good wages and benefits for workers. Lifting the crude oil export ban will provide an incentive for companies to offshore those jobs, hurting the men and women employed at refineries, and the economy of the communities they live in. This vote will also undermine our progress on environmental standards, such as the EPA’s Tier 3 sulfur standard rule, which will reduce asthma attacks and other health impacts by eliminating millions of tons of harmful emissions from our atmosphere. 

“Instead of exporting pollution and quality jobs offshore, Congress should focus on improving health and safety standards for workers in the U.S. oil industry and supporting efforts to address climate change.”

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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: HELP ACT Is Start Toward Protecting Workers, Communities Impacted by Energy Transition http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-help-act-is-start-toward-protecting-workers-communities-impacted-by-energy-transition Wed, 07 Oct 2015 10:35:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-help-act-is-start-toward-protecting-workers-communities-impacted-by-energy-transition WASHINGTON, DC (October 6, 2015) – Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT) today introduced legislation designed to create a worker adjustment assistance program to provide job training and other benefits for workers who have been affected by the closures of coal mines and coal-fired power plants, as well as to other affected coal-dependent businesses and communities. Following the introduction of the Healthy Employee Loss Prevention (HELP) Act, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas: 

“We applaud Reps. Welch and McKinley for introducing this important legislation as it is a necessary step forward to support and protect workers and communities that are impacted by America’s energy transition. This bill, along with other important initiatives like the administration’s POWER+ Initiative, are critical to making that happen. 

“However, we can do more. We must ensure that skills development and re-employment programs actually lead to quality employment, matching or exceeding the well-paid jobs that have been lost. Support for pension and benefits of displaced workers is key to ensuring a decent standard of living, and efforts to support investment and economic development and diversification in these communities—where new jobs can be created—should not be overlooked. 

“We look forward to working with Reps. Welch and McKinley to move this and other efforts forward to ensure that workers or communities are not left behind.”

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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: Trans-Pacific Partnership Represents Missed Opportunity http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-trans-pacific-partnership-represents-missed-opportunity Mon, 05 Oct 2015 11:35:13 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-trans-pacific-partnership-represents-missed-opportunity WASHINGTON, DC (October 5, 2015) – Following years of closed-door negotiations, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) today announced an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas: 

“Today’s announcement marks a significant missed opportunity. While the American people have not been allowed to read the agreement itself, indications are that it will fail in its attempts to uphold high labor, environmental, and human rights standards. Any trade agreement must ensure the protection of our environment and the creation and maintenance of quality jobs in the United States. 

“If history is our guide, too often trade agreements threaten environmental sustainability, limit rights for workers, and undermine America’s fragile manufacturing and tradable service sectors. Based on leaked reports—the deal falls woefully short. It’s time for USTR to release the text so the American people can read the details in the light of day.”  

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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: International Organization of Reproductive Health Physicians Calls For Action on Toxic Chemicals http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-international-organization-of-reproductive-health-physicians-calls-for-action-on-toxic-chemicals Thu, 01 Oct 2015 09:15:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-international-organization-of-reproductive-health-physicians-calls-for-action-on-toxic-chemicals WASHINGTON, DC (October 1, 2015) – After the release of a new opinion by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics on how exposure to toxic chemicals before and during pregnancy can lead to severe health problems, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Vice President of Health Initiatives Charlotte Brody: 

“This opinion from physicians around the world is a clarion call for action on toxic chemicals that are harming our health. The report lists 118 studies that describe how cancer, infertility, birth defects, low birth weight, attention deficit disorder and other learning problems are linked to chemical exposures in parents before conception and during the prenatal period. Mothers and fathers, especially low income and women of color in America and throughout the world, are being exposed to chemicals both in their communities and their workplaces that may dramatically affect not just their own health, but the health of their babies as well. 

“Health professionals from around the world are calling for action; it’s time we listened.” 

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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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RELEASE: Labor, Environmental Leaders Release Report and Case Study on Pennsylvania’s Energy Transition http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/labor-environmental-leaders-release-report-and-case-study-on-pennsylvanias-energy-transition Wed, 30 Sep 2015 13:24:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/labor-environmental-leaders-release-report-and-case-study-on-pennsylvanias-energy-transition WASHINGTON, Pa (September 30, 2015) – Labor and environmental leaders in Washington, Pennsylvania today released a report on southwestern Pennsylvania’s energy transition that examines the region and how it will be impacted by the transition, as well as a case study that looks at the lessons learned by the closures of Hatfield’s Ferry and Mitchell Power Stations. The report and case study reflect on the energy sector’s transition that is underway in the state and around the country. 

“America’s energy sector is in the middle of a transition as we carry out the important, and necessary, work of addressing climate change,” said Khari Mosley, the regional program manager for the BlueGreen Alliance in Pennsylvania. “To accomplish this goal in a manner also tailored to create jobs, we must learn from the past, and incorporate policies to protect workers and communities impacted by this transition to ensure that the new jobs created are quality jobs with middle-class wages and good benefits.“ 

The landscape of the U.S. energy sector has been shifting for many years. Last year, coal accounted for 39 percent of total U.S. electricity generation. That is down from 50 percent during 2003-2008. A combination of factors are forging a new reality where lower natural gas prices, rising coal costs, the growing presence of energy efficiency and renewable energy are driving the market. 

The case study, America’s Energy Transition: A Case Study in the Past and Present of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Power Sector, looks back at the Hatfield’s Ferry and Mitchell Power Stations shutdowns and examines the potential to take those lessons and turn them into good policies that can protect workers, build up the local economy, and ensure that no one is left behind in this energy transition. 

“We need to take the lessons learned from the Hatfield’s Ferry and Mitchell Power Stations shutdowns in 2013 and apply them to ensure workers and communities impacted by America’s energy transition are not left behind,” said Assistant to the International President of the United Steelworkers Dewitt Walton. 

“Make no mistake, the closures of those plants by First Energy was handled in the worst possible way. And, it did not need to be that way,” said Center for Coalfield Justice Executive Director Patrick Grenter. “We must take the hard lessons learned and apply them here, around the state and region and even nationally.”  

Managing the Employment Impact of Energy Transition in Pennsylvania Coal Country examines the broader southwest Pennsylvania region and looks at four scenarios on how our energy mix will change over time—including how the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would impact the region. 

“This report shows that we’ll see net job increases in employment in energy by 2030—even in this region,” said Mick Power, membership and campaign coordinator for the US Climate Action Network and author of the report. “Renewable energy and energy efficiency create more jobs than fossil fuels, but there will be a loss in long-term operating and maintenance jobs. We need to make the right policy choices and take the right actions to ensure the jobs created are quality jobs and workers are trained in the skills needed to do them.” 

The report recommends investments in research, taking proactive steps to deal with possible job losses as part of the transition head on and honestly, ensuring that southwest Pennsylvanians obtains funds from existing sources to expand transition programs, and insisting there is a just transition for workers and communities impacted. 

“By taking the lessons we’ve learned to heart, making the right policy decisions to ensure jobs created during this energy transition are quality jobs, and taking steps to ensure workers and communities impacted are treated fairly, we will ensure a just energy transition for all of us,” said Randy Francisco, Pennsylvania organizing representative for Sierra Club.

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RELEASE: Strong Methane Standards Win for Economy, Environment http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/strong-methane-standards-win-for-economy-environment Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:00:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/strong-methane-standards-win-for-economy-environment PITTSBURGH (September 30, 2015) – Members of the BlueGreen Alliance today testified during the EPA’s Pittsburgh hearing, and afterwards held a labor roundtable on proposed standards to reduce methane emissions from the energy sector. Labor and environmental leaders testified in favor of the proposed standards, citing the need to keep workers safe, the opportunity to create quality jobs, and the impact methane has on our environment and climate.

“As workers, we have a uniquely informed perspective on the industry,” said Bernie LaBelle, National Representative for the Utility Workers Union of America in his testimony to the EPA. “Reducing methane both upstream and downstream can produce a double benefit—many times there is a nexus between environmental protection and public and worker safety.”

“We support EPA's efforts to reduce methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) across the spectrum of natural gas infrastructure. We support aggressive leak detection, surveying, and monitoring with appropriate mitigation in a timely fashion,” continued LaBelle.

“As a nurse I support the proposals of the methane rules to help protect our families, communities and health and our common home. Too many individuals have already been harmed so we must take action now to protect future public health impacts from methane," said Michelle Boyle, a Registered Nurse and member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare PA.

While the nation’s energy sector has made significant strides to increase the efficiency of our natural gas systems in recent years, leaking methane continues to harm the economy and the environment. Proven, low-cost technologies are already commercially available to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 50 percent in the next five years. The BlueGreen Alliance said that without enforceable standards, energy companies have little incentive to improve operations and reduce methane emissions by keeping gas in the system, despite the availability and cost-effectiveness of mitigation technology.

The proposed standards are a leap ahead in attaining the Obama administration’s stated 10-year, up to 45 percent methane reduction goal, and the BlueGreen Alliance said they hope the EPA embraces other critical approaches to reduce unnecessary natural gas leaks, such as at existing methane-emitting facilities, and especially in the distribution pipelines underneath cities carrying natural gas to individual homes and businesses.

“Strong national methane standards are a win for our economy and environment,” said the BlueGreen Alliance’s Pennsylvania Regional Program Manager Khari Mosley during his testimony. “The BlueGreen Alliance thanks the EPA and the administration for their efforts to curb methane emissions. Doing so is both vital to addressing climate change and creating good jobs for American workers.”

The BlueGreen Alliance’s full testimony is available online here

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RELEASE: Congress Should Heed Pope’s Message on Climate Change, Economic Justice http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-congress-should-heed-popes-message-on-climate-change-economic-justice Thu, 24 Sep 2015 10:45:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-congress-should-heed-popes-message-on-climate-change-economic-justice WASHINGTON, DC (September 24, 2015) – Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress this morning. The labor and environmental leaders of the BlueGreen Alliance urged Members of Congress to heed the Pope’s message for action on climate change and to help address income inequality in the U.S. and across the world. 

“Hopefully Congress listened to Pope Francis today,” said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard. “It is time for the United States to provide global leadership in addressing climate change, and to build a fair economy that creates good-paying jobs and environmental sustainability for American workers, families, and communities.” 

“Pope Francis’ message that we have a moral obligation to act on the climate crisis, and that the climate is a ‘common good,’ cannot be ignored," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “The climate crisis transcends borders and politics, and, this week, the Pope’s guidance and call to action will be heard across the nation, across faiths, and across party lines. We continue to be inspired by Pope Francis’ clear call for responsible stewardship of the earth.” 

Yesterday, Pope Francis called on Americans to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world. 

“All too often those who pay the highest price for climate change are those in low-income communities, people of color, the elderly and the sick,” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “It’s time for Congress to stick up for all of our people, stand up to the dangers of climate change, and embrace the promise of clean, renewable power. This shouldn’t divide us, red and blue; it should unite us all, as Americans.” 

“The time is now to heed the Pope’s call and move forward to invest in the necessary physical and human infrastructure to make the clean energy economy that supports family sustaining jobs a reality,” said Utility Workers Union of America National President D. Michael Langford. “Addressing climate change isn’t just a chance to do right by future generations. It is also our opportunity to build a stronger, fairer economy for all workers.” 

Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton said, “We cannot afford to wait any longer to take action on climate change that will create good jobs and sustainable communities, and make our economy more just. We must join the Pope in his vision not only to take on climate change but to attack the cause of global poverty.” 

Earlier this year, the Vatican released an encyclical that highlighted the urgent need for climate action. In it, Pope Francis wrote, “recent World Summits on the environment have not lived up to expectations because, due to lack of political will, they were unable to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment.”  

“The Pope called on Americans and the rest of the world to address the problems of our time with the urgency of now,” said Kim Glas, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “The greater good must triumph over political ideology.  We must leave the world with a better future for our children.  It’s time to put aside partisan rhetoric and heed that call.” 

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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

 

 

Eric Steen

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