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 Please Join Us: The BlueGreen Alliance Talks Infrastructure in Camden http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/repairing-america-bluegreen-alliance-talks-infrastructure-in-camden-during-democratic-national-convention Tue, 19 Jul 2016 10:19:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/repairing-america-bluegreen-alliance-talks-infrastructure-in-camden-during-democratic-national-convention Join us on Monday, July 25, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. in Camden, New Jersey, during the Democratic National Convention for a panel on driving infrastructure investment, creating jobs, and building stronger cities:
 

REPAIRING AMERICA

How Camden Invested in Infrastructure to Create Jobs and Build A Sustainable Economy

Please join us for a special panel discussion during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia—using the success story of Camden, New Jersey, as the backdrop of our discussion—as local and national leaders discuss the city’s economic revitalization and importance of infrastructure investment to drive a vital and sustainable American economy.
 
The panel will feature:
  • Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ-1)
  • Camden New Jersey Mayor Dana Redd
  • Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) COO & President Ralph LaRossa
  • Utility Workers Union of America National President Mike Langford
  • United Association International Representative David Donato
  • IBEW International Representative Wyatt Earp
  • BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas
  • Moderator: Bloomberg Government’s Loren Duggan
 
Monday, July 25, 2016 • 10:00 a.m.
Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Dr, Camden, NJ 08103
 
Parking available on-site; Location is 10-minute drive from the Philadelphia’s 30th Street Train Station
 
RSVP to Linda Nielsen (lindan@bluegreenalliance.org) by Friday, July 22.
 
          
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STATEMENT: BlueGreen Alliance Welcomes Release of Technical Assessment Report http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-welcomes-release-of-technical-assessment-report Mon, 18 Jul 2016 13:35:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-welcomes-release-of-technical-assessment-report WASHINGTON, DC (July 18, 2016) – Following today’s release of the Technical Assessment Report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas:

“We welcome the release of the Technical Assessment Report, which is the first step in the Midterm Evaluation of the 2017-2025 Light-Duty Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Standards. We look forward to reviewing this assessment in detail, and commend the manufacturers and workers all across America who are already meeting the challenge of building an innovative new generation of vehicles.

“America’s landmark fuel economy standards are working. These well-crafted standards, working hand-in-hand with sound manufacturing policy, have shown that the nation can lead in combating climate change while rebuilding American jobs and manufacturing. These environmental and economic objectives remain critical. These standards have helped to deeply reduce carbon emissions, saved consumers money and fuel, and spurred innovation and investment across all types of vehicles and components—creating job growth and developing a more robust and innovative supply chain across the industry.

“This Midterm Evaluation provides an opportunity to take stock of the major progress to date, and we look forward to working to ensure this critical momentum continues."

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Photo Credit: Ford Motor Co.

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STATEMENT: BlueGreen Alliance Applauds Stonewall Inn National Monument Designation http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-applauds-stonewall-inn-national-monument-designation Fri, 24 Jun 2016 15:22:40 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-applauds-stonewall-inn-national-monument-designation WASHINGTON, DC (June 24, 2016) – Following President Obama’s designation of the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park as a national monument, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Kim Glas: 

“We applaud President Obama for designating the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park a national monument. This is the birthplace of the modern LGBT movement and is now the first addition to National Park System specifically highlighting the history of the LGBT community.

“We are proud that this historic landmark is being recognized for its critical role in the modern LGBT civil rights movement. While there is still much to do, today we are honored to be part of the great patchwork that is the American people and are proud to have a President that recognizes and celebrates our diversity and strength as a nation."

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RELEASE: Federal Coal Leasing System Should Help Ensure Clean Economy Transition for Workers and Communities http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/federal-coal-leasing-system-should-be-improved Tue, 21 Jun 2016 11:44:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/federal-coal-leasing-system-should-be-improved WASHINGTON, DC (June 21, 2016) – Today, the BlueGreen Alliance—a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations—submitted written comments on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s review of the Bureau of Land Management’s Federal Coal Leasing Program, saying that critical reform is needed to  ensure a just transition for workers and communities to a clean energy economy. The BlueGreen Alliance will also offer testimony today at field hearings in Seattle, Washington, and later this month in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

June 21, 2016

 

Sally Jewell, Secretary

U.S. Department of the Interior

1849 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20240

 

Neil Kornze, Director

Bureau of Land Management

1849 C Street NW, Room 5665

Washington, DC 20240

 

In Re: Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to Modernize the Federal Coal Program

Submitted via: BLM_WO_Coal_Program_PEIS_Comments@blm.gov

 

Dear Secretary Jewell and Director Kornze:

On January 15, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) issued Order No. 3338 directing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to conduct a broad, programmatic review of the federal coal leasing program, which is administered by the BLM. This order was issued in response to a range of concerns about whether American taxpayers are receiving a fair return from the development of publicly owned resources, markets for coal, the consequences for coal-dependent communities, and whether the production of coal under the federal program is consistent with the nation’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

In response, the BlueGreen Alliance, a national coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations representing more than 15 million workers, environmentalists, consumers, and tax-paying citizens, today expresses appreciation for the administration’s effort to reform the federal coal leasing system and to offer comments as to how the system can best serve a wide range of stakeholder interests.

The BlueGreen Alliance believes that the federal coal leasing program is broken and long overdue for an update that ensures fairness to taxpayers and better accounts for environmental impacts. The contemplated overhaul of this program is, however, not only an opportunity to fix a broken system, but also an opportunity to take a hard look at how coal-dependent communities, regional economies, and individual workers can transition to new economic models. It is also imperative that coal companies reclaim public lands that they have developed to mitigate the land and water impacts of coal mines and to assist communities in transition through the jobs which reclamation work provides.

The contemplated review of the federal coal leasing systems must evaluate BLM authority and opportunities—as well as actions other agencies and Congress could take—to help ensure a just transition for workers and communities to a clean energy economy. Such actions should include robust investment in community economic development, protection of worker livelihoods, and development of new tax revenue sources for local economies.

Coal has been an important domestic energy source for decades and that fact will continue in the years ahead. Production of this energy resource has been facilitated by the federal government, as roughly 40 percent of all U.S. coal production occurs on taxpayer-owned federal land.

However, over time, it has become clear that the decades-old regulations governing the federal coal program have become outdated and do not necessarily reflect modern day market and environmental realities. It is imperative that taxpayers and local communities receive a fair return from any extraction of these publicly owned resources, through a program that is transparent, competitive, and designed to serve the public interest, rather than that of a narrow sub-set of the energy extraction industry.

Given the serious concerns that have been raised about the federal coal program, and the enormous reserves of coal already under lease, the BlueGreen Alliance agrees with the BLM’s decision to institute a pause on new coal leasing on public lands while this review is taking place. Future coal leases should benefit from all of the lessons learned and public comment gathered during the course of this programmatic review process.

Key to our support for this pause is the fact that companies that are already producing coal from existing federal leases have enough coal leased to be able to continue mining operations without interruption during the span of this program review and beyond. A comprehensive review of this broken system is needed. Nevertheless, as part of that review, the BLM should consider provisions to protect communities supported by existing mines.

A Fair Return for a Public Resource

Regulatory gaps that allow coal companies to effectively sell coal to themselves for below market values to avoid paying full royalties, allow massive deductions for the processing and transportation of coal, and create effective royalty rate reductions, amount to a form of federally subsidized corporate welfare benefiting a select few companies to the detriment of American taxpayers who must carry this expense.

Coal companies that sell coal to themselves at intentionally depressed prices in order to mathematically reduce the royalties that would otherwise be payable to the federal government are, in effect, receiving a subsidy by having their production costs lowered and simultaneously depriving the public of a source of useful revenue. In an era already characterized by political unwillingness to grapple with low corporate tax rates and dropping government revenues on the one hand, and a decaying, under-maintained national infrastructure on the other, revenue rightly due from the extraction of public resources must not be left unclaimed. Taxpayers deserve their fair share from any development of coal on public lands.

Ensuring a Just Transition

Powerful economic forces continue to influence a shift in the U.S. energy sector. A combination of factors is forging a new reality where lower natural gas prices, rising coal costs, and the competitive cost of renewable energy sources are driving a shift to clean energy. The new energy technologies coming on-line will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and will continue to do so in communities across the country. But, as our nation makes this transition, some workers and communities may be impacted.

Coal mines, coal-fired power plants, coal transportation infrastructure, coal handling facilities, and their associated supply and maintenance industries are often the lifeblood of small towns, providing significant employment and contributing to their communities’ tax base. Moving toward clean energy could result in fewer jobs at a local level and a reduction in the tax stream going to local governments, cutting into funding for public schools, hospitals, and infrastructure projects.

Therefore, as the BLM works to capture a fair return for American taxpayers generally, it must also consider that the economic impacts of a reduction in coal usage over the coming years will not be shared equally across the American public. We must consider what authority and opportunities it possesses—having succeeded in capturing a fair return for extracted coal—to ensure that some portion of this increased return is put to use ensuring a just transition for workers, communities, and regional economies. It will be necessary for some workers to obtain new skills and employment and for some communities to redevelop and diversify their economies.

In protecting the interests of the American public, BLM must also seek to protect the interests of those populations that will be disproportionately impacted by the gradual transition away from fossil energy resources. Reform of the federal coal leasing system provides an opportunity to secure a stable source of funding to provide the tools and resources necessary for workers to transition to new jobs, and to diversify local and regional economies.

Consistency with U.S. Climate Change Goals

As a part of this programmatic review, BLM has sought comment as to whether the extraction of fossil resources from federal lands is consistent with U.S. climate goals. With the proper accounting and transparency, the BlueGreen Alliance believes that modernizing the management of public energy resources should and can be in harmony with the need to significantly reduce the nation’s climate emissions. Managing these two areas in concert, first and foremost, requires scientific data to understand what the impacts are, and how they should be environmentally and economically accounted for.

In order to better understand and manage carbon emissions from public lands, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) intends to establish and maintain a public database to account for annual carbon emissions from fossil fuels developed on federal lands. As there is currently no dedicated, official measure of these emissions, the BlueGreen Alliance supports this effort to ensure a transparent process that accounts for costs, which would otherwise be externalized.

Such transparent carbon accounting by the USGS will provide critical information for the public and the federal government to manage carbon emissions as part of the administration’s Climate Action Plan, and to better enable an assessment of the true market value of extracted resources, accounting for all externalized costs.

Conclusion

In summary, we thank the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Department of the Interior for seeking to improve the federal coal leasing system and look forward to continuing to work with your agencies on the eventual implementation of a modernized and improved system built to serve the interests of American communities, workers, taxpayers, and our natural environment.  

 

Respectfully,

 

Kim Glas

Executive Director

BlueGreen Alliance

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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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VIDEO: IBEW Local 275 Powering Michigan's Future http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/video-ibew-local-275 Wed, 06 Apr 2016 12:20:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/video-ibew-local-275

Members of IBEW Local 275 worked through the winter on this solar facility in Western Michigan.  

This video is a testimony that solar is working in Michigan and helping to sustain good quality jobs. It highlights how members of the building trades are already doing work in this new, clean economy—from the electricians in the video to plumbers to construction workers. The jobs that are created and sustained in the clean economy should be quality, union jobs.

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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

Flash Required

 

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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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