Blue Green Alliance Latest News Feed http://bluegreenalliance.com/news/latest/rss Blue Green Alliance Latest News Feed Tue, 24 Jan 2012 05:00:00 +0000 AMPS en hourly 1 STATEMENT: BlueGreen Alliance Urges Administration to Adopt a National Methane Reduction Strategy http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-urges-administration-to-adopt-a-national-methane-reduction-strategy Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:15:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-bluegreen-alliance-urges-administration-to-adopt-a-national-methane-reduction-strategy FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

Washington, D.C. (October 10, 2014) – The BlueGreen Alliance today urged President Obama to adopt a strong methane reduction strategy in order to advance the U.S. Climate Action Plan and meet the administration’s target of reducing the nation’s global warming pollution 17 percent by 2020.  

“Methane is a potent source of emissions, and taking steps to reduce emissions is a substantial opportunity to put American workers squarely at the forefront of developing, manufacturing, and implementing these technologies—providing high-quality jobs and stimulating local economies,” said Kim Glas, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director.

The full text of the letter appears below.

October 10, 2014

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500


Dear President Obama,

The BlueGreen Alliance—a partnership of 10 of America’s largest labor unions and 5 national environmental groups—represents more than 15 million members and supporters working toward a cleaner, fairer and more competitive American economy.

The oil and gas industry is the nation’s largest industrial source of methane, the main component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas. Reducing methane emissions throughout the industry’s operations needs to be a key part of our nation’s strategy to address climate change. 

In March 2014, the White House indicated that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will determine in the fall of 2014 how best to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations. 

The BlueGreen Alliance supports the move toward a national set of standards to directly regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. Methane standards could contribute substantially to meeting the administration’s target of reducing the nation’s global warming pollution 17 percent by 2020, with even greater reductions post-2020. In addition:

  • Proven, low-cost technologies can eliminate as much as half of all climate-warming methane emissions from onshore oil and gas operations in the next 5 years. American companies in over 40 states are at the forefront of developing, manufacturing, and implementing these technologies, providing high-quality jobs and stimulating local economies.
  • Keeping methane ‘in the system’ will help companies cut waste in addition to reducing the climate change impact of these emissions. A recent report by ICF International estimates methane emissions could be reduced by 40 percent below projected 2018 levels at an average annual cost of less than one cent per thousand cubic feet of produced natural gas.
  • Some companies recognize this benefit and have adopted methane pollution reduction measures on their own accord. And while some states, such as Colorado, have taken action to reduce methane emissions, no national standards are in place to protect communities across the country and to effectively reduce the contribution of methane leakage to climate change.

We applaud the commitments the Obama administration has made to date to address climate change, to include fuel efficiency and pollution standards that are helping ensure America is on the forefront of building a clean vehicle fleet, as well as sensible and attainable emissions reductions through the nation’s power sector. We support continuing efforts to build on this legacy by establishing national methane emissions standards at the earliest opportunity. By doing so, we can reduce waste in our nation’s energy sector while also reducing pollution that is disrupting our climate.

Sincerely,

Kim Glas
Executive Director
BlueGreen Alliance

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

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STATEMENT: Infrastructure Investments Are a Pathway to Creating Jobs http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-infrastructure-investments-are-a-pathway-to-creating-jobs Fri, 03 Oct 2014 08:49:14 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-infrastructure-investments-are-a-pathway-to-creating-jobs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

Washington, D.C. (October 3, 2014) – Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics unveiled the September employment situation, showing the economy gained 248,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“This month’s jobs numbers show continued progress toward lowering the unemployment rate. However, we are reminded everyday about the need for greater infrastructure investments that prepare communities to be resilient to the impacts of a changing climate. Repairing America’s infrastructure will create quality jobs. These investments are vital to our economic and environmental future, but, as importantly, we must also modernize it to ensure it is ready to protect our communities and families for years to come.

“With just over a month until Election Day, it’s critical that upgrade and modernization of our infrastructure is top priority issue.”

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

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Gov. Brown Signs Bill to Repair California’s Natural Gas Leaks http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/gov-brown-signs-bill-to-repair-californias-natural-gas-leaks Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:17:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/gov-brown-signs-bill-to-repair-californias-natural-gas-leaks As Governor Brown Attends United Nations Climate Summit, Group Lauds New Law That Will Create and Sustain Good Jobs, Reduce Emissions Driving Climate Change

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) September 22, 2014 – A group of labor and environmental leaders today lauded Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of a bill that will require utilities to address the growing issue of natural gas leaks in distribution pipelines. The bill, SB 1371, was authored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and was passed by the Legislature in August. The new law specifically directs the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to develop and implement a comprehensive natural gas distribution pipelines leak reduction strategy that ensures the quick and efficient repair of leaks. 

“In order to protect public health and the environment, we must keep natural gas in the pipes where it belongs as opposed to letting it leak into the air,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Senate Bill 1371 serves this dual purpose by ensuring that leaking gas pipes are repaired quickly and in a cost-efficient manner for consumers.” 

California is the nation’s second largest consumer of natural gas, with over 100,000 miles of pipes and other equipment delivering natural gas to customers across the state. The union representing workers who maintain and repair distribution pipelines in the state was supportive of the measure. 

“Utility workers are proud of the broad public interest coalition of unions, environmental groups and consumer and community interests that have come together to support this measure,” said Robert Hoffman, President of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 132, the sponsor of the bill. “Being proactive in repairing and upgrading these vital pipes will benefit the environment and public safety while creating and sustaining good jobs for workers throughout the state. We thank Sen. Leno for bringing this forward and we appreciate the Governor signing it into law.” 

“This is a big step towards a comprehensive strategy in California to reduce methane pollution,” said Tim O’Connor, Director of the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) California Climate Initiative. “Implementing policies to curb the loss of a valuable resource is good for both California’s environment and our economy.” 

“This new law will reinforce California’s leadership in reducing emissions that contribute to climate change,” said Kathryn Phillips, Director of Sierra Club California. “Methane as a greenhouse gas is considerably more potent than carbon dioxide and we applaud this effort to reduce these harmful and wasteful emissions.” 

The new law will also help eliminate waste of a critical energy resource. So-called “fugitive” emissions of methane equate to millions of dollars of lost gas that Californians end up paying for in their monthly utility bills. 

“This is the right thing to do for our environment and our economy,” said Victoria Rome, California Legislative Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Repairing these leaks is vital to California’s continued leadership in the fight against climate change.” 

“Repairing and preventing leaks in our natural gas distribution pipelines will create family-sustaining jobs and local infrastructure investment while reducing emissions that contribute to climate change. We thank Gov. Brown for signing this important legislation,” said JB Tengco, California Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor and environmental organizations. 

California joins other state and federal efforts to mitigate methane emissions. Colorado and Wyoming have already begun to develop and adopt regulations requiring leak reductions. 

“This is great news for California’s economy and environment,” said Laura Reynolds, Vice President for Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 9. “Union workers are concerned about climate change and ready to act. Repairing our state’s leaking natural gas distribution pipelines is something we should all be able to get behind.” 

Action is taking place at the federal level, as well. Earlier this year the White House released a national methane reduction strategy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on track to make a decision within the next year on regulating methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, and the California Air Resources Board is also considering new methane regulations for oil and gas development. 

“Communities around the state will benefit from this new law and California is showing once again that we can create family-sustaining jobs for workers, while doing right by our environment,” said Robert LaVenture, Director of United Steelworkers (USW) District 12. 

“Protecting our communities from climate change is an obligation that we must uphold,” said James Araby, the Executive Director of the United Food & Commercial Workers

(UFCW) Western States Council. “And, by addressing climate change by repairing these leaks, we can create family-sustaining jobs in communities around the state.” 

Earlier this summer, the AFL-CIO and the BlueGreen Alliance released a report that highlighted the economic and environmental benefits of replacing America’s aging natural gas distribution pipelines over a 10-year period instead of the current 30-year scenario. The report showed that doing so would increase the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by over $37 billion by 2024, create over 313,000 jobs, save consumers nearly $4.4 billion in lost gas, and prevent 81 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted into the atmosphere.   

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

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Statement: President Obama Shows Global Leadership on Climate Action at U.N. Climate Summit http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-president-obama-shows-global-leadership-on-climate-action-at-u-n-climate-summit Tue, 23 Sep 2014 13:57:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-president-obama-shows-global-leadership-on-climate-action-at-u-n-climate-summit FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACTS:

Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

Announces Participation in a Dozen New Climate Change Partnerships

New York, NY (September 23, 2014) – Today the United Nations Climate Summit convenes in New York City with President Obama and over 100 world leaders. President Obama announced a series of initiatives to step up U.S. engagement in global efforts to address climate change, including efforts to increase global climate resilience and reduce methane emissions. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“This is the kind of leadership Americans expect from U.S. leaders, especially in light of the People’s Climate March this weekend. The series of unprecedented measures announced by the president today that will help communities the world over become more climate-resilient, reduce methane emissions, and better predict extreme weather. This action affirms our commitment to national and international climate action.

“As we begin the countdown to the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP) in 2015, the expectation is that more countries will step up to the plate and show they’re ready to address the greatest challenge we face today—climate change. It’s a problem that’s not going away, but it’s also an opportunity to create and maintain quality, family-sustaining jobs. World leaders must seize this opportunity.”

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

Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org. Follow us on Twitter (@bgalliance) and like us on Facebook (Facebook.com/bluegreenalliance).

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STATEMENT: Encouraging Climate Resilient Communities a Smart Move by Administration http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-encouraging-climate-resilient-communities-a-smart-move-by-administration Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:06:44 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-encouraging-climate-resilient-communities-a-smart-move-by-administration FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

(New York City – September 22, 2014) U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced federal funding for transit authorities to help prevent damage from future storms—like that caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York City, New Jersey and the surrounding region two years ago. The Department of Transportation has selected 40 projects to receive a share of $3.59 billion in federal disaster relief funds to help public transportation systems in the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy to become more resilient, in order to withstand the impact of future natural disasters. Following the announcement, the BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement:

“Hurricane Sandy showed just how vulnerable our infrastructure systems are to rising seas and extreme storms. As our climate continues to change, we’ll be seeing more frequent and severe events like these, and the systems we rely on every day must be ready for this challenge. Doing so will both address climate change and grow family-sustaining jobs in construction, manufacturing and other economic sectors.

“As we approach the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, repairing America’s basic systems, and modernizing them to be resilient and efficient, should and must be a priority for every level of government in every state and city in this country. We applaud the announcement today from Transportation Secretary Foxx. It further highlights the commitment of this administration to tackling the threat of climate change and its impacts on our infrastructure systems, while growing family-sustaining jobs.”

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

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BlueGreen Alliance Applauds HELP Act Introduction http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-applauds-help-act-introduction Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:56:37 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-applauds-help-act-introduction FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACTS:

Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

Legislation would support workers, communities during the energy transition 

Washington, D.C. (September 19, 2014) – Congressmen David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced legislation that would support workers and communities during America’s energy transition, create opportunities to grow new jobs, encourage investment, and jumpstart new technologies. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“On behalf of the BlueGreen Alliance, I wish to thank Congressmen Welch and McKinley for their work on the Healthy Employee Loss Prevention (HELP) Act of 2014. It’s critical that we support workers and their communities when jobs are lost due to no fault of their own—which is what is happening in the coal industry. We applaud Reps. Welch and McKinley for showing the leadership to take this issue head on.

“The HELP Act is a good start, but could be strengthened in several key areas. We should 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.

“As a coalition of both labor unions and environmental organizations, both committed to protecting workers and communities, we look forward to working with Reps. Welch and McKinley, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to move and improve this critical piece of legislation until it becomes law.”

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

Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org. Follow us on Twitter (@bgalliance) and like us on Facebook (Facebook.com/bluegreenalliance).

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Michigan Should Lead the Way on Infrastructure Repairs, Addressing Climate Change http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/michigan-should-lead-the-way-on-infrastructure-repairs-addressing-climate-change Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:56:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/michigan-should-lead-the-way-on-infrastructure-repairs-addressing-climate-change FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACTS:

Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

Event Featuring Mayor Heartwell, EPA Region 5 Administrator Hedman, Utility Workers Union of America Highlights Need to Address Climate Change, Make Robust Infrastructure Investments 

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell today called for action to better prepare Michigan’s infrastructure for the impact of a changing climate in a way that will also create and maintain good jobs for American workers. EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman and Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) participated in the event hosted by the BlueGreen Alliance and argued for action to repair and update the state’s basic systems now, not later. 

“We can promote economic growth in communities like Grand Rapids by repairing infrastructure systems and addressing climate change,” said Mayor Heartwell. “Those two things go hand-in-hand. And, and both will create good jobs.” 

Repairing and updating the state’s infrastructure will be good for the state’s economy. A 2013 report showed that an estimated 119,300 jobs could be created across the Michigan economy by making much-­needed investments in basic infrastructure systems.  

“Repairing our basic systems will grow the economy and ensure that communities are safe and healthy,” said D. Michael Langford, UWUA National President. “Utility workers are on the front lines when there’s a weather-related outage and our members see every day how old and inefficient our infrastructure has become. Taking action now will help get communities ready for climate change, create family-sustaining jobs, and reduce the waste and inefficiencies that hit us all in the pocketbook.” 

The discussion also included ways to expand clean energy infrastructure and promote energy efficiency as tools for effectively meeting the goals of the U.S. Climate Action Plan. 

“Tackling climate change is a huge opportunity to jumpstart our economy by investing in a clean-energy future,” said Anne Woiwode, Michigan Chapter Director of the Sierra Club. “That means more, good jobs and stronger, healthier communities. The path forward requires urgent action and bold investment, starting today.”

The Repair America campaign is the BlueGreen Alliance’s nationwide effort to educate and mobilize union members and environmentalists around modernizing and upgrading our nation’s most basic systems—systems that we rely on every day—to respond to the threat of climate change, protect our communities, and create and maintain good jobs across the country. 

“Communities cannot and should not have to shoulder the burden of severe weather alone,” said Mike Williams, Vice President for Development and Corporate Initiatives, BlueGreen Alliance. “Congress has dropped the ball on addressing the larger issues related to shortfalls in infrastructure funding that has brought us to this point. It’s up to us to help change that.”

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

Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org. Follow us on Twitter (@bgalliance) and like us on Facebook (Facebook.com/bluegreenalliance).

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Members of Labor-Environmental Partnership Front-and-Center in People’s Climate March http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/members-of-labor-environmental-partnership-front-and-center-in-peoples-climate-march Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:36:23 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/members-of-labor-environmental-partnership-front-and-center-in-peoples-climate-march FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:

Erin Bzymek, 202-706-6916, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org

NEW YORK (September 15, 2014) – Members of the national labor-environmental partnership the BlueGreen Alliance are strongly supporting—and will be taking part in—the historic People’s Climate March scheduled for September 21 in New York City. National and local unions are working in tandem with environmental organizations to demonstrate the importance of taking action to address climate change in the U.S. and worldwide, and to create quality jobs and protect the environment and our communities.

“We’re proud to stand with our partners in the labor and economic justice movements at the People's Climate March,” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director. “Moving to a clean energy economy means more, quality American jobs and stronger working families. By working together, we can ensure cleaner air and water, healthier communities, and economic prosperity for all Americans.”

“Working families and their communities are among those who will bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change,” said Mary Kay Henry, International President of SEIU. “We’ve joined the march so that world leaders will hear the voices of working people everywhere who need action on climate change now for the health of their families, their communities, and economies.”

The People’s Climate March will take place two days before President Obama and world leaders are scheduled to participate in the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City. On September 21, events will take place around the world, from London to Delhi, making this a truly global demonstration.

“The work of our more than 190,000 members every day in transit systems across North America is helping to reduce the carbon pollution that is driving climate change,” said Amalgamated Transit Union International President Larry Hanley. “The ATU supports this effort and will be there in force to show world leaders that transit workers care deeply about this vital issue.”

“Climate change is a problem for all of us, which is why such broad and diverse bands of people will be joining together to call for global action,” said Peter Lehner, NRDC executive director. “Only by working together can we build the political support to ensure world leaders understand how critical it is to address this worldwide health and economic threat today.”

The March has already brought together hundreds of partner organizations from across New York City and around the world representing labor, social justice and environmental justice groups, climate campaigns, immigrant rights groups, and more. Organizers aim to make the People’s Climate March the largest march for climate action in world history.

“This march is an important leadership moment. Our nation is demanding action on climate disruption, and young people care tremendously about the climate crises. When our grandchildren look back on this time and ask, "Which side were you on?" the answer will be that together we were leading the fight for our climate, our democracy, and for a fair and just economy that works for us all,” said Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen.

The transition to a clean energy economy will provide a major boost to workers and the broader economy. Projections show that clean technology and investment in more sustainable communities can be worth more than $5 trillion. Clean energy technologies and climate mitigation and resiliency efforts benefit workers and their communities by making the economy more just and sustainable. These efforts will put manufacturing and construction industries back to work through investments in energy efficiency, clean energy technologies, and infrastructure.  

“We do not have to choose between good jobs and a clean environment; we can and must have both,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “The People’s Climate March is a watershed moment for our country and we’re proud that the BlueGreen Alliance and our member organizations are working so hard to make sure that moment happens.”

The United Nations Climate Summit begins the countdown to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, where world leaders are expected to sign a new international climate treaty.

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

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Bi-Partisan Vote Approves Legislation to Find and Fix Natural Gas Leaks in California http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bi-partisan-vote-approves-legislation-to-find-and-fix-natural-gas-leaks Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:56:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bi-partisan-vote-approves-legislation-to-find-and-fix-natural-gas-leaks Law will require utilities to reduce environmental and public health impacts of methane gas emissions 

(SACRAMENTO, California – August 27, 2014) Today, the California State Legislature passed groundbreaking legislation to reduce methane pollution caused by leaks in the state’s aging natural gas pipelines. Methane is the primary ingredient in natural gas and is a potent climate-destabilizing pollutant. SB 1371, authored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), will now head to the Governor’s desk. 

“In order to protect public health and the environment, we must keep natural gas in the pipes where it belongs as opposed to letting it leak into the air,” said Sen. Mark Leno, the author of the legislation. “SB 1371 serves this dual purpose by ensuring that leaking gas pipes are repaired quickly and in a cost-efficient manner for consumers.” 

California is the nation’s second largest consumer of natural gas, with over 100,000 miles of pipes and other equipment delivering natural gas to customers across the state. Given the documented widespread nature of leaks within the vast system, today’s vote reinforces California’s leadership in reducing emissions that contribute to climate change, with the added benefit of eliminating waste of a critical energy resource. So-called “fugitive” emissions equate to millions of dollars of lost gas that Californians end up paying for in their monthly utility bills.  

SB 1371 specifically directs the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to develop and implement a comprehensive natural gas pipelines leak reduction strategy that ensures the quick and efficient repair of leaks. 

“Repairing and preventing leaks in our natural gas pipelines will create family-sustaining jobs and local infrastructure investment while reducing emissions that contribute to climate change. "SB 1371 will benefit workers and the state as a whole,” said JB Tengco, California Director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor and environmental organizations. 

If the bill becomes law, California would join other state and federal efforts to mitigate methane emissions. Colorado and Wyoming have already begun to develop and adopt regulations requiring leak reductions, while earlier this year the White House released a national methane reduction strategy. The EPA is on track to make a decision within the next year on regulating methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, and the California Air Resources Board is also considering new methane regulations for oil and gas development. 

According to Tim O’Connor, Director of EDF’s California Climate Initiative, “Today’s vote is a huge step towards the build-out of comprehensive strategy in California to reduce methane pollution. Implementing policies to curb the loss of a valuable resource is good for both California’s environment and our economy.”

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Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on TwitterFacebook and on our EDF Voices and Energy Exchangeblogs.

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

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Coalition Asks EPA to Limit Secrecy for Critical Public Health Information http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/coalition-asks-epa-to-limit-secrecy-for-critical-public-health-information Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:19:27 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/coalition-asks-epa-to-limit-secrecy-for-critical-public-health-information NEWS RELEASE
Thursday, Aug 21, 2014

CONTACT  
Erin Bzymek | erinb@bluegreenalliance.org | 202.706.6916

Petition filed to request time limits for confidentiality claims for chemicals
submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, a broad coalition of health, labor and environmental groups represented by Earthjustice filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting that the agency establish time limits for confidentiality claims for chemical information submitted by industry under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

People are exposed to chemicals in their communities, homes and workplaces every day, but often lack access to critical information about the safety of these chemicals. EPA has given industry wide latitude to claim such information confidential, making it unavailable to state and local governments, medical professionals, health organizations, research institutions and the general public. EPA currently sets no end date for the protection from disclosure of this information, essentially allowing it to be shrouded in secrecy indefinitely.

General statement from the coalition that submitted the petition:

“Access to safety information about the chemicals you encounter everyday is critical to people, to families and to mothers and fathers making decisions about where they live and work and the products they buy. Setting a time limit on secrecy is a no-nonsense solution that guards true trade secrets, but begins protecting those that need this information the most — the families, workers and communities at risk from these chemicals.”

Statement from Earthjustice’s lead counsel on this case, Marianne Engelman Lado:

“Secrecy pervades the chemical industry, a secrecy that threatens the health of our families, workers and communities. Meaningful reform of TSCA to enhance transparency in the chemical industry is long overdue. But even as we await such reform, EPA can and should place a time limit on confidentiality claims, as one step to increase public access to this critical information and empower all of us to make educated decisions about the chemicals we encounter every day.”

The petition details how current EPA rules impose unnecessary costs on the agency and the public by allowing confidentiality claims that continue indefinitely. The result is excessive and often unwarranted claims made worse by a loophole in EPA regulations, which makes practically all confidentiality protection indefinite by default. Currently, an unmanageable burden falls on the EPA to challenge these claims on a case-by-case basis, instead of requiring industry to ensure its claims remain valid. 

The coalition’s petition offers a simple solution, urged by experts for many years, to create a “sunset rule” that would allow true trade secrets to be maintained, but ensure that information no longer warranting protection is made public. Under this solution, an approved confidentiality claim would generally expire after five years unless the industry claimant can prove that continued confidentiality is still necessary. 

GROUPS THAT SIGNED THE PETITION:

BlueGreen Alliance
Breast Cancer Fund
Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice
Earthjustice
Environmental Defense Fund
New Jersey Work Environment Council

ONLINE VERSION OF STATEMENT: http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2014/coalition-asks-epa-to-limit-secrecy-in-critical-public-health-information

LINK TO PETITION: http://earthjustice.org/documents/legal-document/tsca-cbi-sunset-petition

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

 

 Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org. Follow us on Twitter (@bgalliance) and like us on Facebook (Facebook.com/bluegreenalliance).

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Erie Leaders Urge Infrastructure Repairs Be Prioritized http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/erie-leaders-urge-infrastructure-repairs-be-prioritized Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:13:29 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/erie-leaders-urge-infrastructure-repairs-be-prioritized FOR PLANNING PURPOSES
CONTACTS:

Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

Event Highlights Local Climate Change, Need for Robust Infrastructure Investments

ERIE, PA – Local labor and environmental leaders today called for action to better prepare Pennsylvania’s infrastructure for the impact of a changing climate in a way that will also create and maintain good jobs for American workers. Leaders, including Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, discussed how investing in our infrastructure can help prepare for the effects of climate change.

“Our neighbors on Lake Erie are all concerned about the water issues we’re seeing in the Great Lakes. The nearly 500,000 people in Toledo who were left without water is a warning sign for all of us that we need to do more to repair our infrastructure systems,” said Dahlkemper.

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) gave the state’s drinking water and transit systems a “D” grade on its report card for infrastructure last year. Roads and bridges and wastewater systems were rated even worse, earning “D-“ grades.

“Our infrastructure is the foundation upon which our country stands,” said Greg Bible, President of USW Local 3199. “To make repairing it into a partisan debate is a travesty. Without a world-class infrastructure, the U.S. will fall behind the rest of the world economically. Investing in, and fixing these systems now will protect our communities, and create good jobs.” 

Beyond infrastructure, the discussion included ways to expand clean energy infrastructure and promote energy efficiency as tools for effectively meeting the goals of the U.S. Climate Action Plan, which features the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, as well as efforts to spur growth in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

“Pennsylvania is dealing with more severe extreme weather events and this plan will help address that in the long-term, for generations to come,” said Randy Francisco, Sierra Club. “The facts about how climate change is already affecting us today, speak for themselves.”

Investments in our infrastructure can yield tremendous benefits, including jobs and stimulating local economies. Pennsylvania has reported $13.9 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. Estimates show that for every $1 billion invested in water infrastructure, more than 20,000 new jobs could be created.

“We can grow the local manufacturing industry, protect the environment and create American jobs by repairing Pennsylvania’s infrastructure systems,” said Gregory Scott, P.E., Senior Project Manager at Buchart Horn and ASCE Pittsburgh Section PA Report Card Chair. “We can't afford to wait; we need to get to work now.”

“We had a great discussion today about the need to both prepare our infrastructure systems for climate change and take steps to address it,” said Khari Mosley, Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “It’s time Pennsylvania’s leaders move forward with efforts to grow renewable energy, reduce the carbon pollution driving climate change, modernize our infrastructure, and protect our communities. But they’ll only do that if people hold their feet to the fire.”

“Today’s event was successful and we’ll continue to promote this effort to Repair America around the state to help inform people of the problem and to get them to help push for action on it,” added Mosley. 

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

Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org. Follow us on Twitter (@bgalliance) and like us on Facebook (Facebook.com/bluegreenalliance).

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Labor, Environmental Leaders Discuss Repairs to Protect Water Quality, Public Safety http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/labor-environmental-leaders-discuss-repairs-to-protect-water-quality-public-safety Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:59:33 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/labor-environmental-leaders-discuss-repairs-to-protect-water-quality-public-safety FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACTS:

Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

Event Highlights Impacts Climate Change Is Bringing to Ohio and Need to Have Infrastructure Ready for Today’s Challenges

TOLEDO, Ohio  (August 14, 2014) – The BlueGreen Alliance today hosted a discussion with retirees of the United Auto Workers (UAW) on the need to repair Ohio’s infrastructure. A recent study by the BlueGreen Alliance showed Ohio could create or maintain 167,700 jobs by updating and modernizing these systems Ohioans use every day.

"We've seen already the impacts a changing climate can bring to the Buckeye State," said Tracy Sabetta from Moms Clean Air Force. "The U.S. Climate Action Plan is a blueprint to fixing our infrastructure and ensuring our communities are kept healthy and safe. We cannot afford to wait any longer to reduce the emissions that affect our respiratory health, especially for the future of our children and grandchildren."

Investments in our infrastructure can yield tremendous benefits, including jobs and stimulating local economies. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Ohio has reported $12.6 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. And, Ohio has $14.2 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. Estimates show that for every $1 billion invested in water infrastructure, more than 20,000 new jobs could be created.

“What happened in Lake Erie is just the beginning of the challenges that climate change will bring,” said Frank Szollosi, Manager, Regional Outreach Campaigns for the National Wildlife Federation and a Toledo native. “We need to protect our communities—whether by modernizing our water systems or changing how we generate energy—to make sure we’re doing things cleaner and more efficiently. That’s also an opportunity to grow and maintain good, family-sustaining jobs for people all around the state.”   

Infrastructure investments will also reduce carbon pollution that is driving climate change and energy waste.  For example, there are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks a year. Replacing that leaked water requires energy to pump even more water, resulting in not just water waste, but energy waste as well. A Chicago State University study showed that by reducing the amount of water leaked annually in the U.S. by only 5 percent would result in saving enough energy to power 31,000 homes for a year and cut 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

“The state of the systems we rely on every day to provide power, to move people and goods efficiently, to ensure clean and safe drinking water, and communications is bad and getting worse each day,” said Lee Geisse, Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “Inefficient and outdated infrastructure isn’t just expensive to fix, it’s also contributing to climate change. But, we’ve seen how more fuel-efficient cars have jumpstarted Ohio’s economy and created and sustained good jobs, now it’s time for more efficient infrastructure and power generation.”

The discussion is part of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Repair America campaign—an effort to educate and mobilize union members and environmentalists around modernizing and upgrading our nation’s most basic systems to respond to the threat of climate change, protect our communities, and create and maintain good jobs across the country. The event also highlighted the U.S. Climate Action Plan, which features plans to prepare our infrastructure for the effects of climate change and invest in our clean energy infrastructure, and promote energy efficiency.

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

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RELEASE: Leaders Gather for Iron Range Roundtable Discussion on Repairing Minnesota’s Infrastructure and Improving Industrial Efficiency http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-iron-range-roundtable Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:16:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-iron-range-roundtable Congressman Rick Nolan, Labor and Civic Leaders Discuss Environmental, Economic Benefits of Fixing Systems Minnesotans Rely on Every Day

MOUNTAIN IRON, MN  (August 8, 2014) – The BlueGreen Alliance today hosted a roundtable discussion with U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan on the importance of repairing Minnesota’s infrastructure and making Minnesota’s industries more energy efficient to create and maintain family-sustaining jobs and address climate change. 

“I was pleased to be part of this great event and it is critical that we invest in our infrastructure to make our communities safe and healthy, create family-sustaining jobs for workers, and to cut down inefficiencies,” said Congressman Nolan.

The event is part of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Repair America effort—a nationwide push to educate and mobilize the public around fixing our nation’s most basic systems. Last year, the group released a report that showed Minnesota has a lot to gain by taking action to repair our infrastructure and address climate change. An estimated 114,000 jobs a year could be created and sustained across the Minnesota economy by making much-­needed investments in our basic infrastructure systems. 

“Our infrastructure is the foundation upon which our country stands,” said Bob Ryan, Rapid Response Coordinator for United Steelworkers (USW) District 11. “Repairing this infrastructure will create good, union jobs making the steel to rebuild bridges and rails, making the concrete that will be poured to repair our roads, and building the components and materials used to generate renewable energy, like wind turbines and solar panels. And, it will help our environment.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has given America’s infrastructure a “D+” grade. According to ASCE, $6 billion is needed in drinking water infrastructure over the next 20 years in Minnesota alone and driving on roads in need of repair costs Minnesota motorists $797 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs—$250 per motorist.

“We’ve seen the impacts of climate change through more severe and more frequent storms, floods, droughts, and other weather events that lead to dangerous conditions like wildfires and massive infrastructure damage,” said Sara Letourneau, Director of Field for the BlueGreen Alliance. “A changing climate is a threat to our health, to our communities and to economy, and we cannot afford to wait any longer to act. That’s why we support the common-sense U.S. Climate Action Plan that includes standards to limit carbon pollution from power plants, investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency and repairing our nation’s most basic systems to ensure that they are ready for the impacts of climate change.”

In addition to the infrastructure focus, the group discussed the need to make Minnesota’s industry more energy efficient, highlighting a new law that passed this year that will allow the Department of Commerce to give low-interest loans to companies, hospitals, and other large energy users to cut their energy waste.

“This is a good start toward improving energy efficiency for large energy users and we should build on this program to implement other strategies to help companies remain competitive by reducing energy waste,” said Ryan.

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

 

 

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STATEMENT: Economy Grows Despite Congress’ Lack of Long-Term Transportation Solution http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-economy-grows-despite-congress-lack-of-long-term-transportation-solution Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:38:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-economy-grows-despite-congress-lack-of-long-term-transportation-solution x

WASHINGTON, DC (August 1, 2014) – Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics unveiled the July employment situation, showing the economy gained 209,000 jobs and the unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged at 6.2 percent. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“The continuing job growth over the past few months shows that the economy continues to make real progress, despite Congress’ bickering over repairing America’s infrastructure systems. After funding for the Highway Trust Fund was approved last night, 700,000 workers and their families are breathing a sigh of relief—even if it’s only temporary. Once again, Congress has stopped just short of driving the Highway Trust Fund off a cliff instead of building a bridge to a more stable and prosperous future. Our infrastructure, our economy and our communities can’t afford to keep reliving this nightmare like it’s ‘Groundhog Day.’ 

“A long-term, fully funded transportation bill could put millions of Americans to work. It took Congress until the last minute to do the bare minimum needed to prevent a calamity. This short-term fix is no long-term answer. Let’s make sure we’re holding Congress accountable for providing a lasting solution.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and clean economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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BlueGreen Alliance Representatives from Ohio, Pennsylvania to Testify at EPA Hearing on Clean Power Plan http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-representatives-from-ohio-pennsylvania-to-testify-at-epa-hearing-on-clean-power-plan Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:36:25 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-representatives-from-ohio-pennsylvania-to-testify-at-epa-hearing-on-clean-power-plan FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACTS:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

Environment, Labor Partnership Focuses on Ensuring Workers Have a Voice as States Implement Plans

Pittsburgh, PA (July 31, 2014) – Three representatives of the BlueGreen Alliance will testify today during the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s hearing on the Clean Power Plan—a proposal to put the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. Their testimony will show that the proposed Clean Power Plan—an integral component of the president’s Climate Action Plan—is a significant step forward in tackling the root causes of climate change.

According to the National Climate Assessment, climate change in the Great Lakes region will increase risks to commercial and recreational fish populations; increase invasive species; and cause declining beach health and declining ice cover. Every decade since 1950 has been warmer than the decade before.

“The facts about how climate change is already affecting us today speak for themselves. Pennsylvania is dealing with more severe extreme weather events and this plan will help address that in the long-term, for generations to come,” said Khari Mosley, the Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance in Pennsylvania.

The Clean Power Plan permits each state to craft a compliance strategy that is tailored to the specifics of its local and regional economy. The plan will also promote innovative ways to upgrade and invest in our electric grid and overall infrastructure.

“We are pleased that this rule permits each state to craft a plan. This means we can protect existing jobs while reducing emissions and create opportunities to grow new jobs, encourage investment, and jumpstart new technologies,” said Lee Geisse, a 27-year maintenance employee, third generation union member from Canton, Ohio, and Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance.  “The plan that’s best for Ohio will be crafted by Ohioans.”

BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas will speak about the importance of keeping workers engaged as states and regions work to create their blueprints to meet the Clean Power Plan’s carbon pollution reductions.

“America’s workers are the key to getting this right, which is why we’re making sure workers in each state have their voice heard,” said Glas. “We can choose to create and maintain middle-class jobs, revitalize our nation’s manufacturing sector, and address climate change. But, only if we make sure the working people are front-and-center as the Clean Power Plan moves forward.”  

“We believe that, if well crafted, the Clean Power Plan has the potential to create and keep quality, family-sustaining jobs across the country,” added Glas.

To read the full testimony of each, click here.

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

 

 

 

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Mayor Michael D. Bowdler Calls City to Shore Up Infrastructure Investments, Create Jobs http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/mayor-michael-d-bowdler-calls-city-to-shore-up-infrastructure-investments-create-jobs Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:39:56 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/mayor-michael-d-bowdler-calls-city-to-shore-up-infrastructure-investments-create-jobs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACTS:

Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

DETROIT, MI (July 31, 2014) – Mayor Michael D. Bowdler today signed a resolution supporting city-wide efforts to repair crumbling infrastructure systems in River Rouge and surrounding communities. These systems include water, transit, energy, roads and bridges, and natural gas distribution systems.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure every four years, and on the latest report card in 2009, Michigan earned a “D” average for infrastructure systems across the state.

“Most of us do not even notice infrastructure until it stops working, but over the long-term the economic costs to communities like River Rouge add up,” said Mayor Bowdler. “It’s time to change our mindset about our infrastructure. Without action, these systems will continue to get worse.” 

The Repair America resolution is an effort to recognize that these investments would impact job creation, and better protect communities from the impacts of climate change.

“From stronger storms to flooding to other dangers, we know that as our climate changes we’re dealing with more extreme weather and disaster costs,” said Rhonda Anderson, Senior Organizing Representative, Sierra Club. “Repairing our infrastructure will protect workers, the environment and communities and produce good jobs, while making our economy and the environment prosper.”

Inefficient infrastructure creates more waste and carbon pollution driving climate change. For example, there are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks a year. Replacing that leaked water requires energy to pump even more water, resulting in not just water waste, but energy waste as well. A Chicago State University study showed that by reducing the amount of water leaked annually in the U.S. by only 5 percent would result in saving enough energy to power 31,000 homes for a year and cut 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

“In signing this resolution today, Mayor Bowdler is setting a example of how local leaders can initiate a larger conversation about the importance of infrastructure so that the issue takes a higher priority,” said Sue Browne, Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “Investing now will put people to work rebuilding pipes, roads, bridges, transit, and energy transmission systems. And, it will make our infrastructure systems more efficient, reducing energy and water waste, as well as carbon pollution that drives climate change.”

“With the introduction of today’s resolution, River Rouge joins many other communities across the country calling for investments to fix the basic systems people rely on every day that will create family-sustaining jobs, help address climate change, and ensure our communities are safer and healthier,” added Browne.

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and clean economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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Statement: House, Senate Pass Short-Term Fixes, But Congress Still Needs to Enact Fully Funded, Long-Term Bill http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-house-senate-pass-short-term-fixes-but-congress-still-needs-to-enact-fully-funded-long-term-bill Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:57:29 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-house-senate-pass-short-term-fixes-but-congress-still-needs-to-enact-fully-funded-long-term-bill FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACTS:

Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

WASHINGTON, DC (July 30, 2014) – Last night, the Senate approved a short-term agreement to prevent the Highway Trust Fund from running out of funds. Their fix differs from the House version and the two will have to hash out their differences to prevent the trust fund from going bankrupt. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“We are pleased that both the House and Senate have passed fixes to the short-term problem of keeping the Highway Trust Fund solvent, and we encourage both bodies to reconcile their differences and pass that short-term fix immediately to take the weight off the shoulders of 700,000 workers whose paychecks depend directly on the Highway Trust Fund. 

“Our economy depends on transportation infrastructure that works, but you wouldn’t know that because Congress has repeatedly put a long-term, fully funded transportation bill on the back burner. That decision could sacrifice future jobs and quality of life in communities around the country. It’s time for Congress to work together to pass this short-term fix then pass a long-term, fully funded transportation bill that will repair and modernize our infrastructure to support a prosperous 21st century economy.”

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and clean economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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RELEASE: 313,000 Jobs Created, Sustained and 81 Million Metric Tons of Climate Change Pollution Avoided by Repairing Natural Gas Distribution Lines http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/interconnected-release Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:51:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/interconnected-release Moving from 30- to 10-Year Pipeline Replacement Scenario Will Boost Jobs, GDP, Save Consumers Money, and Reduce Climate Change Pollution

WASHINGTON, DC (July 24, 2014) – A groundbreaking new report from the AFL-CIO and the BlueGreen Alliance released today shows that by accelerating the timeline for repairing leak-prone sections of our nation’s natural gas pipeline distribution system, the U.S. can create more than 300,000 good, family-supporting jobs across the economy, save consumers $1.5 billion in charges for lost gas, and prevent the emission of 81 million metric tons of climate change pollution—the equivalent of taking 17 million cars off the road for a year.

“A 10-year replacement scenario would provide a much-needed economic shot in the arm while helping to limit the amount of methane being emitted into our air,” said Michael Langford, National President of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA). “By acting now, we can create and sustain hundreds of thousands of good jobs and provide a huge boost to our economy.”  

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration estimates at the current rate of replacement it could take 30 years to upgrade the nation’s current stock of leak-prone pipe. Interconnected – Repairing America’s Pipelines to Strengthen Our Economy and Address Climate Change illustrates the benefits of moving to a 10-year replacement scenario from the current 30-year replacement pace.

The U.S. consumes approximately 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas annually. Natural gas for consumers and businesses run through approximately 1.25 million miles of distribution pipelines in communities throughout the U.S. Nine percent of our nation’s natural gas distribution pipelines—approximately 112,000 miles worth—are made from leak-prone materials such as cast iron and unprotected steel and in many cases date back beyond World War II.

“The sooner we repair our nation’s urban gas pipeline infrastructure, the greater the benefit to Americans' health, air, water, and climate,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club and co-chair of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Doing so would be the equivalent of replacing 17 million gas guzzlers with electric vehicles for a year, while supporting American jobs, and saving families more than a billion dollars. Fixing and modernizing America's in-city gas distribution pipelines is a commonsense solution for fighting the climate crisis that the President's administration should act on right away.”

“Parts of our nation’s natural gas distribution pipelines date back to the 1800’s and present a danger not only to communities, but our environment, said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW) and co-chair of the BlueGreen Alliance, “Repairing this critical infrastructure sooner rather than later is necessary and America’s manufacturing workers stand ready to help.”

Uncombusted methane lost through the system, pound for pound, has at least 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide over a 100-year time frame, making it a truly potent contributor to climate change.

“The AFL-CIO is proud to release this report today with the BlueGreen Alliance because it truly does show that we can create good, family-sustaining jobs for American workers while addressing our world’s largest environmental challenges,” said Brad Markell, Executive Director of the Industrial Union Council at the AFL-CIO. “Repairing America’s infrastructure is a vital part of any plan to address climate change. It is also a vital part of any plan to grow the middle-class and ensure that future generations of Americans have the same economic opportunity that we had.”

“The path forward is clear and we cannot afford to miss this opportunity to grow family-sustaining jobs, save consumers money, and improve the safety and reliability of America’s natural gas system,” said Dave Barnett, Special Representative, Pipeline and Gas Distribution Department for the United Association (UA) Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada and Australia.

“Replacing leaking natural gas distribution pipelines now, instead of 30 years from now, makes sense from an economic, environmental and business perspective,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “This report clearly illustrates that and also shows the need to act immediately. Many communities across the U.S. are working hard to upgrade and replace these leak-prone pipes. But where we can do better, we should—we cannot afford to miss out on the economic opportunity and we cannot continue to ignore the environmental repercussions.”

Listen to the audio from the press call below.

Flash Required

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and clean economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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STATEMENT: While Congress Fails to Act on Climate, President Obama’s Climate Action Plan Boosts Vulnerable Communities http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-while-congress-fails-to-act-on-climate-president-obamas-climate-action-plan-boosts-vulnerable-communities Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:08:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-while-congress-fails-to-act-on-climate-president-obamas-climate-action-plan-boosts-vulnerable-communities WASHINGTON, DC (July 16, 2014) – Today, President Obama announced several initiatives that will support state, local, and tribal leaders in preparing their communities for the impacts of climate change. The actions announced today include investments in the rural electricity infrastructure, funding to assist drought-affected communities and support that help communities build stronger and safer after disaster. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“President Obama should be commended for taking action where Congress has failed. America’s infrastructure—like our stormwater systems and electric grid—is the first line of defense against natural disasters. Storm-related flooding and power outages can have serious impacts on communities and it makes sense to prioritize these investments. We can’t forget these are also the investments that can have a positive economic impact. For example, every $1 billion invested in water infrastructure is estimated to create more than 20,000 new jobs.

“Communities cannot and should not have to shoulder the burden of severe weather alone. This climate action plan is a product of the State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and will help communities better prepare for the worst impacts of climate change and become more resilient. We hope to see many more of these good ideas come from this important task force and more leadership like this from the president.”

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and clean economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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Town Hall Meeting Focused on Repairing America’s Infrastructure, Deploying Renewables and Energy Efficiency, and Addressing Climate Change http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/town-hall-meeting-focused-on-repairing-americas-infrastructure-deploying-renewables-and-energy-efficiency-and-addressing-climate-change Tue, 15 Jul 2014 19:50:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/town-hall-meeting-focused-on-repairing-americas-infrastructure-deploying-renewables-and-energy-efficiency-and-addressing-climate-change CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (July 15, 2014) – Local labor and environmental activists today attended a town hall meeting hosted by the BlueGreen Alliance, United Steelworkers (USW) and Sierra Club on the campus of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The town hall event focused on the U.S. Climate Action plan, which will address climate change by establishing the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, expanding renewable energy and energy efficiency, and preparing our nation’s basic infrastructure systems to be more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The BlueGreen Alliance pointed to repairing infrastructure systems as a key part of the plan to address the threat of climate change and create quality jobs. The Highway Trust Fund, which supports 75 percent of Illinois’ annual transportation investment, could go bankrupt before the end of August. The state’s roads and transit systems earned a “D+" grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

“Repairing America isn’t just good for our environment, it’s good for our economy,” said Roxanne Brown, Assistant Legislative Director for USW. “Union members—especially Steelworkers—play a vital role in our nation’s infrastructure systems and domestic manufacturing. Repairing our infrastructure will create family-sustaining jobs making the steel to rebuild bridges and rails, making the concrete that will be poured to repair our roads, and building the components and materials used to generate renewable energy, like wind turbines and solar panels.”

“Climate change is happening and it puts our food and water supply at risk, endangers our health, jeopardizes our national security, threatens basic human needs and wildlife that’s essential to our ecosystem,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Illinois Sierra Club. “The first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants are a step forward as we work to tackle climate change while ensuring power reliability and fostering economic stability.”

Cari VanAmburgh from Clean Line Energy, LLC spoke at the event about the impact that moving to cleaner energy and making investments in infrastructure will bring to businesses.

“Around Illinois and the rest of the Midwest, companies like ours are employing workers to develop new, modern infrastructure,” VanAmburgh said. “At Clean Line Energy, we develop long-haul transmission lines to connect the best renewable energy resources in North America to communities and cities that lack access to new, low-cost renewable power. We’re building the backbone that generations of Americans will rely on for clean, renewable energy.”

The event was part of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Repair America campaign, which focuses on repairing and modernizing the nation’s basic infrastructure systems—energy transmission, water, communications and transportation—to withstand the impacts of climate change and to create quality, family-sustaining jobs.

The ASCE gave the U.S. a “D+” grade for America’s overall infrastructure in its most recent report card. According to the group, there are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks a year. Replacing that leaked water requires energy to pump even more water, resulting in not just water waste, but energy waste as well. A Chicago State University study showed that by reducing the amount of water leaked annually in the U.S. by only 5 percent would result in saving enough energy to power 31,000 homes for a year and cut 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

“We’re here to mobilize people to take action to push for repairing America’s basic systems. And, if the crowd tonight is any indication, our movement is growing stronger every day,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance.

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Ban Poisonous Additives Act Includes Strong Worker Focus http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/ban-poisonous-additives-act-includes-strong-worker-focus Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:45:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/ban-poisonous-additives-act-includes-strong-worker-focus FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

Labor Leaders Praise Bill Introduced Today That Would Ban Bisphenol A from Food Containers, Reduce Exposure to Chemicals for Food Processing Workers and Public

WASHINGTON, DC (July 9, 2014) – Leaders from the United Steelworkers (USW), United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the BlueGreen Alliance today lauded the introduction of the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2014 in the United States House and Senate. The bill—authored by Sen. Edward Markey (MA) and Reps. Lois Capps (CA-24) and Grace Meng (NY-6)—would ban the substance bisphenol A (BPA) from food and drink containers—where it has been widely used in plastics for decades—due to concerns about health impacts from the chemical.

“Workers and the public are unnecessarily exposed to this harmful chemical every day and should be protected,” said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard, a BlueGreen Alliance co-chair. “This bill will help to safeguard worker health and jobs in the food container industry. Sen. Markey and Reps. Capps and Meng deserve our thanks for moving this issue forward.”

BPA is the chemical building block for polycarbonate plastic and can be found in plastic bottles and food storage containers. It is also used in epoxy resins that coat the lining of metal food and beverage cans. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 93 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. A 2013 California study found the chemical in the umbilical cord of every one of the 85 pregnant women tested.

“Simply put, this is about protecting the health and well-being of Americans,” said Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). “Workers in food processing plants are being exposed to BPA at dangerous levels, with women under 50 particularly vulnerable to developing breast cancer. This is unacceptable. The UFCW strongly supports the Ban Poisonous Additives Act which would help ensure workers can do their jobs without fear of getting sick.”

The legislation would prohibit the sale of reusable food and beverage containers (such as sports water bottles, water cooler bottles and food storage containers) that contain BPA. It would also prohibit the introduction into commerce of all other food and beverage containers that contain BPA—including food and beverage cans—and allow stronger state standards to continue. The bill does allow waivers for facilities if they can show that it isn’t feasible to replace BPA in their container or use an alternative. However, if a waiver is granted a container must be labeled indicating the presence of BPA and the manufacturer must submit a plan and timeline for removing the chemical from the containers. 

A six-year study conducted by Canadian researchers Brophy and Keith, published in 2012, showed that young women working in the automotive plastics and food packing industry are five times more likely to have breast cancer than their neighbors working in other industries. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin ban BPA in food containers for young children. Connecticut and Maine’s laws also restrict BPA in all reusable food and beverage containers.

“In many of these states, and most notably in Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota and Maryland, the bills were passed with strong bipartisan support,” said Charlotte Brody, Vice President of Health Initiatives for the BlueGreen Alliance. “Now we need the same kind of bi-partisan action in Congress to protect workers and families from BPA.”

Click here to view letters of support as well as letters from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health; the Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health Inc.; the Massachusetts Council on Occupational Safety and Health; the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health; and Worksafe. 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and clean economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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STATEMENT: Don’t Let the Highway Trust Fund Go Bankrupt http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-dont-let-the-highway-trust-fund-go-bankrupt Thu, 03 Jul 2014 07:50:24 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-dont-let-the-highway-trust-fund-go-bankrupt WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 3, 2014) – Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics unveiled the June employment situation, which showed the economy gained 288,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“The job market is steadily improving but the threat that Congress will let the Highway Trust Fund go bankrupt looms large. Despite months of debate, lawmakers have failed to act. They’re putting thousands of jobs on the line.  

“It’s time we let construction workers, manufacturers and small businesses get to the work of revitalizing America’s infrastructure systems—especially during the height of construction season—without Congress mucking it up. Congress must authorize a fully funded, long-term plan—like the GROW AMERICA Act proposed by the administration and Department of Transportation—to fix the problems caused by decades of deferred maintenance and to repair and modernize our infrastructure to support a prosperous 21st century economy.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment. 

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STATEMENT: Congress Must Encourage Growth by Passing Long-Term, Fully-Funded Infrastructure Investments http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-congress-must-encourage-growth-by-passing-long-term-fully-funded-infrastructure-investments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 14:21:40 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-congress-must-encourage-growth-by-passing-long-term-fully-funded-infrastructure-investments FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACTS:

Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

WASHINGTON, DC (July 1, 2014) – Today, President Obama visited the Key Bridge in Washington, D.C., where he urged Congress to take action to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and make long-term investments like those that the administration and the Department of Transportation have proposed in the GROW AMERICA Act, a four-year transportation proposal that will address the deferred maintenance and repairs that have added up over decades. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas, who attended the president’s speech:

“With the backdrop of one of Washington’s busiest bridges—driven over by millions of commuters and businesses each year—the president called out Congress for bringing the Highway Trust Fund to the brink of bankruptcy. When it comes to our transportation infrastructure, people need, and expect Congress to get the job done. The Highway Trust Fund could be insolvent as early as next month and without it, thousands of jobs and billions in investments to protect public safety and ensure economic opportunity will go on hold or disappear in states across the country.

“The Key Bridge is one of 63,000 structurally deficient bridges in this country. Problems caused by deferred maintenance and investment also extend to our power grid, wastewater, transit and communication systems. The state of our nation’s infrastructure not only impacts our economy, but our environment suffers as well. Congress should act now, not just to make the repairs desperately needed, but to build the modern infrastructure essential to create and sustain jobs and to build a stronger, more competitive economic future. The GROW AMERICA Act will help us accomplish just that.”

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and clean economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org

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RELEASE: $100 Million in State Bonding Money Available to Local Manufacturers, Health Care Facilities and Other Businesses for Improvements to Save Energy http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-100-million-in-state-bonding-money-available-to-local-manufacturers-health-care-facilities-and-other-businesses-for-improvements-to-save-energy Thu, 26 Jun 2014 11:41:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/release-100-million-in-state-bonding-money-available-to-local-manufacturers-health-care-facilities-and-other-businesses-for-improvements-to-save-energy Labor, Business Leaders Tout First of Several Industrial Energy Efficiency Recommendations

ST. PAUL (June 26, 2014) – A provision in the supplemental budget bill passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Dayton will allow the Minnesota Department of Commerce to work with manufacturers, health care facilities, and other businesses to help fund energy efficiency projects with low-interest financing through its state revenue bond authority. The $100 million in state revenue bonds can be used to finance community energy efficiency projects, including industrial, commercial and public projects, to save energy. State Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL – Chisholm) and State Reps. Melissa Hortman (DFL – Brooklyn Park) and Jason Metsa (DFL – Virginia) authored and championed the measure.

Increasing energy efficiency for large users of energy in the state will create and maintain family-supporting jobs for workers in manufacturing, constructing and maintenance of needed materials and equipment. Providing opportunities for Minnesota’s manufacturing and large industrial sector to be more energy efficient is also vital to ensuring our companies can compete in the global marketplace. In 2006, 32 percent of total energy used in Minnesota was used by industry, more than any other sector.

“This provision was a great first step, and we urge the legislature and Governor Dayton to continue to focus on putting forward changes like these that will create and sustain jobs in our state—and protect our environment—by making our industries more energy efficient,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Local manufacturers, health care facilities and other businesses can benefit, and the communities around them will benefit both economically and environmentally.”

In addition, the BlueGreen Alliance offered further recommendations in its Competing to Win: Spurring Industrial Energy Efficiency in Minnesota policy statement derived from input from stakeholders, including some of the largest corporations in the state, economic development agencies, unions, environmental organizations, and other interested parties. Meetings were held both in the metro area and Greater Minnesota. The recommendations could be acted on both legislatively and through executive actions and will further spur industrial energy efficiency in the state.

“These recommendations will help make it easier for Minnesota companies to reduce their energy use and improve their bottom lines,” said Bob Carpenter, General Manager, St. Paul Operations for RockTenn. “Companies today are competing domestically and globally. That means we have to be as lean as possible to stay on top.”

The recommendations include the creation of a statewide energy-efficiency initiative to help provide technical assistance and access to a revolving loan program to finance improvements to taconite mines, pulp and paper mills, food manufacturers, and other energy-intensive businesses; allowing a utility or other third party to own the energy efficiency equipment until the company pays it off—helping to keep large energy efficiency initiatives from showing up in a detrimental way on a balance sheet, instead of spreading it out; and supporting Combined Heat and Power (CHP), Waste Heat Reduction (WHR) and Waste Heat to Power (WHP) initiatives in the state. 

“Tools like these are vital in our work to grow business, jobs and tax base in the East Metro area,” said Louie Jambois, president Saint Paul Port Authority. “Increasingly, businesses are striving to be more efficient to remain competitive and we support this effort to ensure there is access to capital to make that happen.”

“Making our industrial base more energy efficient will preserve good jobs for workers around the state, while reducing overall emissions,” said Pete Parris, Political Director for Sheet Metal Workers Local 10, which has members in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and counties in Northern Wisconsin. “Union members are concerned about climate change and our environment. We worry about our how our communities will be impacted. This is a positive step forward to reduce emissions.”

Businesses or entities interested in this program can contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce or visit http://mn.gov/commerce/.

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STATEMENT: Risky Business Report a Wake-Up Call to Economic Costs of Climate Change http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-risky-business-report-a-wake-up-call-to-economic-costs-of-climate-change Tue, 24 Jun 2014 09:41:38 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/statement-risky-business-report-a-wake-up-call-to-economic-costs-of-climate-change FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACTS:

Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

WASHINGTON, DC (June 24, 2014) – A new report released today by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and climate advocate Tom Steyer examines existing data on the current and potential impacts of climate change and identifies the economic risks of failing to act. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“The Risky Business report findings are absolutely sobering and a reminder to us all that climate change requires immediate and thoughtful solutions or there will continue to be enormous economic and environmental consequences to bear for our generation and for future generations to come. America’s risk assessment experts have issued a stark warning we can’t afford to ignore. The report’s findings show that average annual losses to coastal infrastructure will increase by $7.3 billion, crop yields are likely to drop significantly, and energy infrastructure will be overburdened even further and raise rates for consumers. These are only the short-term effects.

“As former Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson underscored in a New York Times editorial this week, the time to act is now. Putting a national price on carbon is one step to addressing the growing and serious problem of climate change. Any price on carbon must include a strong, robust mechanism to ensure compliance by international trading partners. This includes creating a border adjustment tax mechanism. This mechanism would help ensure U.S. industries are competing on a level playing field with the international community, and it would serve as a strong incentive for industries overseas to comply.

“Revenues generated by a carbon tax in combination with a border adjustment tariff should be used to re-invest in high-impacted industries to ensure competitiveness, spur investment in our renewable energy sector, and provide significant investment in our infrastructure—whether it’s replacing old, leaky pipelines, a significant source of methane emissions, or rebuilding our highways and rails.

“It’s time for a price on carbon dioxide emissions. Until we do what’s needed to address climate change, we’re gambling with our economic prosperity for generations to come.” 

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The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean economy. Launched in 2006, the strategic partnership now brings together major U.S. labor unions and America's most influential environmental organizations and unites nearly 16 million members and supporters in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and clean economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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