Blue Green Alliance 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 REPORT: Repairing America’s Infrastructure Can Create 2.7 Million Jobs, Increase GDP by $377 Billion, and Reduce Emissions http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/report-repairing-americas-infrastructure-can-create-2-7-million-jobs-increase-gdp-by-377-billion-and-reduce-emissions Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:42:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/report-repairing-americas-infrastructure-can-create-2-7-million-jobs-increase-gdp-by-377-billion-and-reduce-emissions Two Years After Hurricane Sandy, New Report Demonstrates Economic and Environmental Benefits of Repairing Infrastructure and Protecting Communities from Impacts of Climate Change 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 24, 2014) – An innovative report released today shows that repairing America’s infrastructure could create 2.7 million jobs across the economy and increase the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $377 billion, while reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions and better protecting communities from the impacts of climate change. The BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations, today held a press call to release the report that analyzed the impact of infrastructure investments on the nation’s economy and environment.

“Repairing our most basic infrastructure systems will make those systems more efficient and prepare our communities for the coming impacts of climate change. But most of all, it will create quality jobs up and down the supply chain—from manufacturing the components of these systems to the installation and operation of them in our communities,” said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers and Co-Founder of the BlueGreen Alliance.

Making the Grade: How Investments in America’s Infrastructure Benefit Our Economy and Environment examines the benefits of improving America’s infrastructure from an average “D+” grade—the 2013 rating by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Report Card—to a “B” grade over the next ten years and quantifies the potential job creation and economic impact from making those investments. In addition, the report examines the environmental benefits of investing in repairing and upgrading America’s infrastructure systems, including the ability to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a variety of sectors across the economy.

“Poor infrastructure means more waste and pollution. By acting now, we can end the vicious circle we’re in—where outdated and inefficient infrastructure is making climate change worse, and as the climate changes the infrastructure is even more battered by the impacts,” said Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Rebuilding our infrastructure now just makes good sense for our communities, the environment and our economy.”

Making the Grade shows that accelerating infrastructure investment—as laid out in the report—would result in saving nearly 5.7 billion gallons of fuel annually by supporting current growth in transit ridership. Similarly, investments in America’s energy infrastructure would help reach the carbon pollution reduction goals of the Clean Power Plan by investing in more the nation’s electric grid.

In addition, a 5 percent reduction in leaks from drinking water systems would reduce climate change pollution by an equivalent of 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The report also showed that every 5 percent reduced in the amount of solid waste Americans generate could limit greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year—the equivalent emissions for six million U.S. households.

“Underinvestment, deferred maintenance and extreme weather stress our infrastructure networks—endangering communities, wasting energy, and creating excess pollution,” said D. Michael Langford, National President of the Utility Workers Union of America. “We cannot afford to continue to ignore the costs of inaction—inaction on fixing our infrastructure, inaction on climate change—and avoid the significant costs that occur because of that inaction. It’s time to move on repairing our nation’s infrastructure now.”

The report comes just before the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy reaching the East Coast. The storm was the second costliest in U.S. history and exposed how unprepared the nation’s infrastructure systems are to the dangers brought on by climate change, which includes stronger and more frequent storms and rising sea levels. Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated $60 to $80 billion in damage, damaged 650,000 homes and left 8.5 million people without power. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), warmer oceans and air along with other changes in global weather patters, more powerful and more frequent hurricanes could be more likely.

“We must find better ways to ensure that local infrastructure makes the grade,” said Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell. “Repairing infrastructure systems and addressing climate change go hand-in-hand and both will create good jobs. Reinforcing the power grid, strengthening stormwater drains, and creating communities resilient to climate change will promote economic growth in cities all around our nation.”  

“In order to lead in the global economy, America needs to be at the front of the pack when it comes to infrastructure,” said Brian Pallasch, Managing Director of Government Relations & Infrastructure Initiatives for ASCE. “Our Report Card for America’s Infrastructure has called attention to the state of our nation’s infrastructure for over a decade, and this new study provides current insight into the economic and environmental benefits that would come along with making the needed infrastructure investment.”

“Clean water, a reliable and efficient electric grid, uncongested travel—these are the keys to good communities and a strong economy,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “As the backbone of our economy, we need to bolster our infrastructure and make it resilient to the impacts of climate change. By doing so, we can reduce pollution and create good jobs too.”

The group said one way to boost investment now is for Congress to pass a long-term, fully funded transportation bill yet this year. “Congress can jumpstart this by passing a transportation bill in the ‘lame duck’ session still this year,” Glas added.

Listen to the audio from the press call below.

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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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REPORT: Making the Grade: How Investments in America’s Infrastructure Benefit Our Economy and Environment http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/report-making-the-grade Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:30:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/report-making-the-grade Making the Grade report cover

Our innovative report shows that repairing America’s infrastructure could create 2.7 million jobs across the economy and increase the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $377 billion, while reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions and better protecting communities from the impacts of climate change. 

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) releases a report card depicting the condition and performance of America’s infrastructure across a number of sectors of the U.S. economy, the latest being the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. Unfortunately, America consistently gets barely passing grades and our infrastructure systems are in dire need of modernization. In 2013, ASCE gave the nation’s infrastructure a grade of “D+,”  which is a slight improvement over previous “D” grades, and estimated that to get to a grade of “B” would require an investment of $3.6 trillion over the next seven years. It also showed that the gap between planned infrastructure investment and the amount required to achieve a good state of repair is currently an estimated $1.6 trillion dollars.   

This report delves into the economic impacts of closing that gap by accelerating infrastructure investment—using current financing approaches—to achieve a “B” grade over the next 10 years. Making these investments now will pay big dividends making our country more efficient and in reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change. Such an endeavor would accrue significant sustainability benefits across the economy. For each of the sectors examined in the ASCE Report Card, accelerated infrastructure investment could help achieve the following environmental benefits, including but not limited to:

REPORT INFOGRAPHICS
  • Saving nearly 5.7 billion gallons of fuel and averting the carbon dioxide equivalent of 48 million metric tons per year over the next decade by supporting the current trajectory of transit ridership. Currently, transit ridership levels save the equivalent energy of the gasoline used by more than 7.2 million cars a year—nearly as many cars as are registered in Florida, the fourth largest state;
  • Reducing climate change pollution by an equivalent of 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide for each 5 percent reduction in leaks from drinking water systems;
  • Helping to reduce power plant emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels over the next three decades by investing in more efficient power plants and the electrical grid; and
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10 million tons of carbon educing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10 million tons of carbon dioxode—equivalent to the carbon pollution emissions of six million U.S. households—for each 5 percent reduction in the amount of solid waste Americans generate.

Stimulating the economy, creating jobs, fighting climate change, and improving our communities—now and for generations to come—are all good reasons to prioritize infrastructure investment.

VIEW THE INFOGRAPHICS>>>
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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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LETTER: BlueGreen Alliance Urges the Administration to Adopt a National Methane Reduction Strategy http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/letter-bluegreen-alliance-urges-the-administration-to-adopt-a-national-methane-reduction-strategy Fri, 10 Oct 2014 09:59:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/letter-bluegreen-alliance-urges-the-administration-to-adopt-a-national-methane-reduction-strategy The BlueGreen Alliance 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.  

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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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REPORT: Minnesota Natural Gas Distribution Profile http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/minnesota-natural-gas-distribution-profile Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:26:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/minnesota-natural-gas-distribution-profile Minnesota’s natural gas distribution pipeline system is a network of more than 30,000 miles of pipe that supply homes, businesses, and communities with energy. Repairing aging and leak prone natural gas pipelines has the potential to create and support quality, family-sustaining jobs and drive investment toward a more resilient pipeline system.

As of 2012, the Minnesota had 512 miles of distribution pipelines made from leak prone materials: 430 miles of bare steel pipeline, 53 coated unprotected steel, and 30 cast/wrought iron. In 2012 there were 646 leaks reported in the state of Minnesota. 

This profile examines the natural gas distribution system of Minnesota and examined efforts to repair leak-prone pipes within the system. 

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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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Repair America Panel Discussion in Grand Rapids, MI http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/repair-america-panel-discussion Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:07:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/repair-america-panel-discussion As an advisor on President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, Mayor George Heartwell is already helping to lead the way on how communities prepare for climate change. Come join this discussion about spurring growth in clean energy and energy efficiency, upgrading our infrastructure to be
prepared for climate impacts, and the need to reduce carbon pollution that is driving our climate to change.

Featured Speaker Susan Hedman, EPA Region 5 Administrator

Panel discussion to follow:
• Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell
• D. Michael Langford, National President, Utility Workers Union of America
• Anne Woiwode, Michigan Chapter Director, Sierra Club
• Mike Williams, Vice President for Development and Corporate Initiatives, BlueGreen Alliance

Wednesday, September 17 at 2:00 p.m.
Grand Valley State University
Old Bicycle Factory, 2nd Floor
201 Front Ave., SW, Grand Rapids, MI
Event parking is available in the Watson parking lot



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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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TESTIMONY: Representatives of the BlueGreen Alliance on the EPA's Clean Power Plan at the Pittsburgh, PA Hearing http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/testimony-representatives-of-the-bluegreen-alliance-on-the-epas-clean-power-plan-at-the-pittsburgh-pa-hearing Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:59:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/testimony-representatives-of-the-bluegreen-alliance-on-the-epas-clean-power-plan-at-the-pittsburgh-pa-hearing 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—in Pittsburgh, PA. 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. 

Click the links below to see the as-prepared testimony of the BlueGreen Alliance's Executive Director Kim Glas and Regional Program Managers Lee Geiss and Khari Mosley at the Pittsburgh, PA hearing. 

KIM GLAS TESTIMONY>>
LEE GEISSE TESTIMONY>>
KHARI MOSLEY TESTIMONY>>
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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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TESTIMONY: The BlueGreen Alliance on EPA’s Clean Power Plan http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/testimony-of-the-bluegreen-alliance-at-public-hearing-on-epas-clean-power-plan Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:05:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/testimony-of-the-bluegreen-alliance-at-public-hearing-on-epas-clean-power-plan The BlueGreen Alliance supports the EPA’s authority to limit carbon pollution from power plants. We are pleased that this proposed rule permits each state to craft a compliance plan that is tailored to the specifics of its local and regional economy; that will protect existing jobs while reducing emissions; and that can create opportunities to grow new jobs, encourage investment, and jumpstart new technologies. 

This proposal can be a significant step forward, if we all engage to develop and implement it. 

There were three points emphasized by Executive Director Kim Glas at a hearing on the Clean Power Plan held in Washington, D.C. on July 29, 2014: 

First, the proposed rule sets reasonable targets for reducing carbon pollution that the final rule should retain. 

Second, the proposal’s flexible compliance approach is essential to its success. 

Third, community and workforce stability and development should be integral elements of any carbon reduction strategy. 

We at the BlueGreen Alliance applaud the EPA for moving forward on addressing the threat of climate change. And we look forward to working in states to develop well-crafted implementation plans that achieve these goals. 

View the as-prepared testimony by clicking the link below.

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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.

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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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