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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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REPORT: Passenger Rail & Transit Rail Manufacturing in the U.S. http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/report-passenger-rail-transit-rail Fri, 30 Jan 2015 10:04:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/report-passenger-rail-transit-rail Modern transit and passenger rail systems—like our highways and freight rail systems—are critical infrastructure for a prosperous economy and are major generators of jobs and economic growth. They also benefit our environment.

A new report from the Environment Law and Policy Center and the BlueGreen Alliance shows that in addition to these familiar benefits, transit and passenger rail systems also support extensive manufacturing businesses and jobs across the country—both in communities local to and far from the transit systems themselves.

This report—Passenger Rail & Transit Rail Manufacturing in the U.S.—mapped the transit and passenger rail manufacturing footprint and found more than 750 companies in at least 39 states manufacturing components for transit and passenger rail today.

Specifically, we found:

  • 24 facilities manufacturing and assembling rail cars or locomotives for the transit or passenger rail industries;
  • 188 facilities manufacturing major rail components or systems; and
  •  542 additional companies manufacturing sub-component, materials (such as steel, fabric and glass), infrastructure (such as track and signaling), and carrying out repair and remanufacturing for the passenger rail industry, in just two regions. Nationwide the sub-component supply chain is certainly even larger. 

The bottom line is that rail and transit manufacturing support good jobs around the country and are poised to grow. Click the link below to read the full report. 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to the audio from the press call below.

Flash Required

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Five Priorities for the State of the Union http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/five-priorities-for-the-state-of-the-union Fri, 16 Jan 2015 08:34:32 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/five-priorities-for-the-state-of-the-union The State of the Union speech is a chance to hit the reset button on America’s priorities for the next year. Starting off the year right means we are all looking for new solutions to the challenges and opportunities that have been presented to us.

As the president said in last year’s State of the Union speech, “There are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments and are moving this country forward.”

The BlueGreen Alliance has outlined five priorities for 2015.

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

Goal Would Reduce Methane Emissions up to 45 Percent by 2025 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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REPORT: Climate Works for All http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/report-climate-works-for-all Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:46:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/report-climate-works-for-all

Climate Works for All: A Platform for Reducing Emissions, Protecting Our Communities, and Creating Good Jobs for New Yorkers is an eye-opening report about the potential for creating good jobs making New York City more sustainable and resilient. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

350.org

American Federation of Teachers

American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter

Citizen Action

Communications Workers of America District 1

Community Voices Heard

El Puente

Environmental Defense Fund

Faith in New York

Good Old Lower East Side

Housing is a Human Right

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 16

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

Make the Road

Metallic Latherers& Iron Workers

Morningside Heights/West Harlem Sanitation Coalition

Mutual Housing Association of New York

New York City Environmental Justice Alliance

New York Communities for Change

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

New York State Nurses Association

Nos Quedamos

Pratt Center for Community Development

Professional Staff Congress CUNY

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union

Rockaway Wildfire

Sandy Storyline

Service Employees International Union 32BJ

Sierra Club

Sustainable South Bronx

The Point

Transport Workers Union Local 100

United Autoworkers Region 9A

UPROSE

VOCAL-NY

WE ACT

Working Families Party

Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice

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

 

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

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

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

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

www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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BlueGreen Alliance Presses Obama Administration to Act on Methane Emissions http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-presses-obama-administration-to-act-on-methane-emissions Wed, 10 Dec 2014 09:11:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-presses-obama-administration-to-act-on-methane-emissions FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 10, 2014) – The BlueGreen Alliance urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas industry with a full-page ad in the Washington Post.

“Federal agencies and states are taking the right steps toward reducing potent methane emissions, now it’s time for the EPA to act to reduce emissions, create high-quality jobs and stimulate the economy,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Reducing methane emissions throughout the energy sector can easily become a key part of our nation’s strategy to address climate change and is an important part of the president’s Climate Action Plan.”

Methane is the second largest greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere, and it is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The BlueGreen Alliance has worked in partnership with labor and environmental organizations along with industry leaders to encourage the administration to take action in this effort. The advertisement appears online here.

“We have the technology to reduce methane emissions by half in the next five years across the energy sector. These low cost solutions can create high-quality jobs, reduce the effects of climate change and stimulate our economy,” Glas said.  “We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work.”

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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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Congress: End Year on the Right Foot by Passing a Budget, Clean Energy Tax Credits http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/congress-end-year-on-the-right-foot-by-passing-a-budget-clean-energy-tax-credits Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:09:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/congress-end-year-on-the-right-foot-by-passing-a-budget-clean-energy-tax-credits FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 8, 2014) – The BlueGreen Alliance today urged Congress to pass a budget immediately and to reinvest in clean energy manufacturing programs like the Production Tax Credit and Advanced Energy Project Credit. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“It’s our hope that Congress puts the best interests of the American people before their own by quickly passing a budget to fully fund the government. It’s equally important, despite it being the holiday season, that Congress avoid efforts to ornament this budget bill like a Christmas tree with burdensome policy riders that would significantly delay the approval process.

“The remaining days of this legislative session would be a missed opportunity without the renewal of clean energy investments like the Production Tax Credit and Advanced Energy Project Credit. Congressional approval of these important priorities will help us all breathe a sigh of relief as we close the book on 2014.”

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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 Partners Urge Leaders to Seize Environmental, Economic Opportunities from Lima COP http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-partners-urge-leaders-to-seize-environmental-economic-opportunities-from-lima-cop Fri, 05 Dec 2014 10:57:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-partners-urge-leaders-to-seize-environmental-economic-opportunities-from-lima-cop FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 5, 2014) – The BlueGreen Alliance today said that some of North America’s largest environmental and labor organizations are calling for United Nations (UN) negotiators at this week’s 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20) in Lima, Peru to push for a smart, world-wide transition to clean and renewable energy at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“We must act now to address global climate change and promote the creation and maintenance of good jobs in the clean energy economy,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard, who co-chairs the BlueGreen Alliance. “The economic and ecological welfare of the planet cannot wait.”

“From the landmark deal between the U.S. and China to slash emissions to the sizable contributions committed to the Green Climate fund, momentum toward significant international action to tackle the climate crisis is quickly growing. The negotiations in Lima give us the chance to build on those successes by setting the table for progress in Paris that will expand the clean energy economy at home while protecting our communities from the worst consequences of climate disruption,” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director and Co-Chair of the BlueGreen Alliance.

In a letter sent today, the groups asked for President Obama to continue his leadership on addressing climate change and to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us in moving to a cleaner economy. Specifically, they urged national and global collaboration to develop and share best practices for a just transition for all workers. This includes financial support, social and worker protection policies and job impact data, all of which must be part of a comprehensive program for building opportunities and equity around the world.

“Climate change is an issue that affects working families no matter where they live. We hope the agreements to come out of Lima result in real, enforceable action,” said Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen.

“Strong commitments to curtail carbon pollution are a necessary, critical step forward in the fight against climate change. We are hopeful leaders can collectively agree on ambitious measures,” said Frances Beinecke, President of NRDC.

The COP 20 in Lima, Peru is expected to set the framework of a larger climate agreement prior to the Paris climate negotiations next year.

“Thousands of working people who joined the largest climate change protest in history set the stage for world leaders to seize momentum toward making progress in Lima. The landmark agreement between the US and China also paved the way for leaders in Lima to embark toward climate action that we can all get behind,” said Mary Kay Henry, President of Service Employees International Union (SEIU). 

“Regardless of national boundaries, we all have a stake in protecting the environment and investing in our own economic competitiveness. We look forward to finding new ways for working families to reap the benefits of these investments,” said William P. Hite, General President of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA).

“As millions of people around the world experience the realities of climate change firsthand—on the safety, health, and livelihoods of their families and communities— their call for climate action will only continue to grow. We’re hopeful the result of the COP 20 will be that countries, which to this point have stood on the sidelines, will step up, engage in a productive dialogue about the future we’re facing, and pave the way for meaningful commitments to reduce emissions,” said Dr. Kathleen Rest, Executive Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“We hope future generations can benefit from a more level playing field, a more sustainable environment and stronger economy. The decisions we make today can set an example of what we’re capable of when we work together,” said American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten.

“There’s always more that needs to be done to invest in a strong, clean energy economy and to protect good, middle class jobs, and we hope to see strong commitments to meet these needs and priorities of workers,” said D. Michael Langford, National President of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA).

In June, BlueGreen Alliance members showed their support for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed action to regulate carbon pollution. They also urged the administration to consider how working families have already been affected by America’s energy transition, and how they will be impacted in the future as this rule is finalized and implemented.

“It’s vital that the U.S. engage other nations and lead the way to reducing the carbon pollution driving climate change. We’re excited for the opportunities the COP 20 provides to move us toward an international agreement that will create resilient and sustainable solutions to the problems facing our environment and wildlife,” said Collin O’Mara, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

In a recent letter to President Obama, the leaders emphasized the importance of moving forward now with smart initiatives that facilitate the transition to cleaner fuel, more resilient infrastructure and a robust workforce that is supported by good economic and social policies.

“Our members’ work reduces the carbon pollution that’s driving this change every day because riding public transit is one of the best ways to combat climate change, but we need global action in addition to local action,” said Larry Hanley, International President of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU). “Today we’re looking to those who have a seat at the table to find common sense solutions that will strengthen economies, build resilient communities, expand public transit systems and create family-sustaining jobs.”

“President Obama’s leadership has set the bar high on climate change. We’re hopeful that this year’s COP can advance policies that protect jobs and move us forward in our efforts to fight climate change,” said James Boland, President of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC).

“Reducing the carbon pollution and greenhouse gases driving climate change is vital to protecting our environment and our communities. Along with the initiatives launched at the Leaders Summit in September and the historic US-China announcement earlier this month, the work in Lima can help set the groundwork for success for strong international action now,” said Elizabeth Thompson, President of EDF Action, the political action partner of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

“The United States is leading by example; now is the time for others to step up. The decisions made over the next few weeks must work to lay a foundation for further international action to significantly reduce carbon emissions and to help keep America’s manufacturing sector on a level playing field,” said Kim Glas, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director.

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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 President to take advantage of Lima opportunities http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/letter-bluegreen-alliance-urges-president-to-take-advantage-of-lima-opportunities Fri, 05 Dec 2014 10:18:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/letter-bluegreen-alliance-urges-president-to-take-advantage-of-lima-opportunities In a letter BlueGreen Alliance asked for President Obama to continue his leadership on addressing climate change and to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us in moving to a cleaner economy. Specifically, they urged national and global collaboration to develop and share best practices for a just transition for all workers. This includes financial support, social and worker protection policies and job impact data, all of which must be part of a comprehensive program for building opportunities and equity around the world.

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BlueGreen Alliance Appeals to EPA to Develop a Clean Power Plan that Supports Workers & Communities http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-appeals-to-epa-to-develop-a-clean-power-plan-that-supports-workers-communities Mon, 01 Dec 2014 19:17:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-appeals-to-epa-to-develop-a-clean-power-plan-that-supports-workers-communities FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 1, 2014) – The BlueGreen Alliance today released comments in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to set carbon emission standards for existing power sources. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“The EPA’s proposed rule sends a message that we’re ready to lead by example on climate action.

“This proposed rule permits each state the flexibility needed to craft a compliance plan that is tailored to the specifics of its local and regional economy, which in turn can create opportunities to sustain and grow jobs, encourage investment and jumpstart new technologies.

“This rule has the potential to create and maintain quality, family-sustaining jobs if it is done right. For that to happen, the private sector, including utilities, and all levels of government must work in tandem with communities—and the workers within them—to make the rule a success. There is still further opportunity for EPA to get the details of the final rule correct. We applaud the EPA for moving forward on addressing the threat of climate change.”

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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: Comments on EPA's Proposed Rule on Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/letter-comments-on-epas-proposed-rule-on-carbon-pollution-emission-guidelines Mon, 01 Dec 2014 17:05:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/letter-comments-on-epas-proposed-rule-on-carbon-pollution-emission-guidelines The BlueGreen Alliance submits the attached comments in response to the EPA’s recent Federal Register Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units.

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Apollo Alliance Project Honors Leaders at The Right Stuff Awards for Building Stronger Economy, Protecting Environment http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/apollo-alliance-project-honors-leaders-at-the-right-stuff-awards-for-building-stronger-economy-protecting-environment Thu, 13 Nov 2014 21:00:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/apollo-alliance-project-honors-leaders-at-the-right-stuff-awards-for-building-stronger-economy-protecting-environment Awards Dinner in San Francisco Honors Government, Business, Environmental, Labor and Community Leaders

SAN FRANCISCO (November 13, 2014) – The Apollo Alliance Project of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation recognized government, business, community, environmental and labor leaders at their annual The Right Stuff Awards Dinner. The honorees were given awards for their efforts to promote a sustainable environment and economy.

“We are proud to recognize these leaders who are dedicated to protecting the environment, creating good jobs, and improving our communities,” said Phil Angelides, Chairman of the Apollo Alliance Advisory Board. “The work being done by these honorees to create a secure clean energy future and open up new markets will help ensure we have a strong middle class.”

This year’s honorees included: U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz; Maggie Fox, recent past-President and CEO of the Climate Reality Project; the U.S. Green Building Council and its President Rick Fedrizzi; KC Golden, Senior Policy Advisor for Climate Solutions; Jeffrey Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO; United Association (UA) and its General President William Hite; and California healthcare system Kaiser Permanente.

“These are the leaders who are turning great challenges into great opportunities,” said Kim Glas, President of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation. “Together, in communities across the country, we will continue to lead the charge to accelerate the growth of clean energy, good jobs and a stronger American economy.”

The Apollo Alliance Project of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation offers a bold vision to catalyze the transition to a clean energy economy. Working with our coalition of labor, business, environmental and community leaders we will reduce carbon emissions and oil imports, spur domestic job growth, and position America to thrive in the 21st century economy. Annually, the Apollo Alliance Project has honored leaders and businesses at the forefront of the clean economy in California and around the country for their contributions to a strong economy and a safe, healthy environment. Past honorees include California Governor Jerry Brown, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke.

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The BlueGreen Alliance Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that conducts research and educates the public and media about solutions to environmental challenges that create economic opportunities for the American people. Learn more at www.bgafoundation.org.

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BlueGreen Alliance Urges Action in Lame Duck Session http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-urges-action-in-lame-duck-session Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:43:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-urges-action-in-lame-duck-session CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 12, 2014) – Today, Congress reconvenes for its “lame duck” legislative session following last week’s Midterm Elections. The following is a statement from BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas:

“Before Congress adjourns for the year, Americans want Congress to step up and help create jobs with common sense legislation:

“One way to do that is to renew the Production Tax Credit for wind projects, which will create good jobs in manufacturing while also helping to reduce emissions and transition our nation to clean energy. Second, Congress must pass an omnibus spending bill that responsibly funds government without the introduction of policy riders that will slow down the process. Third, we should take the opportunity now to pass a fully funded transportation reauthorization bill, shoring up the Highway Trust Fund for the future. Fourth, Congress must take steps to eliminate the backlog of nominations and appointments of over 200 vacancies that threaten consumer well-being, workplace safety and much more.

“The lame duck session should not be used as an opportunity to pass controversial and divisive measures; it should be used as an opportunity to pass meaningful bi-partisan legislation. That means we must also reject ‘fast track’ authority for international trade agreements, which would shut out public input from this and future agreements.

“This year’s lame duck session doesn’t have to live up to its name. It’s time to get some work done to turn today’s environmental challenges into economic and job-creating opportunities.”   

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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 U.S.-China Agreement to Curb Carbon Emissions http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-applauds-u-s-china-agreement-to-curb-carbon-emissions Wed, 12 Nov 2014 12:37:05 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-applauds-u-s-china-agreement-to-curb-carbon-emissions FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Erin Bzymek, erinb@bluegreenalliance.org, 202-706-6916

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 12, 2014) – The United States and China made an historic joint agreement to curb carbon emissions in the coming decade, with the US committing to cut national emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels and China committing to peak emissions by 2030. The BlueGreen Alliance’s Executive Director Kim Glas released the following statement in response to this agreement:

“With this monumental agreement, the United States and President Obama are leading by example. These actions lay the foundation for further international action to significantly reduce carbon emissions and to help keep America’s economy and the manufacturing sector on a level playing field.

“But there is much more we need to do. We call on the leadership of the new Congress to acknowledge the reality of climate change and to demonstrate it can govern. Continued efforts are necessary to stave off the worst effects of climate change and to put our economy back on solid ground.”

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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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Minnesota Natural Gas Distribution Pipeline Project http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/minnesota-natural-gas-distribution-pipeline-project Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:00:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/minnesota-natural-gas-distribution-pipeline-project 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 and the fact sheet examine the natural gas distribution system of Minnesota and the benefit of repairing leak-prone pipes within the system. 

The metro is in many ways is at the forefront of efforts underway by gas providers to upgrade aging pipe infrastructure. These improvements are critical in reducing methane emissions—a potent greenhouse gas that is estimated to have at least 20 times the climate change impact versus carbon dioxide on a pound for pound basis over a 100-year timeframe.

As part of an education and outreach project sponsored by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration (PHMSA), the Minnesota BlueGreen Alliance convened a series of meetings engaging frontline gas workers, community and environmental groups, and others.

The meetings were held throughout 2014 and helped identify challenges and opportunities facing the network of natural gas distribution pipelines in the Twin Cities metro. We also identified best practices, highlighted how far along the utilities and workers have come in advancing distribution pipeline repair, replacement and detection, and developed strategies that could be used around the country to tackle methane leaks in distribution pipelines. 

Minnesota Natural Gas Distribution Profile 
Minnesota Natural Gas Distribution Pipeline Fact Sheet 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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