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 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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REPORT: Interconnected – The Economic and Climate Change Benefits of Accelerating Repair and Replacement of America’s Natural Gas Distribution Pipelines http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/interconnected Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:56:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/interconnected Repairing the system of distribution pipelines that deliver natural gas to homes and businesses offers an opportunity to drive significant investment in our economy. Doing so will help to fix a critical part of our aging infrastructure while creating jobs and cutting global warming pollution—a winning proposition for both the environment and the economy. 

While the repair and replacement of natural gas distribution pipes is underway in many parts of the country, the nation won’t see an overhaul of the estimated 9 percent of distribution pipeline comprised of aging, leak-prone materials for three decades at the current rate of progress. This report considers an alternative, accelerated scenario whereby this rate of repair and replacement activity would be tripled—a goal not inconceivable were ideal policy and finance mechanisms in place. 

The report findings include:

  • Accelerating the timeframe of pipe replacement would increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by over $37 billion by 2024, leaviing GDP $30 billion higher in that year compared to the 30-year repair and replacement schedule. 
  • By the end of the 10-year replacement timeline, over 313,000 people would be employed, with nearly 250,000 more jobs created than in the 30-year repair and replacement scenario. 
  • Over three decades, the accelerated 10-year scenario would save nearly $4.4 billion worth of gas. Those savings are $1.5 billion more than under the current rate of repair and replacement.
  • The faster replacement rate prevents an additional 81 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted into the atmosphere, roughly equivalent to taking 17 million cars off the road for one year. 

Investing in our infrastructure is a winning proposition for consumers, the environment, and the economy as a whole. Accelerating the timeline will provide those benefits at a time when America needs them the most. 

VIEW THE INFOGRAPHIC >>

Listen to the audio from the press call below.

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FACT SHEET: The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program: A Success Building the Next Generation of Technology in America http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/the-advanced-technology-vehicle-manufacturing-atvm-loan-program-a-success-building-the-next-generation-of-technology-in-america Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:14:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/the-advanced-technology-vehicle-manufacturing-atvm-loan-program-a-success-building-the-next-generation-of-technology-in-america The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program plays a critical role in rebuilding U.S. manufacturing and helps ensure we make the next generation of globally competitive clean transportation technology in America. These public-private  investments to date have created or saved more than 35,000 direct manufacturing jobs.

The program was created as part of the bipartisan 2007 energy bill, and has been successfully implemented across two Administrations. Today advanced manufacturing companies across the country stand to benefit from ATVM loans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fact sheet on the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2014 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/fact-sheet-on-the-ban-poisonous-additives-act-of-2014 Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:42:09 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/fact-sheet-on-the-ban-poisonous-additives-act-of-2014 The Ban Poisonous Additives (BPA) Act of 2014, which is being introduced by Sen. Edward Markey, D‐Mass., and Reps. Lois Capps, D-Calif. and Grace Meng, D-N.Y., will remove BPA from food packaging, label food packaging that still contains BPA while alternatives are developed, encourage manufacturers to replace this hazardous chemical with alternatives that are safer for workers and consumers, and require the FDA to review the safety of all food contact substances.

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Letters of Support for the Ban Poisonous Additives Act http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/letters-of-support-for-the-ban-poisonous Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:44:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/letters-of-support-for-the-ban-poisonous The Ban Poisonous Additives (BPA) Act of 2014, which is being introduced by Sen. Edward Markey, D‐Mass., and Reps. Lois Capps, D-Calif. and Grace Meng, D-N.Y., will remove BPA from food packaging, label food packaging that still contains BPA while alternatives are developed, encourage manufacturers to replace this hazardous chemical with alternatives that are safer for workers and consumers, and require the FDA to review the safety of all food contact substances. 

Bisphenol A (BPA) is the chemical building block for polycarbonate plastic and can be found in some plastic bottles and food storage containers marked with a No. 7. BPA is also used in epoxy resins that coat the lining of metal food and beverage cans. Globally, more than 10.3 billion pounds of BPA is used in products annually. 

More than 300 animal and human studies have linked small amounts of BPA exposure to a staggering number of health problems, including prostate and breast cancer, asthma, obesity, behavioral changes and inattention, altered development of the brain and immune system, low birth weight and lowered sperm counts. Even minuscule amounts have been shown to cross the placenta and disrupt normal prenatal development. 

It is time for Congress to take the necessary steps to protect our citizens, including the children, women and men who consume packaged food, and the men and women who work in factories where food containers are made and packed. The BPA Act provides Americans with this needed health protection. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Competing to Win: Spurring Industrial Energy Efficiency in Minnesota http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/competing-to-win Thu, 26 Jun 2014 08:35:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/competing-to-win A diverse group of Minnesota business, environmental, labor and government stakeholders gathered recently to answer the following questions: 1) what are the largest barriers preventing further investment in industrial energy efficiency in Minnesota, and 2) what tools and resources are available, or what policy changes are needed, to reduce those barriers?  

To identify the barriers preventing industrial energy efficiency improvements specifically in Minnesota, the BlueGreen Alliance joined with the St. Paul Port Authority and the United Steelworkers to convene stakeholders from taconite companies, pulp and paper mills, and other stakeholders from around the state. Their input was used to develop recommendations for policy makers to address the barriers identified and to make new and significant energy efficiency projects possible. The results were clear. While stakeholder companies have increased energy efficiency—given the energy-­‐intensity of these industries—participants supported opportunities that could remove internal hurdles and other barriers to new and significant energy efficiency and related projects. 

Competing to Win: Spurring Industrial Energy Efficiency in Minnesota summarizes the benefits of increasing industrial energy efficiency, quantifies the opportunity for the state of Minnesota, identifies the barriers preventing projects from being installed, and issues a series of recommendations to address these barriers.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Repair Ohio: Creating Good Jobs While Preparing Our Infrastructure for Climate Change http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/repair-ohio-creating-good-jobs-while-preparing-our-infrastructure-for-climate-change Wed, 18 Jun 2014 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/repair-ohio-creating-good-jobs-while-preparing-our-infrastructure-for-climate-change Ohio’s infrastructure systems are in urgent need of significant repair. The state’s roads and bridges, water, waste water, transit, energy, and communication systems need increased investment to become efficient, safe, and productive. Repairing Ohio will create good jobs, make our systems more efficient and less polluting, and safeguard communities from the impact of climate change, like severe weather such as floods and droughts.  

In this report, the BlueGreen Alliance identified needed investment—some of which is already in the planning stages—in roads, bridges, transit, waste water, drinking water, electricity, natural gas and smart grid. After identifying these needs, we estimated the number of jobs that would be created by making these essential investments in repairing and modernizing our basic infrastructure systems. 

More than an estimated 167,700 jobs could be created across Ohio’s economy by making much-needed investments in our basic infrastructure systems. This includes the number of direct jobs from impacted sectors like construction laborers, equipment operators, and maintenance workers; as well as the number of indirect jobs from industries that service those sectors and supply chains, including the manufacturing of materials, components, and equipment. In addition, we estimated the number of induced jobs supported as the workers buy goods and services, including increased demand for retail, housing, and financial services. 

Download the Repair Ohio Fact Sheet

Dowload the Repair Ohio Report

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