Environmental and Labor Leaders Highlight Success of Green Economy, Release BlueGreen Alliance Energy Policy
WASHINGTON, DC (October 16, 2012) Ahead of the second presidential debate, labor and environmental leaders today set the record straight on America’s green jobs successes including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and released the BlueGreen Alliance’s energy policy that serves as a model for leaders to follow to create and sustain more good jobs, while reducing pollution and U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard, Senior Advisor to the NRDC Action Fund Dale Bryk, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster and clean energy worker Gerald Nickelson from CG Power Systems in Missouri expressed disappointment on a teleconference call about how candidates during the presidential and vice presidential debates have politicized renewable energy investments that have accelerated job creation and economic growth over the past few years.
“There’s not a more important conversation for our leaders to have than about the economic direction of the country, but when Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan aren’t honest about the past, it prevents us from moving forward,” said Gerard. “The Recovery Act was a crucial down payment to give America a shot at competition globally in key 21st century industries. It worked and we’re here to set the record straight: nearly one million green jobs were created or saved by the Recovery Act and America is on the right path to building better economic and environmental future.”
A BlueGreen Alliance study found the green investments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act were very successful, creating or sustaining at least one million jobs. Equally important, these programs leveraged private investment at the rate of $3 of private capital for every $1 dollar of government support.
“The successes of the Recovery Act in growing a green economy demand that we double down on these investments, not back away from them,” said Foster. “We cannot afford to ignore proven job-creating green investments. Our energy plan renews our commitment to clean energy by increasing production and deploying more of our resources to these technologies. Without these investments, we cannot fully realize our economic potential.”
The leaders pointed to the comeback of the auto industry and the emergence of the wind industry to see the difference a greener economy is making. Manufacturing the most fuel-efficient fleet of American vehicles in a generation is employing more workers across the country every day. The wind industry has gained a foothold in the economy, employing 75,000 workers today in jobs manufacturing, constructing and designing the wind turbines that will power tomorrow. With continued investments, the industry can grow to support 500,000 jobs by 2030.
“There’s no denying that jobs like mine exist,” said Nickelson. “The fact is that thousands of workers, including myself, are earning a paycheck today in jobs that are building a better, cleaner economy. It’s time for candidates to stop politicizing my job and start supporting policies and investments that have worked and will continue to do so.”
“In poll after poll, Americans say they want more clean energy. Why? Because clean, renewable energy helps our economy, our environment, our health and our future,” said Bryk. “The rhetoric and misinformation needs to end, and the work of building on the clean energy foundation we’ve started needs to continue.”
Looking ahead to Tuesday evening’s debate, call participants expressed expectations for a more constructive discussion on energy issues.