BlueGreen Alliance Statement on President Obama’s Trip to the Gulf Coast

After President Obama visited the Gulf Coast on May 28, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster said the disaster should sound as a clarion call to Congress that it is time to embrace the clean energy economy.

May 28, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 28, 2010) As President Obama visits the Gulf Coast, and after his recent statements urging Congress to move forward with climate change legislation, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director David Foster:

“The Deepwater Horizon explosion, which claimed the lives of 11 people, is one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation’s history. This explosion and resulting spill will have significant and long-lasting impacts on workers and their families, our economy and our environment. The disaster should sound as a clarion call to Congress that it is time to embrace the clean energy economy – both to create good jobs across the country and to help us to protect our environment for generations to come.

“There is a global race for clean energy, and it is essential that we move forward with policies that will ensure that the United States is a global leader in clean energy and that will also enable us to diversify our energy supply, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce the impact on our environment.

“In addition, this oil spill and other recent workplace disasters have highlighted a serious and significant problem in the United States. It is imperative that the federal government does a better job of regulating workplaces and the production of all forms of energy. The loss of life during the explosion in the Gulf, in addition to refinery fires in Washington and Texas and coal mine accidents in West Virginia and Kentucky, underscore the need to pass the Protecting America’s Workers Act and the Safe Chemicals Act, which are aimed at strengthening penalties for violating workplace safety standards and further empowering the EPA to regulate toxic chemicals in the United States.

“We also want to echo President Obama’s call for Congress to pass climate change legislation this year. The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico makes plain the urgency for legislation, which will also create good jobs across this country. We urge the Senate to move forward immediately with a comprehensive clean energy and climate change bill that will achieve the goals of creating millions of good jobs, protecting the environment and making America more energy independent.

“We urge the Obama administration to take serious steps towards a clean energy future that will create jobs, protect worker safety and health, and preserve our environment. Together, the Protecting America’s Workers Act, the Safe Chemicals Act and a comprehensive clean energy and climate change bill move us towards that future.”

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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 energy economy. Launched by the United Steelworkers and Sierra Club in 2006, the BlueGreen Alliance now includes the Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Laborers’ International Union of North America, Service Employees International Union, Utility Workers Union of America, American Federation of Teachers, Amalgamated Transit Union, and the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association.