Clean Energy Jobs Tour Ends with Pittsburgh Rally

The Alliance for Climate Protection's Repower America campaign, the United Steelworkers and the Blue Green Alliance concluded their Made in America Clean Energy Jobs Tour with a rally in Pittsburgh.

September 23, 2009

Event rallies support for American clean energy jobs, joined by Governor Rendell

Pittsburgh, PA – The Alliance for Climate Protection’s Repower America campaign, the United Steelworkers and the BlueGreen Alliance concluded their Made in America Clean Energy Jobs Tour with a rally in Pittsburgh today. The Jobs Tour, a month-long campaign with more than 50 events in 22 states, highlighted how the transition to a clean energy economy will create jobs while reducing harmful carbon pollution and breaking our dependence on foreign oil.

Speakers included Former Vice President Al Gore (via video), Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and other elected officials, as well as leaders from the labor, business, faith, sportsmen and environmental communities.

Musical entertainment included Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers, the Pittsburgh Gospel Choir and Grammy-award winning artist Kathy Mattea.

According to the Center for American Progress, transitioning to a clean energy economy will create more than 70,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. A recent report by the BlueGreen Alliance showed that Pennsylvania stands to gain more than 42,000 manufacturing jobs in wind, solar, geothermal and biomass by instituting a renewable electricity standard.

Remarks Excerpts (as prepared)

Former Vice President Al Gore (via video): “Our Made in America Clean Energy Jobs Tour was a critical effort to show the power and the benefits of a transition to a truly clean energy economy. It’s not secret our economic crisis and the climate crisis are linked, and so are their solutions. This is a critical moment in our nation’s history as we call upon America’s greatest asset – the American worker – to rise to one of the greatest challenges we’ve ever faced. This is a moment where America cannot follow, instead we must lead.  The time for action is now.”

Governor Edward G. Rendell:  “Here in Pennsylvania, we’ve been able to put our people to work in good, green collar jobs. We’ve been tremendously successful in attracting major new energy and technology companies to our state that, today, are employing thousands of workers in wind, solar and other high-growth industries. Not only is this work the right thing to do to strengthen our economy, it’s creating a more secure future for our children, our nation and the planet.”

Dan Onorato, Allegheny County Executive:  “Southwestern Pennsylvania is a leader in sustainable development, environmental stewardship and green technology, and we’ve become a model for the creation of clean energy jobs, helping our region to weather the economic storm.  Organized labor has helped to create and sustain our middle class, and now, labor is taking up the mantle of green jobs to expand employment opportunities and benefit the environment. Here in Allegheny County, we have worked closely with labor leaders to identify new green jobs and train workers to fill those positions. We will continue to strengthen our partnership to position our region for ongoing success in the green economy.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl: “In many ways, it’s very fitting to have this final event here in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s businesses and laborers helped to build this nation with our coal and steel industries.  Today, we have the opportunity to lead the nation again in clean energy and green technologies.” 

State Senator Jim Ferlo: “Pittsburgh is a world-class and working-class city. We are hosting the Rally for Clean Energy Jobs because this issue represents the future for justice and livelihood in the city of Pittsburgh. We need them and the planet needs them.”

Anna Burger, Chair, Change to Win: “American working people are the key to building the new, green economy.  By building a clean energy economy here in the United States, we can create good jobs for working people in occupations that already exist today.”

David Foster, Executive Director, BlueGreen Alliance: “We can create millions of jobs building the clean energy economy – whether it’s manufacturing the parts for windmills, building hybrid car batteries or weatherizing homes to make them more efficient.  By transitioning to a clean energy economy, we can revitalize America’s manufacturing sector and boost our economy for the long run – by creating jobs here at home.”

Maggie Fox, President and CEO, The Alliance for Climate Protection: “American workers and their families need jobs, and a clean energy economy is a sure-fire way to put our country back to work and on a path toward long-term economic prosperity.”

Lee Geisse, USW Member and clean energy worker from Canton, Ohio: “We have seen the tremendous job losses in our state and our country. But we have the opportunity to create millions of jobs, more than 70,000 right here in Pennsylvania alone, by investing in a clean energy economy. And, at the same time, we can confront climate change and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers: “Building a clean energy economy can revitalize American manufacturing, but only if we commit to using domestically produced components. In confronting the challenges of recession, global warming and energy independence, we have an opportunity to transform our economy and create good jobs that truly are ‘Made in America.'”

Alec Loorz, Founder, Kids vs Global Warming and Youth Leader, Alliance for Climate Education: “People tell me all the time, ‘it’s great to have you kids involved. You are the future.’ We are the future. But we are more than that. We’re here now. We are the present, and our voices and actions really do make a difference. We are committed to a revolution that will redefine our country once again…to become leaders in creating a new, clean economy, a new way of life that does not harm future generations.”

Ken Nagel, Navy Veteran & IBEW Worker: “Reducing our reliance on foreign oil will keep our energy dollars here in the U.S., money that we can invest in American businesses and jobs. This will allow us to restore America’s manufacturing base and rebuild a sustainable leading global economy.”

Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club: “Confronting our energy, economic and climate change challenges leads to a very common-sense solution-creating clean energy jobs now.”

Troy Galloway, a USW member who makes wind turbines in Pennsylvania: “I worked in the steel industry for 15 years before I was laid off. When Gamesa opened up shop in this state, bringing with it 1,000 jobs, I was hired because I had the requisite experience already. Clean energy jobs are already here, and with them, we have the opportunity to create good jobs and improve the environment for the next generation.”

Gloria Reuben, Actor/Activist: “It’s time to take action and work together to create new industries right here in the United States. New industry means new, clean energy jobs for hundreds of thousands of Americans. Repowering America means reinvesting in America; in the innovation, entrepreneurship, and hard work that has always been the hallmark of our economy.”

Larry Schweiger, President, National Wildlife Federation: “Pittsburgh is proof that you can help the economy and the environment at the same time. The Steel City has reinvented itself through green tech and clean tech, and points the way towards a low carbon future.”

Richard L. Trumka, President, AFL-CIO:  “As leaders from across the world gather here in Pittsburgh this week, we are here to demonstrate the support for bold action to build a clean energy economy in the United States. The clock is ticking-on economic recovery and on addressing global warming. The keys to rebuilding our economy are within our grasp, now we have to take action to make it happen.”

Rev. Lennox Yearwood, President and CEO, Hip Hop Caucus: “As humanity we have the opportunity to fight poverty and pollution at the same time through the creation of a clean-energy economy. We must rise to the occasion immediately. It is imperative that communities of color be at the table as we build this 21st century economy, because you are either at the table, or you are on the menu, there is no in between.”

For more information about the Clean Energy Jobs Tour, visit Repower America http://www.repoweramerica.org/tour or the Blue Green Alliance at www.bluegreenalliance.org.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Julia Payne, Alice McKeon, Repower America, (202) 628-1999, press@climateprotect.org
Kelly Schwinghammer, BlueGreen Alliance, (612) 466-4483, kellys@bluegreenalliance.org
Benjamin Freed, Repower Pennsylvania, (917) 903-3031, benjamin.freed@climateprotect.org
Wayne Ranick, United Steelworkers, (412) 562-2444, wranick@usw.org

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The Made in America Jobs Tour is supported by the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, a 501 c(3) organization dedicated to educating the public about the job-creating potential of global warming solutions, including the expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency across the United States.