Labor Unions, Environmentalists Launch Indiana BlueGreen Alliance

Labor and environmental leaders came together in Indianapolis to launch the Indiana BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to building a clean energy economy in Indiana.

March 10, 2009

Indiana-Based Coalition Wants to Put People Back to Work with Clean Energy

INDIANAPOLIS (March 10, 2009) As legislators meet in Indianapolis, labor and environmental leaders came together today in the state’s capital to launch the Indiana BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to building a clean energy economy in Indiana that creates good jobs and helps to protect the environment.

“It’s time we reject the false choice between good jobs and a clean, safe environment,” said United Steelworkers District 7 Director Jim Robinson. “Working people want jobs, but we also want our kids to grow up in a clean, healthy environment, and we know that the solutions to global warming provide an opportunity to create good, middle-class jobs in Indiana. By coming together, we can build a green economy that protects the environment and works for working people.”

“The potential of a green economy provides solutions to two of our most pressing problems – global warming and unemployment,” said Tom Anderson, Director of Save the Dunes Council. “Building a clean energy economy will not only create jobs, it will help us to protect the environment. This coalition is built on the knowledge that we share the same concerns about the economy and the environment and this solution is key to our future.”

The “blue-green” coalition will advocate investments in the green economy, including a state renewable energy standard and updating residential energy codes to make buildings more efficient. The Indiana Blue Green Alliance brings together District 7 of the United Steelworkers, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, Save the Dunes Council, Communication Workers of America District 4, Indiana Laborers’ District Council, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and SEIU Indiana/Illinois State Council.

“The state of Indiana is well-positioned to benefit from investments in the green economy with a huge manufacturing base and the skilled workforce required to build wind farms, solar panels and the components of safe, clean energy,” said David Maidenberg, Indianapolis Director for the Sierra Club. “But our state is the only one in the Upper Midwest without a renewable energy standard, and as a result, we are missing a huge opportunity to create good, green jobs.”

“Building trades workers and our skills are key to building a green economy, particularly when it comes to retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient,” said Brian Short, Organizer  for the Indiana Laborers’ District Council said. “Updating our residential energy code to make buildings more efficient will create energy savings and help to put people back to work in Indiana.”

“The major crises we face – our economy, energy and climate change – are inter-related, and we can only solve them if we address them together,” said Tina Noel, Indiana spokesperson for the NRDC.  “We need to act now to bring investments in clean energy to our state, which will boost job growth, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and stave off the worst effects of global warming.”

The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations to expand the number and quality of jobs in the new, green economy. With the United Steelworkers, Sierra Club, Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Laborers’ International Union of North America and Service Employees International Union, the BlueGreen Alliance unites more than 6 million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy.

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