COLUMBUS, Oh. – In a broad show of support for President Obama’s comprehensive plan to address climate change, labor, environment and community leaders came together today for a roundtable discussion in Columbus. In front of a crowd of union members, environmentalists, and other residents, leaders discussed how increasing energy efficiency and increasing the resilience of our nation’s infrastructure — as proposed by the president — can help reduce emissions and protect our communities from climate change’s worst effects while creating American jobs.
The event was hosted by United Steelworkers and the BlueGreen Alliance and featured David McCall, Director, United Steelworkers, District 1; Mike Langford, National President, Utility Workers Union of America; Larry Schweiger, President & CEO, National Wildlife Federation; Susan Hedman, U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator; David Pritchard, Former Region Governor, American Society of Civil Engineers; and David Foster, Executive Director, BlueGreen Alliance.
“From walleye to bobwhite quail, climate change is already stressing the species Ohio sportsmen depend on,” said Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Now is the time to harness America’s spirit of ingenuity and leadership to confront this climate crisis and sustain our conservation legacy for future generations.”
The roundtable discussion is another example of the groundswell of support behind President Obama’s plan for action on climate change, and comes on the heels of a 27-state bus tour led by community groups who support the plan. The president’s plan includes the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution on power plants, as well as plans to prepare our infrastructure for the effects of climate change, invest in clean energy, and promote energy efficiency.
“America’s workers are a key stakeholder in implementing this plan,” said David McCall, Director, United Steelworkers, District 1. “We are working to ensure that the president’s plan achieves its goal of reducing our nation’s greenhouse gases from key sources, upgrading our nation’s infrastructure, expanding clean energy technologies and creating and maintaining jobs.”
Last year, Hurricane Sandy exposed vulnerabilities in the infrastructure systems that Americans depend on —including our roads, bridges, energy, communications and transit systems. Since then, severe weather across the country has continued to demonstrate an urgent need to better prepare communities for climate change.
“President Obama has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to find common sense solutions to the climate change problem — solutions that rely on American-made clean energy resources and that create jobs and economic opportunity,” said U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman.
“We’ve seen the impacts of climate change through more severe and more frequent storms, droughts and other weather events that lead to dangerous conditions like flooding and massive infrastructure damage,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “The good news of all of this is that Americans are ready to take action.”
Nearly two-thirds of voters (65 percent) support “the President taking significant steps to address climate change now,” according to a poll for the League of Conservation Voters.
“A changing climate is a threat to our health, our communities, our economy and our own personal safety,” said David Pritchard, Former Region Governor, American Society of Civil Engineers. “We cannot afford to put off infrastructure investments. Addressing the backlog of repairs and upgrades needed by our infrastructure will make our communities safer, our systems more efficient and create jobs.”