Broadband Plan Moves U.S. Further Down Path to a Clean Energy Economy

The BlueGreen Alliance said the National Broadband Plan is a bold step forward in the effort to establish the United States as a global leader in the clean energy economy.

March 16, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 16, 2010) The BlueGreen Alliance today commended the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Chairman Genachowski after the release of its National Broadband Plan. Required under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the plan sets forth a national roadmap for expanding broadband capacity and creating jobs building the clean energy economy.

“The National Broadband Plan released today is a bold step forward in the effort to establish the United States as a global leader in the clean energy economy,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “This plan’s integration of broadband into a smart grid, and its focus on improving the reliability and resiliency of the broadband network, is critical to creating and maintaining good jobs building the clean energy economy in every community across America.”

The plan includes recommendations that will “modernize the electric grid with broadband, making it more reliable and efficient” and “unleash energy innovation in homes and buildings by making energy data readily accessible to consumers.” Meanwhile, the Brookings Institution recently found that capital investment in broadband over the next few years could create more than 500,000 jobs.

“Expanding our nation’s broadband infrastructure, with an emphasis on modernizing the electric grid with broadband and making energy data readily accessible to consumers, is a key ingredient to increasing energy efficiency and reducing our economy’s environmental impact,” said Allison Chin, President of the Sierra Club. “Today’s National Broadband Plan sets us further down the path to creating a stronger economy and a cleaner environment.”

“The call to modernize the electric grid with broadband is a big step towards making transmission more efficient, and coupled with the implementation of smart grid technology, will cut energy costs in homes and businesses by making basic energy data available to all,” said Larry Cohen, President of the Communications Workers of America.

The Progressive States Network, Sierra Club, CWA and Blue Green Alliance recently released a report, Networking the Green Economy, which illustrates how smart buildings, smart grids, telehealth, teleconferencing, digital education – all of which are part of a highly-networked economy – will reduce carbon dioxide emissions, conserve energy resources, and promote and retain good, green jobs.

“The National Broadband Plan is an opportunity to build capacity in our states and communities to strengthen this critical infrastructure,” Nathan Newman, Executive Director of the Progressive States Network. “Our report illustrates the positive impact that broadband and smart grid expansion will have for both people and the environment.”

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About the BlueGreen Alliance

The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. Launched by the Sierra Club and United Steelworkers in 2006, the BlueGreen Alliance includes the Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Service Employees International Union, Laborers’ International Union of North America, Utility Workers Union of America, American Federation of Teachers, Amalgamated Transit Union, and the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, uniting more than eight and a half million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy.

About Progressive States Network

The Progressive States Network was founded in 2005 to drive public policy debates and change the political landscape in the United States by focusing on attainable, progressive state action. The Progressive States Net­work advances this agenda by providing coordinated research and strategic advocacy tools to forward-thinking state policymakers, legislative staff, and non-profit organizations. We function as a meeting space for progres­sive legislators, activists, and citizens, and serve as a hotbed of information exchange. We track legislation in all 50 states, helping to spark change across the country. We make it easier for people to learn more about how to get good ideas passed into law – and take power into their own hands.

About CWA

CWA is America’s largest communications and media union, representing more than 700,000 men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Higher speeds and accessibility are among the goals CWA has been pursuing through its “Speed Matters” program, a four-year campaign to advance the build out of true high-speed broadband and provide universal access to Americans. CWA members work in both the private and public sectors; including workers who are building the high speed broadband networks we need for a 21st century economy. CWA members are employed in telecommunications, media, airlines, public service and manufacturing.

About Sierra Club

The Sierra Club’s members and supporters are 1.3 million of your friends and neighbors. Inspired by nature, we work to protect our communities and the planet. Founded by John Muir in California in 1892, the Sierra Club is America’s oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.