Union Members, Environmentalists Support Greenhouse Gas Standard at Hearings in Chicago, Washington, D.C.

Members of the BlueGreen Alliance today testified in favor of the limits to greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in March at hearings in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

May 24, 2012

Representatives of Labor-Environmental Alliance Stress Importance of Spurring Innovation and Job Growth in Clean Energy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 24, 2012) — Members of the BlueGreen Alliance — a national partnership of 12 of the largest labor unions and environmental organizations in the U.S. dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy — today testified in favor of the limits to greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in March at hearings in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Staff of the BlueGreen Alliance, as well as members of its labor partners, focused on the positive impacts this proposed rule will have on the U.S. both economically and environmentally. Last year, the BlueGreen Alliance released a position statement, Protecting Our Health and Safety, Building a Stronger Economy, addressing the need to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

“Building new power plants that are cleaner and more energy efficient will spur development and production of clean technologies in the United States — creating jobs and economic growth —and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which will address the worst impact of climate change and protect the public health of our families and communities,” said Bryan Grochowski, a member of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 517 in Michigan during his testimony in Chicago.

“While some try to say that there has to be a choice between having a clean environment or jobs, this is simply not the case,” said Matt Sinclair, a member of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 2201 in Richmond, Virginia at the Washington, D.C. hearing. “We have repeatedly seen how Americans can turn environmental challenges into new economic opportunities, and the proposed carbon emission standards for new power plants once again gives us this chance.”

So far, there have been over a million comments submitted to the EPA on the proposed rule from all over the country. The BlueGreen Alliance has been working in several states to garner comments of support for the proposed standard, both online and on the ground, contributing to that tally.

“This is a reasonable first step towards addressing climate change,” said Michael Williams, Senior Policy and Legislative Advocate for the BlueGreen Alliance, who also testified at the hearing in the nation’s capitol. “The standard does not affect existing power generation, but it will ensure that long-term investments in energy infrastructure reflect the reality of climate change, driving investment in clean energy, which we believe will make America more competitive, more energy independent, and will create many good jobs.”

The full testimony of all three is available here.

“To compete globally and to address the threat of climate change to our world, the U.S. must move forward to a cleaner, more efficient economy,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Moving to a cleaner, more efficient economy is the opportunity for our generation to build a strong economic and environmental foundation for future generations. While a comprehensive approach to climate change will yield the most jobs and environmental benefits, actions like this are important as a bridge between that approach and where we are now.”