Environmental Protection

Renewable Energy Key to Green Job Campaign

The United Steelworkers, the Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council  has launched the Green Jobs for America campaign, which focuses on the ability of a serious commitment to clean, renewable energy to create more than 820,000 new green jobs nationwide.

"The time for a national push for renewable energy is now," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "What is really exciting about this campaign is the opportunity to create jobs, help fix our broken economy, and contribute to solving the biggest environmental challenge of our generation at the same time."

The Green Jobs for America campaign will demonstrate that investing in clean, renewable energy is the best way to fight global warming, bring energy costs under control, and create good-paying jobs.

The public education campaign, which will run through Sept. 15, will take place in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Oregon, and Nebraska.

Teams of organizers will undertake grassroots organizing activities, conduct a series of public events, release independent studies highlighting the potential for tens of thousands of new green jobs in each state and generate thousands of signatures on a petition calling for green jobs, clean energy solutions, and fair trade agreements.

An independent study conducted last year for the Blue Green Alliance by the Renewable Energy Policy Project found that these 12 states in particular stand to gain nearly 170,000 new manufacturing jobs in wind turbine manufacturing and almost 93,000 new manufacturing jobs making the parts for solar power equipment. The alliance is a partnership between the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club.

Blue Green Alliance Executive Director David Foster said that green jobs are not only those that produce a green product designed for a specific environmental purpose but also include existing jobs that involve a green process or a green purpose. He said that steelworkers building components for wind turbines are performing green jobs, as are chemical workers making products that are not harmful to humans or the environment.

"The green revolution isn't just creating new and different jobs," Foster said. "It's revitalizing and creating new investment in a lot of the jobs we already have."

"Technologies like wind and solar are just part of the story. This is also about job security. Making homes, offices, and factories more energy efficient not only saves money, it also represents a huge growth opportunity for the people who build our communities and keep them running," said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "We are talking about architects and engineers. Drywall and lighting contractors. Electricians and carpenters. Everything from construction to computing. And these are jobs that cannot be shipped offshore and pay lasting dividends to the American economy."

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