Labor, Green Team Up On Cleantech Jobs

Many states have set renewable portfolio standards, which require utilities to obtain prescribed levels of their electricity from green sources by certain dates. But more than a third of the states haven’t – and now a coalition of labor and environmental groups is urging the federal government to jump in with national legislation as part of a larger set of initiatives that they say would boost manufacturing and employment.

The BlueGreen Alliance, in its three-point program “Prosperous and Healthy America,” wants the federal renewable portfolio standard paired with incentives for companies to build clean energy products in the United States, calling for a manufacturing tax credit along with financing programs such as the loan guarantees created in the IMPACT Act, legislation introduced nearly two years ago.

BlueGreen Alliance jobs made in America

image via BlueGreen Alliance

That’s Point 1 of the BlueGreen program. Point 2 focuses on transportation, seeking investment in electric and other alternative vehicles; passage of the Comprehensive Transportation Reauthorization Bill; and a nationwide version of the Port of Los Angeles’s Clean Truck Program, which has reduced emissions from trucks moving goods to and from the port by 70 percent.

The group’s final plank is in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. Environmental groups say this is vital to helping fight climate change, and some economists have argued stricter emissions standards will force massive investment that will create as many as 1.5 million jobs in the next five years.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.