WASHINGTON - November 2 - United Steelworkers President Leo W. Gerard and Sierra Club Executive Director President Carl Pope today joined with Lee Fisher, Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, in calling for a national commitment to develop renewable sources of energy to create thousands of new jobs, fight global warming, and help end our dangerous dependence on oil.
Such a national program could create an estimated 22,922 jobs in Ohio alone, according to a new Renewable Energy Policy Report recently released by the Apollo Alliance. Lee Fisher said he and Congressman Ted Strickland would also pursue renewable energy policies on the state level if they are elected governor and lieutenant governor.
"This report demonstrates that a strong commitment is needed at the federal and state level. Incentives for renewable energy investments can prompt a new surge of manufacturing growth in Ohio while creating clean new sources of energy," said Fisher, candidate for Lt. Governor and former Ohio Attorney General. "Our Turnaround Ohio plan does just that at the state level by establishing a $250 million tax-free bond plan to invest in alternative and renewable energy research, innovation and production."
A national renewable energy program emphasizing wind, solar, geothermal and biomass technologies can create a demand for billions of dollars worth of manufactured components, the report concluded.
Such demand could create new markets for domestic firms in Ohio and other industrial states where equipment similar to the components required for renewable power generation are already manufactured.
"Right now we have a historic opportunity to forge a new direction," said Gerard. "Investments in environmentally friendly alternative energy programs at the state level, supported by federal initiatives, can create a new surge of quality job growth while significantly reducing our dependence on foreign oil."
The United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club are working together to battle for energy independence and to highlight common issues including global warming and the loss of manufacturing jobs to countries with lower environmental and labor standards.
"Business as usual is no longer an option. We donít have the luxury of waiting any longer to fight global warming; itís time to dump the dirty technologies of yesterday and embrace the clean energy solutions that will fuel the economy of tomorrow," said Pope. "We have the technology and the know-how to create affordable energy solutions. Itís time for our leaders to show the political will."
Ohio is particularly well positioned to benefit from a national program, the report shows. It has a strong manufacturing base including more than 2,000 firms that already operate in industries related to the manufacture of components used in wind, solar, geothermal and biomass renewable energy development.
If the nation decided to develop 74,000 megawatts of renewable energy, for example, the report concluded that Ohio could receive nearly 23,000 jobs at 2,156 firms and $3.6 billion worth of investment.
Ohio is ranked fourth among the states in terms of potential job gains behind California, Texas and Illinois and fifth for the amount of potential financial investment.