By Leigh DeNoon
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Mercury, carbon and soot. These toxic pollutants harm the environment, ecosystems and human health. But as the push continues to reduce these pollutants, the view of many in traditional energy industries is that it will kill jobs that the big energy companies provide. Joe Mendelsen, Climate & Energy program policy director for the National Wildlife Federation, sees it differently. He says the U.S. can actually have it both ways - if Congress will allow it. He says policies that help transition the nation to clean energy are actually creating jobs.”
Just recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics put out a study showing that more than 3.1 million new jobs have been created through our ‘environmental economy,’ if you will - and it’s growing.”
Spokesmen for some industries have criticized the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for being too strict, costing companies money to install pollution controls and forcing them to cut employees. However, Mendelsen says, the labor study is proof that job creation and clean air can happen in tandem, with the important benefit of improving health.
Mendelsen points to the many types of American jobs related to clean energy that can’t be outsourced - for instance, those associated with wind turbines. He explains it isn’t just about manufacturing the turbines, adding that just like the car industry, a vast supply chain is necessary to provide the parts that come together to make a turbine.”
Wind energy facilities don’t emit carbon pollution and are good for our climate. Steel needs to be made to go into those turbines; tool-and-die manufacturers in other facilities are making the parts that go into them; people on the ground are doing the construction jobs.”
According to state officials, Indiana currently has 800 wind turbines producing more than 1,300 megawatts of electricity for several power companies, and a dozen more wind farms are in the planning stages.
Wind energy information is available from the Indiana Dept. of Energy Development at www.in.gov.
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