Growing and strengthening west Michigan's middle class
GRAND RAPIDS July 6, 2016– The board of the Kent-Ionia Labor Council passed a resolution at their June meeting calling on state leaders to pass and renew legislation that would protect our environment and create green jobs for Michigan residents.
Sue Browne, regional manager with the BlueGreen Alliance, spoke to the executive board at the meeting about the importance of extending Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard— which are set to expire this year– as well as expanding statewide energy efficiency programs for improved community health and safety. On the job front, Browne stressed that while it’s important to talk about ways for our state to “go green,” it’s also important to make sure workers aren’t being displaced too drastically, and that workers can also be trained in new technologies.
The full content of the resolution can be read below:
WHEREAS renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives are an effective way to reduce carbon emissions and create family-supporting jobs right here in our state and the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) deserves credit for this success;
WHEREAS Michigan’s clean economy has successfully created good jobs, protected the environment and better prepared the state for meeting emissions targets;
WHEREAS state leaders will be required to formalize a State Implementation Plan (SIP) in order to meet emissions limits outlined in the Clean Power Plan;
WHEREAS renewable energy and energy efficiency policies are an effective way to reduce carbon emissions and today have helped contribute $5 billion in annual economic activity from Michigan’s clean energy sector and support 20,500 jobs;
WHEREAS energy efficiency programs saved consumers enough electricity to power 1.5 million homes for a year and enough gas to heat 40,000 homes for a year;
WHEREAS extending the RPS and incorporating these proven-successful policies into the State Implementation Plan are essential steps on the path toward securing Michigan’s energy future in the 21st century global economy;
WHEREAS the state’s 10 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard will expire at the end of the year unless lawmakers take action to extend it;
WHEREAS these are the same proven policies that will help us reduce carbon emissions under the Clean Power Plan;
WHEREAS efforts to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency are meaningful strategies to combat climate change in a way that also invests in both the economic and environmental needs of this and future generations;
WHEREAS implementing the Clean Power Plan must aid in the transition to the clean energy economy by requiring the resources, policies and priorities needed to retool our nation, create family-sustaining jobs, strengthen and grow low-carbon sectors—including energy efficiency and renewable energy—and ensure our communities are healthy and safe;
THEREFORE be it resolved that the Kent-Ionia Labor Council calls for members of the Michigan House of Representatives, Michigan Senate and Governor Rick Snyder to extend the Renewable Portfolio Standard and expand energy efficiency programs to improve community health and safety, build resilient infrastructure, and strengthen and create economic opportunities for all citizens.
Sue Browne is a Regional Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance’s Labor Climate Project in Michigan and Wisconsin, where she educates union members on the importance of developing clean energy in America, both for our jobs and our planet.
She is a lifelong activist and has been a United Steelworker for over 20 years. She came out of USW Local 5965 and was very active in her local union. Sue served as a steward, sat on the bargaining committee and held many other various positions. She went to work for the International Union as the Rapid Response coordinator for District 2, which lead her to the work she is doing today with the BlueGreen Alliance.
The BlueGreen Alliance unites America’s largest labor unions and its most influential environmental organizations to identify ways today’s environmental challenges can create and maintain quality jobs and build a stronger, fairer economy.