Right-Wing Ups its Attacks on Clean Energy and Green Jobs; Here's How We Need to Respond

09/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Last week, the conservative Fox News talk-show host Glenn Beck chose the Apollo Alliance as the target for his ongoing rants against the Obama administration. In the attack, Apollo, part of a "vast left-wing conspiracy," was accused of orchestrating a "centrally planned, organized massive mobilization to reorder society and take control of energy."

Beck's tirade would have been amusing if it weren't part of a larger pattern of increasing right-wing attacks aimed at derailing America's transition to a clean energy, good jobs economy. President Obama's green jobs advisor (and former Apollo Board member), Van Jones, has become the subject of right-wing blog frenzy, and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has decided to take on cap and trade as her first post-gubernatorial mission. The right has also mercilessly targeted U.S. Reps. John Boccieri and Zachary Space, both Ohio Democrats, for fighting for provisions that were included in the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act that would boost domestic clean energy manufacturing and keep new green jobs in America.

So why all the right-wing hoopla? First, because putting our nation on the road to economic prosperity and climate stability is going to rock a few big ships. Yes, polluters are going to have to do business differently.

Second, because when we talk about green jobs, we are getting it right. The Apollo Alliance is calling for investment in the technological know-how, skilled workforce, and domestic manufacture of renewable energy systems and components that will make America a world-leader in the clean energy economy. We want to become energy independent and to create good jobs here at home. For some, that's a frightening proposition.

But for most Americans, this is the kind of challenge -- like that of putting a man on the moon -- that represents the best of who we are as a people -- a nation capable of coming together, committing itself to a common goal, and achieving it. Today we face economic and climate crises that we can solve in a uniquely American way.

This week, the Apollo Alliance, working with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), announced the names of more than 150 U.S. businesses and manufacturers who have joined our diverse and unlikely coalition of business, labor, environmental and community leaders to support investment in the domestic manufacture of clean energy technologies. These businesses include light-emitting diode (LED) companies in Michigan, solar installation and distribution companies in Indiana, and wind turbine manufacturers in Nevada, among many others. These firms are taking arguments that new energy and climate policies will stall economic progress and turning them on their heads!

Today, despite some notable success stories, over 70 percent of renewable energy systems and components used in the U.S. are manufactured overseas, placing Sen. Brown's bill front and center in the climate and energy debate. The legislation -- which the Apollo Alliance believes must be passed along with climate and energy policies that increase demand for clean technologies -- establishes a $30 billion revolving loan fund targeted to small and mid-sized manufacturers for retooling their factories to produce clean technologies and to make their operations more energy efficient. The bill also increases support for Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP's) that link smaller manufacturers to supply chains and markets for their goods.

This "Make it in America" legislation will create and retain more than a million jobs and help reverse declines in U.S. clean technology manufacture that began decades ago, as countries like Spain, Denmark, Germany, and most recently China, drew these jobs to their shores.

No, Glenn, it's not a vast left-wing conspiracy. We want to make clean energy as American as apple pie.