If there's anyone that knows anything about job losses and the decline of American manufacturing, it's Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Her long-suffering state of Michigan leads the nation with a whopping 15.2 percent unemployment rate (the rate in metro Detroit tops 17 percent). In August alone, Michigan lost nearly 43,000 jobs.
Granholm understands that comprehensive energy reform is essential in order to build the clean energy industries that will put America back in control of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet.
In an appearance yesterday on CNN's State of the Union, Granholm underscored that Congressional action on a comprehensive clean energy and climate plan is essential to revitalize both our economy and American manufacturing. Watch it:
JOHN KING: Governor, thanks for joining us. You are here for sad circumstances, in some way. Your state has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. So I wanted to put to you this question. The president returned home the other day and said with the national rate now up at 9.8 percent, he's asking his advisers, what more can we do to create jobs in this country?
Give him some advice. Should it be a second stimulus package with more government spending or should it be a mix of tax cuts aimed at manufacturing and job creation?
GOV. JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), MICHIGAN: I think he's got to do offense and defense, John. Frankly, I think if passing a health care bill which will help manufacturers, help job providers across the country because you'll have a shared responsibility for the costs that other businesses in other countries don't have. That will be one thing.
I do think that a climate change bill that will create manufacturing opportunities in the United States is critical. We can make things. We need to be the place, the nation and, frankly, Michigan needs to be and intends to be the state that leads the world in finding the solutions to energy independence and making those products.
Granholm is correct. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Political Economy Research Insitute estimate that the economic recovery package, coupled with the kind of investments that a clean energy and climate bill would unleash, could create more than 53,000 new jobs in Michigan alone. Similarly, a new study of the House-passed American Clean Energy & Security Act from the University of California-Berkely estimates that it could create up to 1.9 million new jobs nationwide. (Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer introduced a companion measure in the Senate last week.)
The Environmental Defense Fund's Less Carbon, More Jobs project also maps out the exact companies in Michigan (and about two dozen other states) that could benefit from comprehensive energy reform.
In fact, clean energy is already putting food on the table and paying the mortgage in communities across the state. The Pew Charitable Trusts found that clean energy jobs are already employing more than 22,000 people in Michigan. And underscoring how clean energy industries really do mark the future of Michigan's manufacturing economy, a shuttered Ford plant in Wixom, Michigan will soon reopen as a solar panel and advanced battery manufacturing facility that will employ some 4,000 workers.
Stay tuned for more as Senate action on the Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act heats up.
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