The remarks below were presented to the Portland to the Northwest Conference on Transmission and Grid Policy to Facilitate Green Energy Generation
I speak today on behalf of the 50,000 members of the Utility Workers Union of America and our President, Michael Langford. My comments today also reflect the views of the Blue Green Alliance, its 8 million members, and, indeed, the American labor movement.
It is beyond essential that the United States begin immediately to tap our vast renewable and sustainable energy resources--resources that only need public policy to spur investment to begin providing much of America's energy needs including the wind that never stops blowing across our Great Plains, the sun that shines all day, day after day in the great deserts of Arizona and other states.
Our earth's climate change crisis is real, and so is our unhealthy and economically disastrous addiction to oil.
Do we need any more evidence of the dangers of our oil addiction than the environmental and economic crisis in the gulf where not only is a vast ecosystem in danger of destruction but so is an entire regional economy and a culture and way of life that foes all the way back to the story of Evangeline and the Acadians escaping religious persecution down the Mississippi River from Canada to Louisiana?
Do we need any more evidence than the fact that China is spending $2 billion a month developing wind energy or Germany despite its cloud cover, is determined to lead the world in developing solar power?
And surely no intellectually serious person doesn't understand the priority of arresting and reversing climate change.
Finally, through the work of the Blue Green Alliance, the Steelworkers, Sierra Club, the Utility Workers, and others we have broken down the barriers that divided so many of us on this issue. We realize that we can no longer afford division.
Ultimately, our country must invest in green energy generation and a green energy economy to generate two million new high wage, family sustaining jobs, spur consumer demand, and help lift our country out of this Great Recession. This is an investment in our national security, our energy future, our workforce, and our economy. Such an investmentwould be the single most important, practical, organic way to create two million new high wage jobs and lift our economy.
As others will explain to do all this we must update and modernize our electrical grid and rebuild much of our transmission lines infrastructure. We must have a grid and transmission infrastructure that can balance new, green and renewable sources of electricity with our current sources. And we need transmission lines that can carry new green electricity from the plains of North Dakota to the cities of Minneapolis--St. Paul and Chicago and others, transmission lines that can carry new, green, renewable sources of energy from every place it is generated to every place it is needed.
Most urgently, we desperately need the two million new high wage green energy jobs and the economic spur that depend on new transmission lines infrastructure.
The sooner we get started on electrical infrastructure expansion and upgrading , the sooner we can create desperately needed 2 million good, family sustaining jobs--jobs that can help fill our jobs hole and help lift our country out of this worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.