How To Save and Expand Green Jobs

As Printed in the Thursday August 23, 2012 edition of the Cambridge Chronicle.

By Marjorie Decker
and Drew Grande

Right now, special interests are waging a war on clean energy. As a result, American workers and families are suffering.

The war on clean energy could not be more apparent than in the struggle to renew the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy. The PTC helps support the more than 75,000 jobs in the wind industry, but if the tax credit is not renewed before the end of this year, as many as half of those jobs could be lost.

According to Sierra Club’s new report, Clean Energy Under Siege, the fossil fuel industry is waging an attack on renewable energy through financial contributions to elected officials, and through a coordinated misinformation campaign. The report shows that by using faux “think tanks,” phony intellectuals, and astroturf groups, the industry is seeking to shift public opinion and discredit renewable energy.

For example, organizations like the Manhattan Institute and the Heartland Institute that defend oil subsidies while attacking renewable energy have received upwards of $600,000 each since 1998 from the oil company Exxon. Meanwhile, big oil tycoons David and Charles Koch gave at least $85 million to 85 right-wing “think tanks” and advocacy groups over the past decade and a half. And Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity has come out against wind energy, even staging a state rally against offshore-wind in New Jersey.

Clearly, renewable energy’s strong growth and success has made it a target for competitive attacks from oil, coal, and gas interests. Already, states like Iowa and South Dakota generate 20 percent of their electricity from wind power, and the wind industry is on track to produce 20 percent of America’s electricity by 2030. Over 400 American manufacturing plants build wind components, keeping jobs close to home. In Massachusetts alone, the wind industry supports up to 500 total direct and indirect jobs.

Though clean energy is under siege, it remains one of our best solutions for moving beyond dirty fuel. Clean energy will ensure that Massachusetts kids are healthier, while creating much-needed jobs. America can be a leader in job creation through innovation and modernization of our energy sector, but only if decision-makers support the move to clean energy like wind.

Senator Scott Brown should not be swayed by the misinformation campaign being waged as part of the war on clean energy. He should protect Massachusetts jobs and public health by publicly and actively pushing for the renewal of the Production Tax Credit. It is time to stand up for American-made jobs.

Marjorie Decker is a candidate for State Representative in Cambridge’s 25th Middlesex District in the upcoming Democratic Primary to be held this year on Thursday, September 6.  She is also a Cambridge City Councilor.

Marjorie Decker
Cambridge City Councilor
(617) 349-4276

Drew Grande
(617) 302-6257
drew.grande@sierraclub.org