Blue-green alliance in Indiana 

A coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations joined forces last week to launch a new partnership they say will benefit the economy and environment.

Announcing the formation of the Indiana Blue Green Alliance, a coalition of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to building a clean energy economy in Indiana that creates good jobs and helps to protect the environment, supporters emphasized the win-win of investing in green jobs here in Indiana.

"It's time we reject the false choice between good jobs and a clean, safe environment," United Steelworkers District 7 Director Jim Robinson said. "Working people want jobs, but we also want our kids to grow up in a clean, healthy environment, and we know that the solutions to global warming provide an opportunity to create good, middle-class jobs in Indiana. By coming together, we can build a green economy that protects the environment and works for working people."

"The potential of a green economy provides solutions to two of our most pressing problems: global warming and unemployment," Tom Anderson, director of Save the Dunes Council, said. "Building a clean energy economy will not only create jobs, it will help us to protect the environment. This coalition is built on the knowledge that we share the same concerns about the economy and the environment and this solution is key to our future."

The main purpose of the coalition between environmentalists and labor groups is to advocate investments in the green economy, including a state renewable energy standard and updating residential energy codes to make buildings more efficient.

"The state of Indiana is well-positioned to benefit from investments in the green economy with a huge manufacturing base and the skilled workforce required to build wind farms, solar panels and the components of safe, clean energy," said David Maidenberg, Indianapolis director for the Sierra Club. "But our state is the only one in the Upper Midwest without a renewable energy standard, and as a result, we are missing a huge opportunity to create good, green jobs."

"Building trades workers and our skills are key to building a green economy, particularly when it comes to retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient," Brian Short, organizer for the Indiana Laborers' District Council, said. "Updating our residential energy code to make buildings more efficient will create energy savings and help to put people back to work in Indiana."

"The major crises we face - our economy, energy and climate change - are inter-related, and we can only solve them if we address them together," said Tina Noel, an Indiana spokesperson for the NRDC. "We need to act now to bring investments in clean energy to our state, which will boost job growth, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and stave off the worst effects of global warming."

Participating groups in the Indiana Blue Green Alliance thus far includes District 7 of the United Steelworkers, Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, Save the Dunes Council, Communication Workers of America District 4, Indiana Laborers' District Council, Natural Resources Defense Council and SEIU Indiana/Illinois State Council.

Nationally, the Blue Green Alliance is a partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations to expand the number and quality of jobs in the new, green economy, including the United Steelworkers, Sierra Club, Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council, Laborers' International Union of North America and Service Employees International Union. According to organizers, the Blue Green Alliance unites more than 6 million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy. For more information, visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

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