For Immediate Release
June, 29, 2006
Michigan Labor Unions and Environmentalists Unite For Energy Independence
Announce Formation of Michigan Apollo Alliance to Create Good Jobs, Freedom from Foreign Oil
Call on Policymakers to make Michigan a Leader in Clean Energy Technologies
With America’s Independence Day approaching, Michigan labor unions and environmental groups announced a new coalition aimed at ending America’s current dependency problem: its dependence on foreign oil.
The groups, organized as the Michigan Apollo Alliance, believe a major initiative to develop renewable energy, homegrown biofuels, and advanced automotive technologies is needed to end Michigan’s dependence on imported energy and to take advantage of Michigan’s skilled workforce and manufacturing leadership, while restoring Michigan’s natural heritage.
“We’re joining together because Michigan workers, citizens and consumers need a voice in creating smart policies which protect jobs and protect the environment at the same time,” said Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Building new alternative energy technologies requires the skills Michigan workers have gained as one of the nation’s leading manufacturing states.”
The groups focused on investing in Michigan’s workers and its economy. “Michigan spends $20 billion a year buying energy from outside the state and outside the country,” said Andy Buchsbaum, Director of the Great Lakes Office, National Wildlife Federation . “Our message is simple: Why not spend as much of that money as we can here in Michigan, putting Michigan workers on the job creating clean and efficient energy sources that protect our environment?”
To create jobs and enhance Michigan’s energy options, the Alliance released a letter to Michigan legislators and the Governor calling for a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) as part of the state’s 21st Century energy strategy. The groups commended the Governor’s recent Executive Directive calling for the Public Service Commission to develop a new state energy plan, including a new renewable energy standard, as well as efforts in the Legislature focused on energy policy. The Alliance argued such a standard should maximize job opportunities for Michigan manufacturing and installation businesses, and explore incentives for encouraging energy efficiency and renewable energy projects within the state.
"We can't afford to let other states get the jump on us when it comes to emerging technologies like wind turbines or solar power," said Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. "It's time Michigan declares our energy independence, and supports policies that will develop whole new technologies that can improve our environment -- and that also create good-paying jobs in manufacturing, construction, installation and other related areas."
The Michigan effort is part of the national Apollo Alliance, an effort inspired by President Kennedy’s original Apollo mission which seeks to end America’s dependence on foreign oil within a decade. Such an effort could spur the creation of 3 million new jobs. Many of these jobs would be in the manufacturing and construction sectors, traditionally high wage industries critical to Michigan’s economy.
Other parts of the Alliance’s agenda will include development of locally-grown biofuels and advanced automotive technologies. “Re-tooling our auto industry to produce cleaner, greener vehicles has to be part of any comprehensive energy and jobs strategy for Michigan,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. “The Apollo Alliance is breaking important new ground, by recognizing that workers are part of the environment, and advocating for high-skill, high-quality jobs as an essential part of a clean energy agenda.”
For More Information:
Bill Holland, Apollo Alliance, 608-265-9668
Ken Fletcher, Michigan AFL-CIO: 517-487-5966
Charles Griffith, Ecology Center: 734-663-2400
Zoe Lipman, National Wildlife Federation: 734-516-9616Brad Markell, United Auto Workers: 313-926-5256
For more information, and a copy of the letter: http://www.apolloalliance.org/michiganapollo.cfm
About the Apollo Alliance: The Apollo Alliance aims to end America’s dependence on foreign oil and create millions of high wage jobs. Inspired by President Kennedy’s original Apollo mission, it has been endorsed by 23 labor unions, the nation’s leading environmental groups and a growing number of business leaders. The Michigan Apollo Alliance is led by the state’s leading labor unions and environmental groups and is working on policies to create good jobs and energy independence.
Member organizations in Michigan include: Clean Water Action-Michigan, Ecology Center, Environment Michigan, Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, PIRGIM, International Association of Machinists, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers #17, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers #58, International Union of Operating Engineers, Michigan AFL-CIO, Michigan State Building Trades Council, United Auto Workers.
Charles Griffith, Auto Project Director
117 N. Division, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Ph: 734/663-2400, x116 /-2414 fx.