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BlueGreen Alliance Bus Tour Comes to West Michigan

August 25, 2010

Yesterday, the BlueGreen Alliance bus Tour stopped off in West Michigan on a 17 state road trip promoting clean energy and green jobs. The Press Conference was held in the parking lot of the Teamsters Local 406, where local people heard from several labor activists from around the country who were on the tour.

The main focus of those who spoke yesterday was to get Michigan residents to pressure Senator’s Stabenow and Levin to pass the Senate version of the Clean Energy Bill. Representatives from the construction workers union, the SEIU, and the steelworkers union spoke about the importance of creating green jobs and getting the Senate to pass this bill.

Several of these workers have been laid off in the past year and they stressed that if the Senate were to pas this bill it would not only help protect the environment, it would create needed jobs. According to the Press release sent out by the BlueGreen Alliance, the passage of the Senate bill would create up to as many as 42,000 green jobs in Michigan alone.

However, there has been much criticism, particularly from some in the environmental community that the House bill that has passed and the Senate version that is still to be decided still allows for too much pollution and might even weaken existing environmental protections.

In May, Friends of the Earth released a statement that read in part, “The bill described in these summaries would scrap crucial tools for solving the climate crisis while locking in billions in polluter payouts. It would be a step backward in the fight against climate disruption-great for polluters, but bad for people and the planet.” Last month in the Guardian it was reported that the Senate bill would not cap the amount of carbon emissions and that large polluters will not be held accountable.

Mark Mullholand, a worker from Ohio felt that the legislation would at least open the door to making some improvements and that it was better than doing nothing. After the press conference I interviewed Mark who has been on the tour from the very beginning.

It is worth noting that no local environmental groups were present at this event and the only other news media that attended was the Grand Valley Labor News and Fox 17, which didn’t send a reporter.

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