MADISON - The Apollo Alliance, a national network of labor unions, environmental groups, business leaders and community leaders, praised Governor Doyle’s announcement of an Office of Energy Independence and urged strong standards be developed to ensure the effort create high quality jobs in the technologies of the future.
The Alliance believes investment in new energy technologies can be the next great engine of job growth and can help deal with America’s dependence on foreign oil.
In Wisconsin, local labor unions and environmental groups urged the funds be targeted to create high quality jobs. Specifically the groups called on the newly formed Office of Energy Independence to do the following:
• Target dollars to commercialized technologies ready to create good jobs today;
• Target significant investment towards renewable energy and work to attract a renewable energy manufacturing sector to the state. Specifically the groups suggested efforts to explore attracting a wind turbine manufacturer or maker of key turbine components;
• Insist that construction jobs for all projects pay Prevailing Wage and firms receiving investment provide family sustaining wages and benefits such as health care;
• Push development of cellulosic ethanol over corn-based ethanol due to its greater potential for reducing America’s foreign oil dependence;
• Promote job training efforts and assist the development of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in these new renewable energy sectors.
"With the Governor's leadership, Wisconsin can become a national leader in energy independence by developing clean energy technologies that combat global warming, support Wisconsin workers, and pump money into our economy rather than diverting it out of the state to pay for fossil fuels,” said Keith Reopelle, Program Director with Clean Wisconsin.
The groups pointed to a report the Apollo Alliance released last year pointing out that over 1200 Wisconsin firms currently manufacture components similar to those used in renewable energy systems. The report, “Component Manufacturing: Wisconsin’s Future in the Renewable Energy Industry” can be found at www.apolloalliance.org/wireport.cfm.
“New energy technologies can create the manufacturing and construction jobs Wisconsin needs,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, Secretary Treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “We want to make sure these state investments create high quality jobs and job training links to ensure we continue Wisconsin’s history of a strong and skilled workforce.”
“Governor Doyle’s latest announcement is another big step towards bringing new clean energy technologies to the state,” said Jennifer Giegrich at Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. “Targeting state investment to renewable energy and cellulosic ethanol, and guaranteeing the creation of good jobs could make Wisconsin a leader in the development of these technologies.”