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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2009
CONTACT: Josh Dorner, 202.675.2384

Promise of Clean Energy Economy on Display in President’s Earth Trip to Iowa

Washington, D.C--President Obama will celebrate Earth Day tomorrow with a trip to Newton, Iowa where he will meet with workers at Trinity Structural Towers, a manufacturing company that makes towers for wind turbines.  The facility is located in a factory that was previously shuttered when Maytag closed its corporate headquarters and factory after being purchased by another company, throwing more than a thousand people out of work and devastating the local economy.  Now many of those workers have been put back to work building the clean energy economy.

Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director

"The President has picked an excellent location to mark the 39th Earth Day. The clean energy jobs at Trinity Structural Towers in Newton, Iowa represent the best path for American economic recovery and show the true promise of the clean energy economy. A once-dead facility has now been sparked back to life creating components for wind power that will not only provide much-needed jobs, but the clean energy we need to save the planet.

"Workers who spent the last century building one American icon, Maytag, are now back to work building the icon of the 21st century: the wind turbine. One turbine at a time, these workers are showing that harnessing American ingenuity can revitalize our economy, slash our dependence on fossil fuels, and create new clean energy jobs in places where many of the old economy jobs simply don’t exist anymore and aren't coming back. The workers at Trinity join tens of thousands of other workers who are already living the promise of the clean energy economy. Laid off steelworkers have been put back to work by Gamesa in Pennsylvania and union workers laid off when Republic Windows shuttered its Chicagoland factory are now back to work building high-efficiency windows at the same factory (now being operated by Serious Materials in a deal the Sierra Club helped broker). (For more information: http://tinyurl.com/ctorts)

"This Earth Day, America is at a crossroads. Facing a cooling economy and a warming world, President Obama has pointed us in the right direction with an economic recovery bill and a budget that put us on the path to clean energy economy. We can’t afford to lose momentum. We must stay the course and rebuild our economy with millions of good clean energy jobs and an economy that works for everyone while weaning the nation from oil, coal, and the other dirty fuels that are causing global warming.

"President Obama sees the Big Picture—by shifting to clean energy, and cracking down on the corporations that pollute the water we drink and the air we breathe, we will create economic prosperity, and reduce our dependence on oil and coal, while tackling global warming at the same time.

"Polluters are not going down without a fight. They are trying hard to preserve the failed status quo instead of letting America become a global leader in clean energy industry. On Earth Day, and every day, we must vow to break from business as usual and bring about the kind of changes we need to complete the Big Picture--fight global warming and reap the full benefits of a new energy economy."

Facts about Clean Energy, Wind and Iowa:

According to the American Wind Energy Association [http://www.awea.org/pubs/documents/Outlook_2009.pdf]:

  • For the first time, last year the wind industry employed more people (85,000) than the coal mining (81,000)
  • Last year Iowa passed California to be the #2 wind generator
  • Iowa also ranks #2 in percentage of electricity from wind (7.1%).
  • Nationwide more than 70 wind manufacturing facilities were opened, expanded or announced in the past two years (2007-2008), including over 55 in 2008 alone. 5 of these were in Iowa.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a new analysis today citing the benefits of a clean energy jobs plan like that proposed by President Obama and currently being debated in Congress:

  • Cutting emissions 56 percent below 2005 levels means the average U.S. household would enjoy a net savings of $900 on its energy bills, including $580 on transportation (fuel, vehicle and driving) costs and $320 on electricity, natural gas and heating oil, after investing in home efficiency improvements.
  • Businesses collectively would realize net energy bill savings of $130 billion.
  • Enacting a 25 percent by 2025 Renewable Electricity Standard, as President Obama has called for, would create 297,000 jobs.
  • It would also result in $263.4 billion in new capital investment; $13.5 billion in income to farmers, ranchers, and rural landowners; and $11.5 billion in new local tax revenues.
  • Finally, it would mean $64.3 billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills by 2025 (growing to $95.5 billion by 2030)

[UCS Data: http://tinyurl.com/cgga67 and http://tinyurl.com/c6kodz]

More information about jobs created by investment in clean energy here at: http://www.sierraclub.org/greenjobs/

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