As we all know, this is an historic moment for our country, and our community. Faced with enormous challenges here in Los Angeles and across the globe, we watched yesterday as Barack Obama promised to lead us through these challenges in a new direction.
But he can’t do it alone. We all need to contribute. First and foremost, we each need to ask ourselves what we can do solve two of the greatest problems before us: the economic and the environmental crisis.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is committed to taking these issues head on. As experts in the production, installation and distribution of energy across America we are dedicated to ensuring our country and our community is powered by renewable energy. As President Obama stated in his speech, investing in clean technology creates much needed jobs now, while combatting global warming – a threat so dangerous we can no longer wait to address it.
That is why the IBEW is supporting Measure B, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s plan to create thousands of good paying jobs by requiring the LA Department of Water and Power (LADWP) install, operate and maintain 400 megawatts of solar power by 2014. When fully implemented, this plan will eliminate 400,000 tons of greenhouse gases from our air each year.
Measure B goes before voters in LA March 3rd. The Coalition for Clean Air, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, Sierra Club, the American Lung Association and the LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, are among dozens of environmental, labor and health organizations who support the measure. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass is also backing the plan.
Today, the LADWP produces more than 75 percent of its power from dirty fossil fuels. It is no wonder we have the worst air pollution in America, killing more people in our city each year than car crashes. The solution is here: solar power is clean, available, cost effective and ready for installation now.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors released a new report today projecting that 164,000 more jobs will be lost in the L.A. area between now and the end of the year, the second-highest job loss in the nation after New York. Investment in green infrastructure and aggressive incentives for solar manufacturers to locate in LA, both of which are included in Measure B, will stimulate our economy and create the jobs we need to put people back to work. In addition, the Measure calls for the training and retraining of workers to gain the skills necessary to build a career in LA’s new green economy.
Obama’s plans for the nation are very similar. He aims to create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze efforts to build a clean energy future and fight global warming. His plan also ensures 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
To learn more about Measure B and join the coalition to address LA’s economic and environmental challenges, visit www.greenenergygoodjobsla.com.
— Marvin Kropke and Brian D’Arcy, Business Managers of IBEW 11 and 18