September 25, 2006

Michigan labour and environmental leaders challenge lawmakers to create jobs and end energy dependence

Lansing, Michigan – An alliance of labour and environmental leaders challenged Michigan legislators at a news conference last Thursday, urging them to embrace an innovative plan to help the state’s industries create thousands of good jobs in advanced automotive and new energy technologies. The group outlined specific proposals to invigorate the state’s economy, protect its environment and help the U.S. end its dependence on foreign oil.

Among the proposals were promotion and incentives for a new generation of advanced automotive and fuel-efficient technologies built in Michigan; further investment in homegrown energy sources, such as Michigan-grown biofuels; and establishment of a major energy efficiency effort, focused on reducing public and private building energy use and increasing industrial efficiency.

“In the past three years, Detroit automakers have invested more than $5 billion to bring tomorrow’s technology to Michigan auto plants today, preserving good jobs at good wages while also improving fuel economy,” says Charles Griffith, Auto Project Director for the Michigan-based Ecology Center. “But we can’t afford to rest on our laurels while other states and countries are doing their best to attract that business away from us.”

According to a report issued by the Washington, D.C.-based Apollo Alliance, the recently-introduced federal Clean Edge Act could create over 29,000 jobs in Michigan, putting that state among the top three states for new job growth. The act promotes increased use of biofuels and renewable energy, and requires more cars to be flex-fuel capable.

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