WASHINGTON, July 21 – Calling the potential for new green jobs “a big deal” that could usher in an “energy revolution,” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) heard testimony today from governors and mayors at the first hearing of a green jobs subcommittee he chairs.
Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss was among witnesses testifying on local and state initiatives. Govs. Jon Corzine of New Jersey, Bill Ritter of Colorado, Chris Gregoire of Washington and John Hoeven of North Dakota also appeared before the panel.
“A great deal of exciting and innovative work has been taking place in states and cities throughout our country in breaking our dependence on fossil fuel and foreign oil, in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and, in the process, moving us to the creation of millions of good paying jobs in the years to come,” Sanders said in an opening statement.
Instead of spending $450 billion a year importing oil from abroad, Sanders talked about the “incredible impact” investing that much could have on our economy if it were invested in weatherization, energy efficiency, sustainable energies like wind, solar, geo-thermal, bio-mass and other technologies, public transportation and efficient automobiles.
“What we are talking about is an energy revolution – a revolution that leads us toward energy independence and the ability to avoid Mideast wars fought over oil; a revolution that not only has the potential to save the planet from the devastating damage being caused by global warming, but which will also, as a side-effect, clean up our air and water and make us a healthier nation. And, importantly, it is an investment that can create, over a period of time, millions of good-paying jobs.”
There are an estimated 770,000 green jobs in America today and the potential for millions more in the future “These are good-paying, domestic jobs that put people to work while turning the tide against global warming and pollution,” Sanders said. He cited studies showing the number of green jobs grew by 9.1 percent between 1998 and 2007, and during the same period other jobs grew by just 3.7 percent. By one estimate, a $150 billion annual investment by the public and private sectors would create 1.7 million net new jobs per year. “Green investments, green energy, green jobs: this is how we will replace our lost manufacturing jobs,” Sanders said.