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Wendy Patton: Clean Energy Act will create job opportunities

"Wendy Patton: Clean Energy Act will create job opportunities"This is a moment to create jobs in America.""One after another, the federal representatives spoke about climate change
from the floor of the House, where they were engaged in an historic debate
over the "American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009."The debate over the past three months has clarified the issues raised in
their speeches. We heard that an increase in global warming portends strife
and suffering on an unimaginable scale. We heard that the Department of
Defense is deeply concerned about the potential for conflict and about our
dependence on foreign oil. And we heard the hope and hunger and fears about
jobs in a new clean energy economy.It's about clean energy, about energy independence, but most of all, it's
about jobs.Recently, several members of the Ohio congressional delegation, including
Representatives Space and Boccieri, took a major step toward capturing
clean energy markets for Ohio production. They inserted into the climate
proposal the language from Senator Brown's "Investments for Manufacturing
Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act of 2009. This would provide $30
billion in capital and technical assistance for firms retooling for clean
energy markets and energy efficiency. With this, the climate proposal
becomes a commitment to rebuild our manufacturing base.Ohio is a place that has borne the brunt of industrial transformation.Since 1970, Ohio's manufacturing jobs have vanished by the hundreds of
thousands. Shuttered plants litter the landscape. From Youngstown to
Dayton, highway exchanges that once took thousands to work are now roads to
nowhere. A climate change proposal, with provisions to help manufacturers
gain access to capital and measures to address fair trade, is Ohio's best
chance to turn this around.The manufacturing provision will provide $15 billion each year in 2010 and
2011 for small and medium sized manufacturers to retool and upgrade their
facilities. When was the last time the federal government invested in the
industrial base to create American jobs? Our elected representatives have
created an opportunity Ohio needs to seize.Policy Matters Ohio convenes the Ohio Apollo Alliance, which promotes the
Green Manufacturing Action Program, to ensure clean energy jobs come to
American firms. The key parts of the GreenMAP, like the amendmentSpace and Boccieri supported, includes the following elements:Direct federal funding for manufacturers to retool their facilities and
retrain their workers to develop, produce and commercialize clean energy
technologies.Domestic content and labor standards to ensure that firms
receiving federal support create jobs that pay a family-supporting wage
here at home.Increased funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership
to expand its role in strengthening the clean energy supply chain.Increased
funding for the Green Jobs Act to retrain workers for new green jobs.A
presidential task force on clean energy manufacturing to make production of
clean energy systems and components a national priority.In our 2005 report on job potential of renewable energy "Generating Energy,
Generating Jobs," Policy Matters Ohio demonstrated that Ohio could garner
more green jobs than 47 other states given domestic commitment to renewable
energy and a set of policies that support domestic manufacturing. Ohio can
be a winner because of the unique structure of our industrial base: dense
networks of upstream and downstream suppliers in close proximity to
research and development facilities, supporting logistics, financiers with
a history in new market development, a well-trained work force and strong
post-secondary training facilities.Last year was a brutal one for Ohio workers. We need new jobs and
reinvestment. For that reason, our lawmakers must seize the opportunity
presented in the climate change discussions.Wendy Patton is senior associate at Policy Matters Ohio.For t"