This is big.
Great news for all of us who seek a Blue/Green Alliance! The Teamsters today left the ANWR coalition, a group in favor of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Jim Hoffa has just announced that the Teamsters are pulling out of the coalition supporting drilling in ANWR and are shifting their support to efforts to build coalitions with green groups to create a sustainable energy economy around sources like solar, wind and geothermal.
"We are not going to drill our way out of the energy problems we are facing—not here and not in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," Hoffa told labor and environmental activists at an Oakland, Calif., summit on good jobs and clean air. "We must find a long-term approach that breaks our dependence on foreign oil by investing in the development of alternate energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal power."
More, after the fold.
Jim Hoffa announced the union’s withdrawal from the ANWR coalition, citing the need to build a green economy that fosters the development of alternative energy sources and creates good union jobs—instead of lining the pockets of big oil tycoons.
"Our economy is in shambles. Gas is climbing to $5 a gallon. The dollar has collapsed. Inflation is on the rise. Americans are seeing their paychecks shrink. Their family health care is being slashed," Hoffa said. "Finding a long-term solution has a tremendous upside. It will be environmentally friendly and will serve as a much-needed boost to our sagging economy."
Hoffa also thanked labor’s partners in the environmental movement, who are currently working to reduce emissions from port trucks. He urged the strengthening of the alliance, known as the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports, to achieve a common goal: Good jobs and clean air.
"If we are to prosper as a nation, our future lies in a green economy," he said. "But it’s up to us to help define the rules of that new green economy. A green economy means we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And it means creating good union jobs in America’s growing industries."
This is the core of the Blue/Greeen alliance that will rebuild and remake a just America:
"A green economy means we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And it means creating good union jobs in America’s growing industries."
The Sierra Club praised the Teamsters for this move.
"The Sierra Club and the environmental movement applaud your announcement and look forward to building a powerful movement together—a movement that helps workers, protects the environment, prevents global warming and rebuilds our economy with good, green jobs," said Greg Haegele, The Sierra Club’s Director of Conservation. "We are proud to stand here today, as allies and friends of the Teamsters."
Hoffa and the Teamsters are joining with Al Gore and Barack Obama in working to build a Green economy and all realize that we cannot drill our way out of this mess. We need alternative energy.
Barack Obama last week:
"For decades, Al Gore has challenged the skeptics in Washington on climate change and awakened the conscience of a nation to the urgency of this threat. I strongly agree with Vice President Gore that we cannot drill our way to energy independence, but must fast-track investments in renewable sources of energy like solar power, wind power and advanced biofuels, and those are the investments I will make as President. It’s a strategy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced, and one that will leave our children a world that is cleaner and safer."
Al Gore last week:
We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that's got to change.
But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we're holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.
The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.
In my search for genuinely effective answers to the climate crisis, I have held a series of "solutions summits" with engineers, scientists, and CEOs. In those discussions, one thing has become abundantly clear: when you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices. Moreover, they are also the very same solutions we need to guarantee our national security without having to go to war in the Persian Gulf.
What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don't cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home?
Jim Hoffa today:
"We are not going to drill our way out of the energy problems we are facing—not here and not in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We must find a long-term approach that breaks our dependence on foreign oil by investing in the development of alternate energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal power."
Working together with labor, environmentalists and Democratic candidates, we can change America, solve our energy crisis, rebuild a greeen economy with good union jobs, and address global warming.
Jim Hoffa at Yearly Kos in 2007.
We need to work with the Teamsters and other unions to rebuild a Green America. Thank you Mr. Hoffa and all Teamsters! Solidarity!
Update. From Change to Win in the comments. Grist has a good write up on this:
For years, the Teamsters have supported opening the Arctic Refuge and other protected areas to oil drilling; they ran ads bashing John Kerry on it in 2004. So it is a Very Big Deal that the Teamsters have just come out and rejected drilling as a solution to the energy crisis.
At an event in Oakland, Calif., Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said that drilling won't do anything to help; he announced that the Teamsters are withdrawing from the coalition pushing for Arctic drilling; and he stressed that pushing for "alternate energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal power" will revitalize the economy and create jobs.
It looks like reality is finally starting to bite in American politics.
UPDATE I: Kate called up Teamsters spokeswoman Leigh Strope for more on the move.
"Americans are suffering in this difficult economy," said Strope. "[President Hoffa] really realized, like a lot of people have, that there needs to be a long-term energy solution. Like he said, we can't drill our way out of this problem ... We need a comprehensive energy policy to deal with this crisis."
"It's important to our members," Strope continued. "There's an opportunity to really explore the whole issue of green jobs, and that would obviously benefit Teamsters and all Americans."
Update II: The Republicans are doubling down on drilling. This shows how important the Teamster decision to support alternatives is. Hoffa, Gore, and Obama all said it: "we can't drill our way out of this."
Senate GOP hands Dems oil ultimatum
By Manu Raju
Posted: 07/23/08 07:43 PM [ET]
Senate Republicans have threatened to block nearly all other bills pending before the August recess if Democrats refuse to vote with them on expanding offshore drilling.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said bills that do not pertain to energy can wait until after the August recess, with gas prices now surpassing $4 per gallon. McConnell and top Republicans indicated Wednesday they would oppose any procedural votes to take up other legislation, which require 60 votes to succeed.
We think there is nothing more important that we can do right now than to deal with the Number One issue of the country," McConnell said. "This is the biggest issue since terrorism right after 9/11. People are pounding on their desks, saying, Why don’t these people get together and do something about this problem?"
Update III: Think Progress now has this story. Here are some fun quotes from their post:
Hoffa’s call on behalf of workers is echoing leaders of the environment, energy, and economic justice:
"If you’re in a hole, stop digging!" — Al Gore
"We can’t drill our way out!" — T. Boone Pickens
"We cannot drill and burn our way out of this problem. If we do, we will burn this planet!" — Van Jones