The Green General: Sanders on Energy

Publication: Burlington Free Press

Author: Nicole Gaudiano


11/01/2009 - The topic of the day was climate change, but Sen. Bernie Sanders turned for a moment to lessons learned in war.

Standing alone on a stage before a green backdrop, the Vermont independent recalled how rapidly the U.S. economy had switched from civilian to military production after President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war on Japan in December 1941.

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“People tell me ... that we are not capable of transforming our economy and transforming our energy system and creating the jobs that will stimulate this economy,” he said. “I would strongly disagree.”

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His chairmanship of the Senate’s newly created Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy puts him at the forefront of the fight to create positions building wind turbines, weatherizing homes and installing solar panels.

His opponents say global-warming legislation will send jobs overseas, and green jobs will kill existing jobs. Sanders concedes some jobs will be lost, but at every turn he stresses that producing energy from solar, wind and other sustainable sources can create millions of good-paying occupations.

The Vermont model

Sanders’ five-member panel is part of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. Boxer introduced Sanders recently as someone who has been “focused like a laser beam on green jobs.”

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Sanders’ interest in green jobs reflects Vermont’s economy, said Geoffrey Brown, senior government-relations officer with the Pew Environment Group. A Pew study in June showed that the number of clean-energy jobs in the state—now more than 2,000—increased twice as fast as the number of jobs overall in Vermont between 1998 and 2007.

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Read the full article The Green General: Sanders on Energy the Burlington Free Press' Web site.

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