Historic green jobs bill signed in Washington State

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

A lot is going on in Washington, D.C. these days, as Congress works to pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill.

But if you've focused too much on Washington, D.C. lately, you may have missed the important strides made by the other Washington.

Just this month, Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington State signed a landmark green jobs bill into law (Senate Bill 5649).

The Washington State legislation will create thousands of good, green-collar jobs, as workers retrofit residential and commercial buildings to make them more energy efficient. These jobs in turn will cut greenhouse gas pollution and save energy - and money - for low-income homeowners.

Green For All is proud to have helped shape this landmark green jobs bill.

We worked with community partners and state legislators to ensure that the bill protects Washington's renewable energy standard and includes job quality standards and opportunities for low-income people. The bill requires that many of these green jobs go to local workers.

We will continue working with local partners and policymakers to ensure that training programs are helping local residents, including veterans, dislocated workers, and disadvantaged workers, access these green-collar jobs.

This is exactly the kind of comprehensive legislation that our leaders in Washington, D.C. must pass - legislation that creates quality jobs, provides opportunity for ordinary Americans, and puts U.S. industries at the global forefront of the burgeoning clean energy sector.

Take action: tell Congress to strengthen the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA), by investing in America's green-collar workforce and including job training opportunities for low-income communities.

So yes - let's focus on Congress. But let's not forget the critical role that state and local governments play in developing innovative policy and driving change.

Green For All will be there at every level ─ working with policymakers and lifting up best practices and programs ─ because we know we need a comprehensive approach to drive this green revolution forward, step by step.

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