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Ohio Looks to Congress for Big Win in Clean Energy

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PHOTO: Wind turbines

PHOTO: Wind turbines


May 14, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - In addition to reducing air pollution and saving thousands of lives each year, tougher clean air standards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will also stimulate Ohio's economy. This prediction by environmental groups is supported by a recent U.S. Labor Department report that says transitioning away from "dirty" energy sources to cleaner technology will create jobs and spur innovation in manufacturing.

National Wildlife Federation regional outreach coordinator Frank Szollosi agrees. He says Ohio is in a good position to drive this advanced technology, because of its location and skilled work force.

"We have the laborers, the assemblers, the engineers, all the great research universities and workforce training programs at community colleges and at technical schools. The manufacturing sector in Ohio stands be a big winner in the transition to clean energy."

The study says clean energy technology has already created more than 3 million jobs nationally. However, there's a push on Capitol Hill to prevent the EPA from implementing the stronger clean air standards, which critics say would slow economic growth. Supporters argue that the combination of new jobs and public health protections is more compelling.

Joe Mendelson, policy director, NWF Climate and Energy Program, says lawmakers should cherish and celebrate the Clean Air Act, not attack it.

"This is something that is a bedrock American value for the air we breathe. It's not just a windmill - it's American jobs, it's clean energy, it's good for our climate and it's good for our overall growth of our country."

Szollosi says EPA air standards to reduce power plant emissions also help preserve wildlife, which he describes as a critical element of the state's economy.

"We need to protect Ohio's rich hunting and fishing heritage, both to pass along to the next generation and to protect tourism in communities that base their living on it."

The study is available at www.bls.gov.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH