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SD Organized Labor: Look to Green Energy for Job Creation

December 22, 2009

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - While the international climate conference in Copenhagen wrapped up with limited agreements on carbon emissions, the framework set up there will set the stage for further talks. Mark Anderson, president of the South Dakota State Federation of Labor, says that framework for climate protection could lead to the development of large numbers of jobs.

"When you take a look at the energy industry and transferring from an oil-based economy to something different, I think there is a good chance that there will be some jobs coming up. There's all kinds of opportunities to make changes in the way we use energy and, hopefully, we can capitalize on that and get that work done in the United States."

Anderson says it appears South Dakota could be in a good position to develop several different types of renewable energy projects.

"Hopefully, in South Dakota with wind-generated energy, those kinds of things - we really haven't gotten into solar
yet - but that kind of stuff bodes well for South Dakota. The ethanol industry, that brings in lots of jobs."

Anderson says green-energy jobs would be productive ones in terms of tangible goods and services.

"If you take a look at our economy today, almost a fourth of the Gross Domestic Product is just in paper profits, things the financial industry does. We need to get back to making things, manufacturing stuff, rather than having an economy that's based on paper. "

Anderson says organized labor hopes workers can share in what looks like a bright future for green energy.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD