Written jointly by:
Dan Sawmiller, Senior Advisor for NRDC Action Fund
Ed Moore, Business Manager and Financial Secretary for IBEW Local 683
For too long we’ve been presented with a false choice between good jobs and a clean environment. We can in fact have both. Columbus’ Issue 1 will bring clean energy to Ohio, providing new opportunities to the men and women working in our skilled labor unions.
By giving Columbus residents the ability to combine our purchasing power to source energy from the cleanest and most reliable sources available, we can create demand for new clean energy projects in Ohio – which means new, critical jobs in our state. Issue 1 commits the city to sourcing a 100 percent renewable energy supply that is built in Ohio, by Ohioans. This will not drive up electricity bills and anyone who doesn’t want to participate can opt out.
Issue 1 is the perfect example of the type of bold ideas that will support Ohio jobs. Labor unions and environmentalists share a vision that will make our economy stronger because it puts people and families at the center – not corporations. As we think about how to rebuild from the ongoing pandemic, we know that the renewable energy industry provides jobs that will modernize our energy economy while providing stable revenue sources to the local communities that host the projects.
The Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund (NRDC Action Fund) has teamed up with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to show our support for the jobs and environmental benefits that will come from procuring local renewable energy that will put our skilled tradespeople to work. IBEW and NRDC Action Fund have both endorsed Issue 1 and continue to voice our support; a great step forward in providing good jobs, a clean environment and a healthier city.
Issue 1 unites IBEW and NRDC Action Fund around a more just and equitable solution of workers’ rights and environmental and economic sustainability. We recognize the need for a realistic plan to combat the ongoing threat of climate change without putting energy security or working families at risk, and we believe voting Yes on Issue 1 will do just that.
This is a step that many other cities are taking and something that cities in Ohio need to do immediately before these jobs and investments go somewhere else. A recent Ohio University report shows that the utility scale solar industry can create over 54,000 construction, operations, and maintenance jobs if we work to attract them with the right policies, like Issue 1. IBEW’s members and partner contractors are ready to meet this demand and build the highest quality clean energy projects in the country.
For years, the IBEW and its partner – the Columbus Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) – have been investing in its workforce by providing training on renewable energy technology. Today, the renowned IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center is producing highly skilled journey workers, proficient in all types of clean energy technology.
Together, we can ensure that cutting climate pollution, rebuilding our infrastructure, making our communities resilient and transitioning to a clean energy economy will provide better jobs and lives for hardworking Ohio families, while safeguarding everyone against the worst impacts of climate change.
By passing Issue 1, Columbus will create enough demand to support 700 MW of new clean energy generation. This is enough clean energy to reduce the city’s carbon pollution by 19% and the equivalent of taking 260,000 cars off the road – and the Ohio construction trades are ready to get to work.
Good jobs and a clean environment are important to us all and Issue 1 provides both. Please join the NRDC Action Fund and the IBEW in Voting Yes for Issue 1!