Project Offers Country New Direction
October 20, 2004
While the energy bill has remained a three-year-old symbol of partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill, a group of labor and environmental groups have come together to offer the United States a new approach to fulfilling the nations energy needs.
The Apollo Alliance seeks to end Americas dependence on foreign oil and create millions of jobs building sustainable energy sources for the future. It calls for a $300 billion public and private investment over 10 years to achieve a new energy infrastructure that is more diversified, environmentally safe and more efficient. The project has been endorsed by the IBEW, the Steelworkers, the Machinists, the AFL-CIO and the federations Building and Construction Trades Department and the Industrial Union Council, and several environmental groups.
While ensuring Americas energy independence and emphasizing clean energy, this initiative aims to create a new generation of high-wage manufacturing and construction jobs. New and renewable technologies such as solar and wind power, hydrogen fuel cells and highly efficient American-made cars figure prominently into Apollos goals. The initial cost outlay will be returned in the form of increased economic activity, tax revenues and energy cost savings.
"We need some new ideas about energy in this country," said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill. "For three years, the only energy discussion to come out of the Bush administration is about more deregulation of the electricity industry and more imported oil. Its time to take a new look at the potential right here at home for energy new approaches to production."
The Apollo project envisions improving and upgrading the existing energy transmission network, including building greater access to distributed generation and implementing better technology at existing utilities. The alliance also promotes increasing incentives for energy efficiency, creating substantial new construction investment and jobs retrofitting buildings. It anticipates 70,000 megawatts of wind power expected to come online in the next 10 years will generate $75 million in new investment.
Also key to Apollo is substantial upgrades to the nations transportation infrastructure, including the development of regional high-speed rail networks and improvements to existing passenger train system and the nations roads and highways.
In the process, project supporters say it will add more than 3.3 million jobs to the economy and stimulate $1.4 trillion in new gross domestic product.
Besides the significant economic and jobs benefits of the project, it will reduce dependence on foreign oil by eliminating demand nearly equivalent to current Persian Gulf imports, which will improve national security and save customers money.
"For decades, we have been stuck on a never-ending energy crisis rollercoaster," said
Sen. John Kerry, whom the IBEW has endorsed for president. "Gas prices rise and people talk about the need for a new energy policy. When gas prices drop, people drop the issue. If unrest erupts in the Middle East, people talk about the need to be independent of foreign oil. Its time to get off this ride and chart a new course to energy independence."
Kerry has also proposed tax credits to help consumers buy and manufacturers build fuel efficient cars.