April 2010

From the Officers
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Charting a Course Toward Cleaner Energy

Following BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion in April, the national mood is souring more each day as the toll of the damage grows and ironclad solutions remain elusive. In the meantime, economies in the Gulf States continue to suffer.

I’ve seen a lot of economic carnage in my decades in the labor movement—and I’ve also heard some corporate elites make some statements that they probably regret. But nothing beats BP CEO Tony Hayward telling a reporter he was eager for the situation to get resolved. The reason? "I’d like my life back," Hayward said.

Guess what, Tony? There’s a rising chorus of regular Americans out there who will say, "We’d like our lives back, too." We’d like a renaissance of good-paying energy jobs that don’t risk the lives of the workers. And we’d like to leave the future of America’s energy companies in the hands of responsible people who understand the dual need for inexpensive electricity and a reduced ecological footprint.

There’s no magic bullet solution. But there is a path forward that can put us on the right track for a clean and green energy economy: nuclear power.

The facts, as reported in our cover story in this issue, speak for themselves. Nuclear plants produce zero carbon emissions. If we go this route, thousands upon thousands of middle-class careers await our members—high-skilled jobs that can’t be outsourced. And these plants become lifelines for hard-working union families in places like Moline, Ill.; Davenport, Iowa; Berwick, Pa.; and across the country.

I told attendees to the Nuclear Energy Institute Executive Conference in May that all signs point to the nuclear industry as the only proven, viable alternative energy source—one that is already heavily integrated into the grid system to supply a reliable dose of clean, baseload power.

We’ve proven our mettle in the fight for good union jobs in renewable industries, and we’ll continue to report on new developments in the revamped nuclear sector in future issues.

It’s time to move the ball forward—for the industry, for our union, for our families and for our nation.

Also: Lee: Chinese Workers Stand Up

Edwin D. Hill
International President