Lawmakers Call on Obama Administration to Stop Offshoring Clean Energy Jobs
March 15, 2010
Responding to reports of federal stimulus money being used to fund foreign manufacturers, a group of U.S. senators are calling on President Obama to end government subsidizing for clean-energy projects that end up stimulating more jobs offshore than at home.
Says one of the lawmakers, New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D):
It is a no-brainer that stimulus funds should only go to projects that create jobs in the United States rather than overseas. These wind projects have a lot of merit, but the manufacturing should be happening here, not in China.
Schumer is referring to last fall’s controversy over a $1.5 billon wind farm in Texas that had requested more than $400 million in federal stimulus money. The project would have ended up importing most of the project’s components from China, creating nearly 3,000 jobs overseas, while providing work for less than 400 American workers.
The Department of Energy is still considering the project’s aid request.
New legislation proposed by Schumer and Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) would require federally funded clean-energy projects to use domestically manufactured components to help create industrial jobs in the United States.
In a letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the lawmakers point to a recent report that shows that more than 70 percent of the $1.9 billion in federal wind-energy grants issued have gone to foreign-owned companies.
Says International President Edwin Hill:
Stimulus money is supposed to stimulate our economy. That means making sure we are creating jobs here at home, not continuing to offshore our work.
The problem, according to Alliance for American Manufacturing Executive Director Scott Paul, is that federal officials too often overlook domestic wind manufacturers in favor of the giant multinationals that currently dominate the market.
I know of incredible entrepreneurs who have applied for Energy Department loan guarantees – backing that is required to build new wind turbine parts factories in America – but who were shunned in favor of well-established, multinational manufacturers of wind turbines with largely foreign supply chains. Imagine that: U.S. companies are denied federal assistance to build new factories in the Midwest, eliminating the opportunity for hundreds of skilled workers to get back on the job, while multinational companies are granted hundreds of millions of dollars to import parts from Asia and Europe.
To read more about the legislation, click here.