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With this week’s 40th anniversary of Earth Day, it’s time we think about what we can do to help the environment.

But wait! You might ask... What about jobs? Many people think being environmentally friendly means lost jobs.

Just the opposite: Green jobs are our future, and will drive job growth in South Carolina.

With this week’s 40th anniversary of Earth Day, it’s time we think about what we can do to help the environment.

But wait! You might ask... What about jobs? Many people think being environmentally friendly means lost jobs.

Just the opposite: Green jobs are our future, and will drive job growth in South Carolina.

With over 11 million jobs needed to get back to pre-recession levels in the US, we need to look at all options to secure our current jobs and create new, family-sustaining and community-supportive jobs.

One sure way to move us in this direction is by creating "green jobs." If done right, residents of the 3rd District stand to benefit.

So, what is a green job? Think of it as a blue-collar job done for a green purpose.

A supporter of mine recently shared this information with me:

If you’ve ever driven past a wind turbine, you’re looking at over 8,000 parts. Someone had to manufacture or mine every one of them, as well as assemble and maintain them.

The typical wind turbine includes:

   * 250 tons of steel
   * Three tons of copper for the generator and power cables
   * 250 yards of concrete for anchoring
   * Titanium components for the rotator hubs
   * Gears and gear boxes
   * Bearings and many more components

Workers in the 3rd Congressional District could make all these parts. This would create clean energy jobs to revive our economy.

South Carolina is already moving into the wind turbine industry. Just last fall, Clemson’s Restoration Institute and its partners received a $45 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, combined with $53 million of matching funds, to create a large-scale wind turbine facility at the institute’s research campus on the coast.

In the short term, the Restoration Institute estimates the initiative will create close to 1,000 jobs.

In the long run? The Department of Energy estimates that South Carolina could gain 10,000 to 20,000 new jobs related to the wind power industry during the next 20 years. And, these are good jobs.

Clean energy jobs that could be created in the 3rd District are not simply limited to wind turbines. There is a strong need to make glass for solar panels, energy-efficient light bulbs, goods with recycled paper content, production of biofuels, just to mention a few.

This kind of initiative could offset the devastating losses of manufacturing jobs in our District. When our elected officials focus on positive action, not ideological obstruction, our state will be able to move ahead. But it will take hard work, commitment and innovative ideas of both the public and private sectors. My ability to understand and solve complex problems will allow me to lead in these efforts.

Because I believe this simple equation:

Green jobs + SC Workers = Good jobs for a bright SC future

Originally posted to Jane Dyer on Wed Apr 21, 2010 at 01:38 PM PDT.

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