Contact: Gary Hubbard, 202-778-4384, 202-256-8125, email@example.com
Washington, D.C. – Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW) today praised the commitment of a group of key senators led by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), for issuing a bold call to ensure that climate change legislation continue to include a comprehensive provision to prevent the leakage of carbon emissions and manufacturing jobs to foreign countries with this statement:
“USW believes that the key to addressing the threat of climate change is ensuring that emissions are actually reduced and not just exported along with millions of American jobs. It is therefore critical that domestic climate change legislation include a strong, effective, and comprehensive series of provisions to prevent this leakage, which has the potential to not only undermine the economic goals of the legislation, but the environmental goals as well.
“This comprehensive anti-leakage package has two parts, both of which are absolutely crucial if leakage is to be prevented. The first is the allocation of allowances to energy-intensive manufacturers based on their efficiency and output. This will provide American manufacturers with the near-term transition assistance they need to create new, clean processes and products, but to work effectively there must be a sufficient amount of allowances to fully fund the program. In addition, it is imperative that long-term leakage concerns be addressed by the inclusion of a border allowance requirement on products from those countries that do not share America's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Also, the ability of domestic manufacturers to survive and thrive in the transition to a green economy depends on access to capital which will allow these improvements to be made. To accomplish this, a revolving loan fund must be made available to small and medium-sized manufacturers to retool and increase energy efficiency.
“USW was pleased to see that the House of Representatives included such a comprehensive package in its climate change bill, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454). Representatives of our union worked very closely on these provisions with Chairmen Henry Waxman, Edward Markey, and Sander Levin to craft strong legislation to address this critical issue. We are grateful to the chairmen and the other House members for including it in the final bill that passed the House, and it was the primary reason that USW endorsed the bill and worked to help ensure its passage.
“Since then, critics of the border allowance requirement have made their opposition known in both the Senate and the press. Fortunately, a group of Senators has been willing to stand up for these important provisions and fight for them and American workers. USW is grateful to Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Carl Levin (D-MI), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Arlen Specter (D-PA), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and Al Franken (D-MN) for their leadership on this issue.
“The problem of climate change is a global one, and the solution to it must be global as well. America must lead the way and provide incentives for others to follow. A border allowance requirement is exactly that sort of incentive, and it is already having an effect. Since the House bill passed in June, the Canadian environment minister has been telling the press that Canada will be sure to develop a comparable climate change program to avoid the border allowance requirement, which is exactly the point.
“Senator Brown and the rest understand that this is only the beginning and that maintaining and strengthening these provisions is critical. USW thanks them for standing with American workers and looks forward to working with them on these important issues as the legislation moves forward.”
The USW is North America’s largest industrial union, representing 850,000 actively employed workers in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy producing industries.