Energy Policy

Democratic governors, Apollo Alliance announce energy plan to boost job growth

As the federal government continues to decide how to handle the issue of energy dependence, several states have taken the lead in promoting state-level efficiency initiatives. During today's E&ETV Event Coverage, the Apollo Alliance unveils a clean energy plan that promotes job creation and growth. Participants include New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), and Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell (D). The governors express support for the Apollo Alliance's energy plan and call for increased state-level initiatives for energy efficiency. The governors also discuss their states' plans to promote energy independence and talk about how Congress should approach changes to the federal energy policy.


Jerome Ringo: OK, we are ready to begin. Thank you and good morning. My name is Jerome Ringo and I am the president of the National Apollo Alliance. We are an alliance of unions and businesses, environmentalists and community groups united by an idea that a crash program for clean energy independence could protect our planet. It could enhance our security and create millions of new, good jobs. I'm very proud that my friend Leo Gerard, president of the Steelworkers Union, co-chair of the alliance and the champion of its spirit, and I can host this event today with three outstanding governors; the Honorable Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, and Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana, who will be joining us by teleconference. We couldn't have conceived such a distinguished group without an important purpose. Today our nation faces no greater challenge than to achieve energy independence through clean energy, and in the process give hope once more to America's working men and women by creating a new generation of good paying, clean energy jobs. Three years ago we established that as a national crash program for clean independence and that it would create three million new, good jobs, jobs in manufacturing, jobs and agriculture, jobs in construction, jobs in design, operation and maintenance. Now it's no secret that the federal government didn't take our good advice in these few last years. We fell behind we lost three million good manufacturing jobs. We imported more oil, driving up our trade deficit. We watched Detroit spiral. We ignored the growing evidence of climate change. So instead the challenge has fallen to governors to set the pace in clean energy innovation. Governor Bill Richardson led the Western governors in adopting the goal of generating 20% of the nation's power for renewable sources by the year of 2020. But just as important as that goal he has also provided us with the tools to reach that goal. His comprehensive program is a blueprint that not only points the way, but tells us how to get there. Governor Ed Rendell has worked tirelessly to demonstrate that the benefits of clean energy can be shared by all of us. Under his leadership Pennsylvania became the first coal state to adopt a clean energy standard. He did this not only because he cared about our future, but because he knew it was the foundation of a new economy for the working families of his state. Governor Schweitzer has made clean energy, good jobs and energy independence the hallmark of his administration. He is marshaling the resources of his state and the can do spirit of our nation to explore every alternative at our disposal to create a model for this nation. It is not just a policy model. It's a model for action, action we need to meet the challenges confronting us. The American people are ready for a clean energy future. No, they're demanding it. On Bill Richardson's watch voters elected six new Democratic governors. At the center of those victories was a pledge to promote clean energy and create those new good jobs. We're here today to offer a roadmap for how these governors can make that pledge a reality that is based on a leadership of governors here with us now. State leadership for a clean energy future offers us a comprehensive view that covers the spectrum of energy issues, alternatives to oil, new renewable energy, green downtowns and smart growth. Each initiative reflects an Apollo approach to building a better energy future. Each sets an ambitious goal that inspires both government and the private sector. Each proposes public investment and support to help the private sector achieve these goals. Each initiative insures that we will meet the quadruple bottom line of stimulating the economy, enhancing security, protecting our environment and creating good jobs. And, finally, each initiative that the benefits of new investment go back to our communities in the form of good, skilled jobs for America. We know we've got a long way to go to build a clean energy economy. Powerful forces stand in our way. There's a strong competition for scarce public resources. Neither environmentalists nor the security community nor the clean tech industry nor sympathetic unions can create a new energy economy on their own. Only by pulling together we can get this job done. Only together can we create an arc of innovation across this great country uniting West Coast technology with Southwest sunshine, Great Plains winds, Midwestern biofuels, heartland manufacturing, and energy efficient cities all in one great cause, the cause of clean energy independence. In doing so we'll leave the nation healthier, more secure, with more opportunity for all of us. The new report is available online at It includes links to model legislation to provide state leaders a starting point in designing policies relevant to their own needs and objectives. Many thanks to our crack team of policy experts at the Center of Wisconsin Strategy and the Campaign for America's Future for assembling this awesome document. We much appreciate the fine leadership of those institutions led by Joel Rogers and Bob Borosage, respectively. I urge state policymakers across the country to take a close look at this document as you craft your energy strategy for the upcoming legislative cycle. Our teams stand by and are eagerly waiting and willing to help. And now it's time for the main event. Ladies and gentlemen I am proud to introduce -- I want to introduce you to Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico. You know, Governor Richardson, as the former Energy Secretary and United Nations ambassador, has made New Mexico a national clean energy leader helping to create nearly 80,000 new jobs. And let's not forget that Governor Richardson's proudest achievement, he shook 13,392 hands in an eight hour period shattering the world record held by former President and famed conservationist Theodore Roosevelt. Ladies and gentlemen, Governor Bill Richardson.

Bill Richardson: Thank you Jerome. Thank you. What a great speaker and orator. How can I match that? Thank you so much. I would like Governors Rendell and Schweitzer to listen. I know they're in the teleconference. And I want to just categorically say that New Mexico is the clean energy state. Pennsylvania and Montana are second and third. Can they hear me by the way?

Brian Schweitzer: Yeah we can Bill.

Ed Rendell: I can't hear that!

Bill Richardson: These are two outstanding leaders and I will be, I promise, I will be brief. I want to commend the Apollo Alliance. The most important issue facing America is energy independence and energy security. And it's national security and energy independence all tied in to one. The biggest vulnerability that America has is that we 65 percent dependent on foreign oil, 65 percent of our fossil fuel dependency. That is unacceptable. That hurts our national security. And the most important goal of the Apollo Alliance is the fact that by the year the 2013 a crash effort to reduce our energy independence from 65 to 20 percent. And it's critically important that we move forward on that goal. And the action on energy is happening in the states. It's not happening in the Congress. The last energy bill was inadequate. It had a lot of subsidies, but it had a very weak provision on renewable technology and renewable energy and reducing energy independence. So I stand today as part of a nationwide effort of states participating in this crash effort. And I want to commend Leo Gerard and the Steelworkers. Think of this alliance, the Steelworkers and the Sierra Club. Who would have thought in the past that was going to happen? And that's how it started, and now it involves businesses. And Jerome outlined all the many supporters of this effort, and now it's spread to states and you've got states like Pennsylvania and Montana and New Mexico, and now Colorado, with new governors. Six new governors pledged to become energy independent, focusing on renewable technologies. So as a former Energy Secretary I can tell you that an investment in renewable technology works, investments in fuel efficiency works, in new fields like biodiesel fuel and ethanol, combined with solar, wind, biomass, distributed generation, fuel cells. That's the future! And that's the future also in terms of jobs. The jobs in energy, in new energy, clean energy are in retrofitting buildings and in renewable technology. I just met two steelworkers working on wind turbines and working in wind energy. That's the future. And it's important too that we reduce our dependence on countries in the Persian Gulf, in the Middle East, and Latin America that are hostile to America. And that dependence, one of these days, at 65%, it's going to cause a national security crisis along with a potential crisis when it comes to an oil shock. So as the state of New Mexico moves forward and we have renewable portfolio standards, we're going to try to get to 20 in our next session of the Legislature, initiatives for green buildings and retrofitting and initiatives to promote solar, wind and biomass, additional tax credits, additional incentives. Our state invests in renewable energy, state funds. And that is important that other states make those efforts too. So I am delighted to be here and I especially want to commend Governor Rendell, because he, in his last four years has looked at states like Brazil -- countries like Brazil and efforts around the world to make Pennsylvania a model. And then Governor Schweitzer, we know what he's done with clean coal and renewable energy and how, in the West, he is setting forth enormous leadership. So I am honored to be here. I now come to the best part of my speech, the end. Thank you.

Jerome Ringo: That's a great line governor. Thank you very, very much governor and thank you for all that you do. You're a great American. Thank you very much. Governor Brian Schweitzer has made a big splash on the national scene. He's one of the first to teach Democrats how to win again in the Rocky Mountain West. Just as important, he's taught us how to have fun doing it. As we've mentioned before, he has made energy, clean energy and energy independence and good jobs the centerpiece of his administration. At this time, through teleconference, Governor Brian Schweitzer.

Brian Schweitzer: Well, thank you very much. Thank you very much and thank you to Apollo for having this vision. At the turn-of-the-century homesteaders came from all over Europe, they came to the Great Plains, including my grandparents. And when they arrived on the Great Plains they homesteaded this land. Now you couldn't grow all 320 acres in Montana and North Dakota and South Dakota and Colorado. You couldn't grow wheat on all of those acres because you had to grow your own horsepower. You had to grow 20 or 40 acres of oats or alfalfa to feed the horses that pulled the plows. And standing beside every one of those houses on the prairie, those sod houses, was a windmill that lifted the water and generated the electricity later in the 20s. Our grandparents had it figured out, that you have got to produce your own energy in your own enterprise in your own way and distribute that energy. Now let's fast forward to where we are today. Farmers across the Great Plains and the Midwest work 364 days to produce a crop. And on the 365th day they give 35 percent of the value of that crop to the railroad, who hauls the grain all the way to Portland. And it's placed on a boat and shipped all the way across the ocean to a third world land, where they've been working, pumping oil, putting it in a pump line, shipping it to a big boat. And somewhere on the high seas those boats cross. Those crews wave at one another and the oil continues and arrives here on our coast where it is pumped into a pipeline or put back on that train and shipped all the way back into the Midwest. And guess who pay the freight both ways? The farmer. And worse yet, we sent a raw product, a raw grain product to the Third World and, in many cases, they sent a refined product back to us. It was in the 60s that we found that our very way of life could have been challenged because the Russians were leading in the space race. It was great leaders in the 60s that said we've got 10 years to get this right. Within 10 years we will put a man on the moon. And they did, because they were visionaries. They were leaders. And they understood that our very way of life was challenged. But today, Governor Richardson said it exactly right, 65 percent of our energy, the lifeblood of this entire country, is imported, and most of it is coming from unstable regions around the world. We are challenged greater today than we were in the 60s. And that's why I applaud the Apollo program, because they recognize that we can get this right. In Montana we passed a 15 percent portfolio of wind power by the year 2015. And we're already producing eight and half percent and we'll beat that 2015 by about five years. We've got biofuel stations across Montana. We've got distributed energy. But in order for us to have a comprehensive plan in this country it's going to take leadership at the national level, so that we governors, like Governor Rendell and Governor Richardson, we can work together with transmission lines so that you can move the electrons from the place where the wind is blowing on any given hour to the place that it's not. So that we can have the kind of federal incentives that we need to induce these private-public partnerships to produce new energies from America. We import four billion barrels of oil. We could immediately, within the next five years we could decrease our consumption of oil by one billion barrels. We did it from 1975 to 1983, decreased our consumption by one billion barrels at that timeframe, while our GDP went up 27 percent. We could create tens of thousands of jobs using less energy. We could produce a billion barrels of biofuels and we could do it during the next 10 years, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the heartland. And with ideas, like Governor Richardson said, with fuel cells, with coal to liquids, coal gasification. Truly, within 10 years we could wean ourselves from foreign oil, but it takes leaders with the passion and the vision to take this country forward. And that's why I thank Governor Rendell for taking a leadership. He's my mentor and none greater than Governor Richardson who's been leading this country towards energy independence since the time he was in Congress. Thank you very much. They're both my mentors. Thank you to the Apollo program for saying this is something that we can do and likening it to what we did in the 1960s. We're on the right track. Thank you.

Jerome Ringo: Thank you very much Governor Schweitzer and with your energy and the continued leadership of yourself, Governor Rendell and Governor Richardson, we will get off of the oil barrel that we're being held over by foreign countries. Ladies and gentlemen, I would now like to introduce Governor Ed Rendell, one of the longest champions of the Apollo Alliance. Governor Rendell's achievements in the fields of renewable energy are second to none and have garnered worldwide attention. His energy deployment for a growing economy program re-powers older, dirtier power plants using advance coal gasification technology. Pennsylvania's alternative energy portfolio sets the standard; set's the ambitious goal of generating 18 percent of the state's power from clean, efficient and advanced resources. Governor Rendell's leadership on the front enables the state to attract a major investment from the Gamesa Energy, the world's second-largest wind energy company. Gamesa will put thousands of Pennsylvanians to work building wind towers and turbines. I could go on, but I can tell the governor is starting to blush, even over the phone. So Governor, the floor is yours. Thank you.

Ed Rendell: Well, thanks very much and good morning everyone. Sorry I couldn't be there with you in person, but I'm about to give a speech up in New York and I'm going to talk about renewables during that speech. I agree with the points made by Governor Richardson and Governor Schweitzer. It is of the utmost importance in this nation that we move forward, important for all of the reasons that you've heard outlined here today. And I thank the Steelworkers and the Sierra Club and the whole Apollo Alliance for putting forth this plan, because understand change is never easy. It's always easy to go with the status quo. And change requires leadership, it requires vision and it requires hard work. But if we don't change this country is in for very difficult times in the future. Since the early 70s we have been increasing our dependence on imported energy to the point where we now import 60 percent of our energy needs. Less than 30 years ago we only imported 28 percent. We cannot keep going. We have to reverse that, for all of the reasons stated by Governor Richardson and Governor Schweitzer. And we can do that. And states are doing that. You heard about Pennsylvania's advanced energy portfolio standards. We were the 21st state to have those advanced standards and we believe ours is the most comprehensive. However, we need national advanced energy portfolio standards. And the Apollo Alliance Energy Plan calls for that. But we need to go even further. We need to do something about the number one user of oil, the automobile. We need to have renewable fuels powering our automobiles in the future. That's going to require change. It's not going to be easy, but we need to take action. And this year, in Pennsylvania, I will propose to the Legislature to move, on top of our advanced portfolio standards, and adopt advanced fuel energy standards. So by the year 2015 one billion gallons of fuel sold at the pump in Pennsylvania must come from renewables. That one billion gallons is slightly more than we import right now in foreign oil. That advanced fuel energy portfolio standard is an achievable goal. Right now, if you pull up to the pump in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, you get 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline. If every pump in the state of Pennsylvania dispensed 10 percent ethanol that would avoid 700 million gallons of fossil fuel. All of these things are achievable. They need hard work. They need building the distribution network. They need foresight and they need investment. We are going to go forward, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Montana ... But we cannot achieve this, as Governor Schweitzer said, without national leadership. I came down to the National Press Club about a year and a half ago and I asked President Bush to convene a Manhattan Project or an Apollo Project so that we would set a goal for energy independence in this country and achieve that goal. I think the Apollo Alliance has given us a blueprint for change in what they're putting forward today. The Congress and the President should listen and they should act. Thank you.

Jerome Ringo: Thank you very much governor. Finally, ladies and gentlemen, we would like to introduce a hero and a person that I consider a friend of mine, Leo W. Gerard is the president of the United Steelworkers. At the age of 13 Leo was instilled by his activist father with an essential role that unions play in the creation of our society. He went to work in the smelter at 18 and quickly rose to chief steward at his local. Leo's union leadership has always had a larger sense of social purpose. He is the head of the nation's largest industrial union and one that has one of the largest, if not the largest, histories in environmental stewardship. There is no tougher advocate for working men and women and there's no stronger voice for the global environment. Leo gets it because he knows that there is no contradiction. A co-chair of the Apollo Alliance since its inception, we are proud to honor Leo as the first annual Apollo Right Stuff award winner for his leadership on clean energy and good jobs. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to my friend and a great American, Mr. Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers.

Leo Gerard: To almost quote Governor Richardson, I come to the worst part of my talk, the beginning. I want to say how really proud I am of our union, the Steelworkers Union, and its leadership and its locals, who, when we talk about the Apollo Alliance, they understand it and they get it. The fact of the matter is that 23 unions, the private sector, public sector, building and construction trades have endorsed the Apollo Alliance agenda. The fact of the matter is that the Apollo Alliance was chosen to be exactly what it says. It should be a modern-day Apollo Project. It's as important as putting someone on the moon was then. We had actually laid out a hard number and people have tried to shy away from that hard number, but when we keep in mind the cost of the war in Iraq, and we all think we know why that war actually took place, our number was $30 billion over 10 years, focused in the right way, and what it could do to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and what it could do to lead us to energy independence. That is not a big number. In fact, let me remind you that under the last energy policy of the current administration they gave big oil a $5 billion tax break last year. If they're going to extend that tax break, as they wanted to do, the tax break alone would almost pay for what we were talking about. I want to praise Governor Rendell, Schweitzer, Richardson and also a governor who can't be on the call, who is a personal friend, Governor-elect Ted Strickland, who ran in Ohio on an issue of energy independence and didn't run from the issue. With Governor Rendell's work, as he talked about, we were able to attract a Pennsylvania Gamesa. And I'm proud to say that our union organized those workers at Gamesa and that we have two of them here today who actually build the windmills. And I'd like them to stand and be recognized, Dave Moore and Mike Stoche. Both Dave and Mike build those big towers and those big arms. And one of the things that I think that is so fascinating is that one of the plants is in Fairless Hills and one of the plants is in Johnstown. Both of those plants are building windmills on former steelmaking facility sites. Dave's father worked 43 years in the steel mills. Dave is now on that same site and building windmills. I think that's a tremendous accomplishment by Governor Rendell and by our people that understand where the future is. Let me just say that part of why we were so committed to this is that we actually believe that it's a false dichotomy that's been promoted, that you can't have a clean environment and good jobs. In fact, we've been saying for some time in our union that you've either have to have both or you'll have neither. And we think that we can prove that. We think the Apollo Alliance and the Blue-Green Alliance that we helped create can show us a roadmap to that. If we retrofitted current buildings that were built prior to 1965 or 1970, pick a date, and retrofit those current buildings using current science, think about what you could do retrofitting those schools that were built prior to 1965 or '70. Think what you could do retrofitting other public buildings. We would create tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of new jobs. We've actually got members who make glass that is energy-efficient. We've got new roofing materials. We've got new air handling materials. We've got new heating and air-conditioning systems that could be funded and serviced by solar energy and wind energy that are more efficient. Think about an investment in clean coal technology the way Governor Rendell and Governor Schweitzer have talked about. Think about how we could restructure the roofs of buildings that were designed in a certain fashion because of the kind of building materials we had. Think about just changing the color of roofs. Think of what a black roof does, when it attracts the heat, to what a white roof could do. There's so many pieces of our science and technology that would be there, that could lead us to energy independence. Our union is tremendously proud to be part of the Apollo Alliance and a founding member. But the reality is that we need the federal government to act. We're soon going to have a new House and Senate. Hopefully the new House and Senate will get it. But let me just tell you, on behalf of the Steelworkers Union, today I'll just speak on behalf of the Steelworkers, not the Alliance. If we can't get it done at the federal level we're going to get it done at the state level because we've got governors that get it. And I actually happen to believe in the field of dreams, build it and they will come. When Governor Richardson shows that he can get reelected with a big majority moving to energy independence and creating 80,000 jobs, when Governors Rendell and Schweitzer can get elected with big majorities moving to energy independence, all of the sudden people are going to say that's a good idea. So we're going to continue to push at the federal level and hopefully they'll get it, but we're not going to quit pushing at the state level because we've got a number of governors that already get it. So I thank you for coming. And I come to the second best part of my speech now, thank you.

Jerome Ringo: Thank you very much Leo. At this time we will open the floor for questions. Now we have two audiences. We have an audience that is, of course, present here at the National Press Club. But we also have an audience on the phone media as I understand. So to keep things as orderly as possible we will initially open the floor to questions here and then once we are complete with the questions from the floor, we will open the phone lines for additional questions. As well, we have the senior vice president of the Apollo Alliance, Jeff Rickert. Where's Jeff? And also the national campaign coordinator for the Apollo Alliance Dan Seligman here, who can also take questions about Apollo Alliance and the Apollo Alliance Four-Point Plan. So the floor is now open for questions to Leo Gerard, to the governors. Yes, sir, we'll start on the front rows and work our way back. Thank you. And we have a mic.

Woody Brasman: Woody Brasman with the Albuquerque Tribune. Governor Richardson, how big an issue do you think this will be in the Presidential campaign of 2008 for prospective candidates, hypothetically?

Bill Richardson: It will be the biggest issue. It is the biggest issue, the need to become energy independent, the need to develop new technologies because it harbors and it deals with national security, energy security and national security. The reduction of 65 percent imported oil is the biggest challenge, energy challenge and national security challenge that America faces. On the positive side, as Leo Gerard has said, this is the new generation of jobs in America, clean energy jobs, retrofitting, building renewable technologies like windmills. So it's a boon to the economy. How do you pay for it? Leo talked about shifting the $5 billion in tax breaks, that's one way to pay for it. And there's a number of other public and private investment initiatives that need to happen to make sure that we this transition. So it is the top issue in the presidential race, the top challenge facing America because it deals, as I said, with national security. Are we vulnerable to hostile countries in the Persian Gulf and are we vulnerable nationally to oil shocks and the need to transform ourselves into renewable technologies.

Jerome Ringo: Are the governors still on the line?

Unidentified speaker: One of them is.

Jerome Ringo: And who is that?

Brian Schweitzer: Just the governor of Montana.

Bill Richardson: This is not Ed Rendell he says.

Jerome Ringo: OK, so we can offer questions to the governor. OK. Sir, I think you, in the front row here, please, grab the mic.

Mark Ruenberg: Mark Ruenberg of Press Associates Union News Service, and for both the governor and for Leo, nuts and bolts. You have a new Congress. Speaker-elect Pelosi said yesterday she wants to repeal the additional $5 billion and use it for advanced energy research. What are you going to be doing in practical terms to get Congress off ... and get the White House off the ... and reverse course?

Jerome Ringo: Do you want to start?

Leo Gerard: Sure. I'll do it right here, I guess. Is this on? I think, in our case, most of the folks may not know it in the room, but we have a network of 18,000 what we call rapid response activists in all of our different parts of the union. And energy independence for the new Congress will become one of a short list of issues that we advocate. I think that the fact that Speaker-elect Pelosi has already identified what she would like to do with that unwarranted gift to the oil industry is a good first step. And we certainly would like them to write a new energy bill on top of that, whoever's going to be the chair of the appropriate committee to write that bill. And that the bill should include a comprehensive list of things that we ought to do over the 10 year Apollo period to reach energy independence. And we're going to certainly advocate for that.

Jerome Ringo: And let me add as well that the environmental community, I am as well chairman of the National Wildlife Federation. The five million members of that organization as well as other, the Sierra Club, and other conservation organizations around the country are advocating and pushing hard for energy independence with the understanding that less use of fossil fuels and increasing the use of alternative energy will reduce carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, thus its contribution to global warming and climate change. So that will be lots of intense pressure from the conservation community to this Congress to address these issues. In turn creating and stimulating the American economy with the new good jobs. Next question? I'm sorry.

Brian Schweitzer: I'd like to answer that. Are we there?

Jerome Ringo: Brian, go ahead.

Brian Schweitzer: I think it's multifaceted. I absolutely agree with Governor Richardson, this is the most important issue of our time. Number one, I would put a minimum price of $1.20 per gallon on all biofuels that are produced domestically in the United States. That will assure the markets that no matter what happens to the price of oil that if you produce biofuels domestically then you will get a minimum price of $1.20 a gallon. That should be in the agricultural bill as well as the energy. Number two, I would have Congress spend $15 billion, that's with a B, to build coal gasification plants and sequester the carbon dioxide. The unfortunate thing is that private industry, right now, is not willing to take the technology risks. We know that we can sequester carbon dioxide. We know that we can gasify coal. We need to have backing of the federal government to build a half dozen of these around the country using Eastern and Western coal, and using gasifying of biomass so that we can begin sequestering this carbon dioxide right back into our native grasslands. Use those native grasslands as a fuel source to blend with our coal. The third thing that we need to do here is we need to have loan guarantees available to farmers who build biodiesel plants and to private enterprises that build other domestic energy sources, including wind power, coal gasification and biofuels. Total, in sum, this is a $30 billion idea and if you compare it to what we spent in the 60s to go to the moon or if you compare it on this failed experiment in Iraq it seems like peanuts at the circus.

Jerome Ringo: Governor Richardson?

Bill Richardson: Well, I believe that this should be a major priority of the new Congress, energy independence and a new energy bill. The past energy bill was inadequate. And it should go to the top of the agenda of the Congress along with increasing the minimum wage, negotiating with drug companies, getting lobbyists out of drafting bills, prescription drugs. And it should go to the very top of the list, a new energy bill, along with comprehensive immigration. Leo Gerard: And employee free choice.

Questioner: Have you talked to Senator Bingaman about it?

Bill Richardson: Yes, I did. I did.

Questioner: Any action?

Bill Richardson: He is positive. Had we adopted Senator Bingaman's provision on renewable portfolio standards, had we adopted Senator Bingaman's incentives for renewable technologies, that energy bill would have been a lot better. And I believe that he's in a great position and he's an expert on this issue and I'm very heartened by his response.

Jerome Ringo: Let's take a question from the phone. Is there a question from the phone line?

Phone operator: If you would like to ask a question via the phone line please firmly press the star key followed by the digit one on your touchtone phone call.

Jerome Ringo: OK, let's have someone on the, yes, the mic please.

Alexander Duncan: Alexander Duncan from GHG Transactions and Technologies. This is a question for Governor Richardson. What strategy would you advocate for getting developing nations in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions? The Bush administration has advocated the Asia-Pacific Partnership, which is completely voluntary. A lot of Democrats have advocated for a national cap and then that would bring along major developing nations like China and India. What is your stance on that?

Bill Richardson: Well, I believe that the strongest measures are needed. Unfortunately, America does not lead by example when we said we were getting out of the Kyoto Treaty. New Mexico is the only state that has adopted the Chicago Climate Exchange. And I understand that Illinois, and maybe one more, Colorado, are going to join. But I was very proud, as a state we proceeded to, on our own, cap emissions and deal with credits and basically conclude that we, as the state, if the federal government and the Congress were not going to abide by the Kyoto Treaty that we would. Now what is my position? I believe that it's important that there be an international cap, that developing company should be encouraged, not as a goal, but there should be conditions in World Bank loans, in international lending institutions. And there should be incentives by international lending institutions like the World Bank, like the International Monetary Fund to promote energy efficiency and have more effect on climate change. Because if you look at some of the developing countries that's when some of the biggest problems are.

Jerome Ringo: I want to, as well, I thank the governor and the position that New Mexico has taken. Governor, I was a delegate at Kyoto. And it's very refreshing to see, as Leo Gerard put it, if it's not done at the top, the governors and the states will get it done. And I want to applaud you, Governor Richardson, for that. The next question? Yes ma'am. Could we have a mic please? Amber McKinney: Hi, I'm Amber McKinney with the Daily Labor Report. I have a question more about the job creation specifically. You quote three million jobs, but I want to know if those are permanent jobs or if a lot of this will be short-term construction in retrofitting buildings? And in addition, is this just transferring old energy jobs to new energy jobs, so it wouldn't really be new, it's just getting the workers to work for clean energy instead of traditional sources?

Leo Gerard: Lots of this is new jobs. For example, our 700 new members and growing at Gamesa, those were not jobs that existed here prior to Governor Rendell's passing of the standards. We can have all kinds of new jobs in manufacturing. Let me make the example of glass. The mayor of Chicago and the city of Chicago have determined that in retrofitting their buildings they have said that any of the new buildings that are going to be built and retrofitting of buildings have to have energy efficient glass in them. And he's now auctioning off -- whoever's going to get the contract has to commit to building a plant in Chicago. The science is there to do that and so that's a huge new opening, to have our members making glass that currently isn't getting purchased because the retrofitting isn't going on enough. And you can go through the whole issue of building energy-efficient appliances, air conditioning and heating. If you're not buying them, they're not going to be manufactured. You can do all kinds of science and incentives that if you can beat this standard you make them in America. Those will be jobs that are coming here rather than exporting. We need to figure out that there's good jobs in energy efficiency and we can use that to create new jobs. And we can then export that, rather than continue to import old technology. So when we look at this, the whole, maintenance and distribution of wind and solar are good, brand new jobs that didn't exist. The whole issue the Governor Schweitzer talked about, about carbon sequestration and clean coal technology, those are new jobs, but also additional jobs for coal miners. The coal mining union signed on to the Apollo Alliance. We have enough coal in America to meet all of America's energy needs for 100 years, but we're not going to use it if it's not cleaned. If it's dirty coal it won't get done. But if we use clean coal technology that's an expansion, plus a benefit to the economy. So these are a combination of redistribution of jobs, but also tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of new, long-term, family supporting jobs. And I for 1 am tired of seeing our jobs exported and here's a way to create long-lasting, family supporting jobs at home.

Jerome Ringo: Yes, sir?

Questioner: This is Arshan from Bangladesh newspaper, the Telegraph. Governor Bill Richardson, you have been a great friend of Bangladesh and recall your great admiration for that country. And my question is that as secretary of Energy you have been a globetrotter. You have been with the Middle East countries. How would you interact with them given the position that you are running in 2008? How would you interact with your Middle East partners, the Saudi kings and others about your position and their position? And what would be the median line in that regard, Governor Richardson? I would really appreciate your kind response. Thank you.

Jerome Ringo: Governor, is this a formal announcement?

Bill Richardson: And I don't want to get you off message, but I will, look, you're right, I'm very fond of Bangladesh. This is a great country, great potential. And I was very, very pleased that the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Mohammed Younis for initiatives that deal with micro lending and jobs, micro jobs for women. I was very proud of that. Look, here's my position on a lot of issues, you know how you resolve problems? Through dialogue, negotiation, diplomacy. I think we should talk to Syria about the Middle East. I think we should talk to Iran about reducing nuclear weapons and also Iraq. And energy independence, tough dialogue, not just face-to-face talk. Again, I'm very troubled by the lack of diplomacy in the administration. And so what I would like to do is find ways that, when it comes to energy independence I think countries like Bangladesh, like India, if given incentives and partnerships between business and lending institutions and the industrialized world working to promote energy efficiency and promote climate change and promote renewable technologies, we can do it. But you do it by talking, by dialogue, by negotiating, by diplomacy, by paying attention to your country.

Jerome Ringo: OK, we have time for one more question. I'm so sorry. From the phone, are you ready on the phone? They're not ready, OK. One other question, yes ma'am?

Chloe Rothstein: Hi, Chloe Rothstein, ABC News, for Governor Richardson, is it time to consider licensing new nuclear plants? And if so, how would you address possible effects on terrorism?

Bill Richardson: Well, first, nuclear plants need to get better security. When I was secretary of Energy there was quite a bit of resistance by the nuclear power plants to the government participating and cooperating with the plants on security. But that needs to change. I believe it has changed. It's been a little better. But we don't want to be vulnerable in a nuclear power plant to an aircraft or an errant weapon coming in without adequate protections. Secondly, I believe that you have to have a case-by-case basis. Nuclear power emits no greenhouse gas emissions, so there's promise there. But when it comes to nuclear power we still have to deal with the problem of nuclear waste. We have to deal with the problem of where you're putting the waste and we don't have a solution there. And I believe the solution is in new technologies. And secondly, I believe that you've got to deal with issues relating to cost. Are they cost efficient? I believe that you can't preclude the nuclear option, but that doesn't mean you give subsidies to nuclear industry in the energy bill and not give the same benefits to renewable technologies. I think the future is more in renewable technology than it is a nuclear.

Chloe Rothstein: What about effects on terrorism though, can you elaborate on that?

Bill Richardson: What you mean?

Questioner: Is that a national ...

Bill Richardson: What, nuclear power? Leo, you want to answer that? I think I did, didn't I?

Leo Gerard: I can give you a quick answer. We have a group called Nuclear Fuel Systems that forced our members out on strike. They do high-security work. They need all kinds of clearances. They get years and years of training. Nuclear Fuel Systems forced our members out on strike and within two weeks they scabbed the place and they've got untrained, unqualified workers doing it. And not a soul in Congress has raised their voice. So some of them are prepared to talk about security and terrorism when it suits them, but when they're not going to watch over what's already happening to their nuclear systems, I, for one, take it very skeptically. So you can do that in your papers too.

Bill Richardson: Let me just, I think I understand your question. One of the biggest national security challenges we have is loose nuclear weapons. It's weapons of mass destruction on the black market, North Korea, Iran, the former Soviet Union. And we need to upgrade our security relationships with these countries to prevent loose nukes from coming across the border or uranium or plutonium being exported or sold on the black market. The biggest danger with North Korea is, yes, we don't want them to build new nuclear weapons. It's them selling nuclear materials in the black market to countries that are hostile to America. Is that what you ... OK.

Jerome Ringo: I want to thank you all very much. And just to honor the very busy schedules of our governors. Thank you Governor Rendell, Governor Schweitzer, thank you very much. And, of course, Governor Bill Richardson and our dear friend, Mr. Leo Gerard, we thank you for your energy and your time. Thank you all very much for your time.

[End of Audio]



Latest Selected Headlines

More headlinesMore headlines

More headlinesMore headlines

More headlinesMore headlines

More headlinesMore headlines