Brown Discusses How Climate Change Initiatives Can Grow Jobs, Increase Competitiveness for Ohio Workers and Businesses

At Unprecedented Roundtable, Brown Convenes Statewide Business, Labor and Environmental Leaders to Strategize How to Rebuild Ohio's Manufacturing Base

TOLEDO, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today joined business, labor, and environmental leaders to outline how climate change initiatives can create new jobs and economic opportunities across Ohio.

“We need to harness our natural resources to create new, clean energy manufacturing that will address climate change and will establish a new industrial base in Ohio. By creating markets for clean energy, we can grow new jobs in new industries,” said Brown.

The roundtable, hosted at Owens-Illinois Inc., served as a catalyst for collaboration among business, labor, and environmental leaders from across Ohio. The discussion incorporated all three perspectives in strategizing how best to rebuild Ohio’s manufacturing base and stimulate growth.

“The manufacturing community must constructively and energetically engage on climate change issues,” said Al Stroucken, CEO of Owens-Illinois, Inc., who joined Brown in speaking at the event. “To O-I, the most pressing issues involve the leakage of carbon emissions beyond U.S. regulation and the leakage of jobs to unregulated jurisdictions. We are fortunate to be represented in Washington by someone who has essentially taken ownership of this issue in the Senate. Senator Brown and his staff have been working virtually every day for nearly two years to find a solution. We greatly appreciate his tireless efforts.”

Brown was also joined by Frank O’Brien-Bernini, VP of Sustainability at Owens-Corning; Terry Fedor, General Manager of ArcelorMittal; Alan McCoy, VP of Government Affairs for AK Steel, Patrick Gallagher, Sub-District Director of U.S. Steelworkers (USW); Jack McMackin, Director of the Energy Intensive Manufacturing Working Group; Steve Cochran, Director of the Environmental Defense Fund’s National Climate Change Campaign; and other Ohio business, labor, and industry leaders.

Frank O'Brien-Bernini, VP & Chief Sustainability Officer at Owens-Corning said "Improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are both necessary and possible.  At Owens Corning, we are committed to both.  We have set aggressive manufacturing goals and are achieving more than a three percent energy intensity reduction per year.  Our products improve the energy efficiency in buildings, where 40 percent of US energy is consumed and practical improvements can eliminate 28 percent of our imported oil.  This forum provides an opportunity to share ideas on our journey to make the world a better place for us and for future generations."
 
Patrick Gallagher, Sub-District Director of U.S. Steelworkers (USW)  said “The United Steel Workers have always believed that a green and clean energy policy can co-exist with a strong industrial base to preserve and create good-paying jobs for middle class families.”

Brown has been working to build upon Ohio’s manufacturing heritage to create a new generation of clean energy jobs. Earlier this week, he hosted a groundbreaking Clean Energy Summit that connected Ohio clean energy leaders and companies with federal resources. In addition, Brown announced nearly $1 million in new federal funds he secured with Sen. George Voinovich to create the Ohio Advanced Manufacturing Center. More information can be found here.

Brown also recently introduced several pieces of legislation that would invest in developing Ohio’s clean manufacturing base. Brown joined a bipartisan group of eight senators to introduce The Restoring America’s Manufacturing Leadership through Energy Efficiency Act of 2009. The bill would create a financing mechanism for businesses that want to adopt new energy efficient technologies to cut costs, save and create jobs, and improve competitiveness. In addition, Brown’s Green Energy Production Act of 2009 would expand clean energy research and development to help build a clean energy manufacturing base in Ohio. For more information on both bills and on Brown’s work to position Ohio as the Silicon Valley of clean energy, please visit his Web site here and here.

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