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September 14, 2012

Green Jobs Growth Doesn't Care About Politics

What's red, blue, and green all over?

The answer is the United States, according to a recent report drafted by DBL Investors (pdf), which found that the growth of good green jobs has transcended politics and has bloomed in both red and blue states. In fact of the top 10 states in greentech job growth, only two can be labeled as blue -- or states that lean Democratic.

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"This demonstrates that clean tech and green jobs are only contentious inside Washington," the report states. "While it may be that on a D.C.-based cable news show, or inside a congressional committee hearing room, mentioning clean tech tends to immediately conjure up the capital's gridlocked, right-left divide. Meanwhile, the rest of the country is often too busy working to attract and keep their green jobs to even notice the debate."

Top states include such red and swing states as Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia. The rate of growth in green jobs is dominated by red states, including North Dakota and Wyoming, which saw a 53 percent growth rate between 2003 and 2010.

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The DBL report even lauds outspoken conservative Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor, for his dedication to green jobs while in office. In 2011, for example, he supported a $75 million incentive plan to attract a silicon and aluminum manufacturer that supported the solar industry -- a plan that brought with it more than 950 full-time jobs. It was one of several plans he pushed for that hired people and supported clean-energy innovation.

Places like Texas and the Midwest have enjoyed huge economic gains thanks to the wind sector. Just this week, the NRDC released findings that the building and operation of a typical wind farm each creates more than 1,000 jobs.

No wonder why elected officials and their constituents from both political parties are pushing Congress to move forward on extending the Production Tax Credit for wind energy, which expires at the end of this year. It's unfortunate Congress has not moved forward on this important legislation while continuing to subsidize their friends in the dirty energy business. Send a message to Congress and tell them to support clean energy jobs.

-- Brian Foley

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