The Republican candidates for president have spent the past few weeks disparaging climate science, vowing to drill with abandon, and promising to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, but their campaign messages ignore the potential for clean and safe energy that could actually create jobs. This omission is particularly galling for citizens in states like Michigan, whose Republican primary is currently underway.
With its strong manufacturing sector, Michigan is perfectly suited to expand production of solar and wind technologies, simultaneously creating permanent jobs. With its strong northern winds, researchers have estimated that developing Michigan’s wind energy industry alone could create 25,000 jobs.
Ryan Werder with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters says he wishes at least one of the Republican candidates would address the economic opportunities presented by clean energy. “We’ve suffered a greater economic depression than any other state in the country, and so we need to be the most innovative, and the most forward-thinking out of any state in the country,” Werder said in a radio interview.
In their rush to pump 435,000 barrels of toxic, chemical-laden tar sands crude through America, not a single Republican presidential candidate has addressed Michigan’s 2010 Entbridge Pipeline rupture –which spilled 843,000 gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River, permanently damaging the ecosystem.
“Pipeline spills are not a rare occurrence. In fact they happen hundreds of time per year,” said Jordan Lubetkin of the Michigan chapter of the National Wildlife Federation.