ACTION: Help Protect Tens of Thousands of Wind Energy Jobs
EcoWatch has been reporting on the need for Congress to renew the production tax credit (PTC) for renewable energy since the launch of its news service in October. Unfortunately, in the wake of the now-expired advanced energy manufacturing tax credits, Treasury grants, and the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee programs, as well as the upcoming expiration at year's end for the production tax credit for wind, America’s clean energy sector faces an uncertain future.
This week, organizations including the Sierra Club, American Wind Energy Association and The Pew Charitable Trusts are asking Americans to contact their elected officials and encourage them to renew the wind energy PTC and protect tens of thousands of green jobs.
Today, the Sierra Club launched a new series of high saturation television, radio and online ads, highlighting Republicans who have failed to act to renew the PTC for wind energy. The cable television and radio ads will run in the eastern NH, Scranton, PA and Las Vegas, NV media markets throughout the next three weeks.
The wind industry currently supports more than 75,000 jobs across the country, but if the PTC is not renewed by the end of the year, as many as half of these jobs could be lost. Already, layoffs have been announced in manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania and new wind installations have been delayed due to uncertainty around the PTC’s fate.
“With Americans working hard to make ends meet during this tough economy, 37,000 pink slips is the last thing working families need,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “Manufacturing and wind installation jobs are at risk in states like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Nevada and Congress must act now to renew the production tax credit and protect American workers.”
Wind power has quickly become one of the most important energy sources for the country. Wind power already supplies 25 percent more electricity to Americans than it did a year ago. States like Iowa and South Dakota generate 20 percent of their electricity from wind power, and the wind industry is on track to produce 20 percent of America’s electricity by 2030. More than 400 American manufacturing plants build wind components, and more than 60 percent of a U.S.-installed turbine’s value is produced right here in America.
“Republicans in the House have the chance to be job creators, but they are just sitting by as jobs in the wind industry are being lost,” said Brune. “As our ads say, ‘Maybe they don’t care.’ It’s time for Rep. Barletta, Rep. Guinta and Rep. Heck to support American workers and stand up for American jobs by renewing the PTC this summer.”
According to the American Wind Energy Association, yesterday, Senators Bennet (D-CO) and Moran (R-KS) introduced an amendment to the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act, S. 2237, that would extend the renewable energy PTC as well as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for two years.
The main challenge has been to get our Senators to bring the PTC up for a vote. We now have a window of opportunity to see that vote through. To make it happen, we need Congress to support the PTC amendment to the small business bill.
E-mail and call your senators today and deliver this message: “I urge you to cosponsor and support Amendment 2520 to extend the renewable energy production tax credit.”
In the race to secure private clean energy finance and investment, the U.S. reclaimed the top spot, after trailing China since 2009, according to new research published by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
However, America will be hard-pressed to sustain last year’s success. Intermittent policies hurt the ability of the U.S. to consistently compete and turn clean energy innovation into manufacturing, deployment and export opportunities. Transparent, lasting and consistent policies such as the PTC remain a critical signal to private investors.
The Pew Charitable Trusts encourages you to ask Congress to extend the PTC for clean wind power immediately and help keep the U.S. number one in the clean energy race.
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The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.
By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma
Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.
A Good News Story?<p>On the surface, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13569" target="_blank">results from our study</a> appear to provide a "good news" story. Warming temperatures were linked to higher numbers of fish, more species overall and, therefore, potentially more fishing opportunities for northerners.</p><p>Initially, we were surprised to learn that warming was increasing the distribution of cold-adapted fish. We reasoned that modest amounts of warming could lead to benefits such as increased food and winter habitat availability without reaching stressful levels for many species.</p>
Photo of Arctic grayling (left) and Dolly Varden trout (right). Alyssa Murdoch / Lilian Tran / Nunavik Research Centre and Tracey Loewen / Fisheries and Oceans Canada<p>Yet, not all fish species fared equally well. Ecologically unique northern species — those that have evolved in colder, more nutrient-poor environments, such as Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden trout — were showing declines with warming.</p>
Fish Strandings and Buried Eggs<p>Recent news headlines run the gamut for Pacific salmon — from their increased escapades <a href="https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/more-pacific-salmon-showing-up-in-western-arctic-waters/" target="_blank">into the Arctic</a> to <a href="https://www.juneauempire.com/news/warm-waters-across-alaska-cause-salmon-die-offs/" target="_blank">massive pre-spawning die-offs</a> in central Alaska. Similarly, results from our study revealed different outcomes for fish depending on local climatic conditions, including Pacific salmon.</p><p>We found that warmer spring and fall temperatures may be helping juvenile salmon by providing a longer and more plentiful growing season, and by supporting early egg development in northern regions that were previously too cold for survival.</p><p>In contrast, salmon declined in regions that were experiencing wetter fall conditions, pointing to an increased risk of flooding and sedimentation that could bury or dislodge incubating eggs.</p>
Headwaters of the Wind River within the largely intact Peel River watershed in northern Canada. Don Reid / Wildlife Conservation Society Canada / Author provided<p>Interestingly, we found that certain climatic combinations, such as warmer summer water temperatures with decreased summer rainfall, were important in determining where Pacific salmon could survive. Summer warming in drier watersheds led to declines, suggesting that lowered streamflows may have increased the risk of fish becoming stranded in subpar habitats that were too warm and crowded.</p>
The Fate of Northern Fisheries<p>The promise of a warmer and more accessible Arctic has attracted mounting interest in new economic opportunities, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103637" target="_blank">including fisheries</a>. As warming rates at higher latitudes are already <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank">two to three times global levels</a>, it seems probable that northern biodiversity will experience dramatic shifts in the coming decades.</p><p>Despite the many unknowns surrounding the future of Pacific salmon, many fisheries are currently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03632415.2017.1374251" target="_blank">thriving following warmer and more productive northern oceans</a>, and some <a href="https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic68876" target="_blank">Arctic Indigenous communities are developing new salmon fisheries</a>.</p><p>As warming continues, the commercial salmon fishing industry is poised to expand northwards, but its success will largely depend on extenuating factors such as <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023067" target="_blank">changes to marine habitat and food sources</a> and <a href="https://www.yukon-news.com/news/promising-chinook-salmon-run-failed-to-materialize-in-the-yukon-river-panel-hears/" target="_blank">how many fish are caught during the freshwater stages of their journey</a>.</p><p>Even with the potential for increased northern biodiversity, it is important to recognize that some northern communities may be unable to adapt or may <a href="https://thenarwhal.ca/searching-for-the-yukon-rivers-missing-chinook/" target="_blank">lose individual species that are associated with important cultural values</a>.</p>
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If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Interviews With Contact Tracers<p>Contact tracing is a public health strategy that involves identifying everyone who may have been in contact with a person who has the coronavirus. Contact tracers collect information and provide guidance to help contain the transmission of disease.</p><p>It's been used during outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Ebola, measles, and now the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.</p><p>It starts when the local department of health gets a report of a confirmed case of the coronavirus in its community and gives that person a call. The contact tracer usually provides information on how to isolate and when to get treatment, then tries to figure out who else the person may have exposed.</p><p>"We ask who they've been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset, or 2 days before the date of their positive test if they don't have symptoms," said <a href="https://case.edu/medicine/healthintegration/people/heidi-gullett" target="_blank">Dr. Heidi Gullett</a>, associate director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and medical director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Ohio.</p>
“You’ve Been Exposed”<p>After the case interview, contact tracers will get to work calling the folks who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the person who tested positive.</p><p>"We give them recommendations about quarantining or isolating, getting tested, and what to do if they become sick. If they're not already sick, we still want them to self-quarantine so that they don't spread the disease to anyone else if they were to become sick," said Labus.</p><p>Generally, the contact tracer won't ask for additional contacts unless they happen to call someone who is sick or has a confirmed case of the virus. They will help ensure the contact has the resources they need to isolate themselves, if necessary. The contact tracer may continue to stay in touch with that person over the next 14 days.</p><p>"We follow the percentage of people that were contacts, then converted into being actual cases of the virus. It's an important marker to help us understand what kind of transmission happens in our community and how to control the virus," said Gullett.</p>
Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
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