Gov. Chris GregoireGov. Chris Gregoire touted Washington’s increasing numbers of green jobs and expanding use of renewable energy before a Senate committee on Tuesday. She urged lawmakers to pass climate change legislation, taking pains to spell out the link between new jobs and clean energy.

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works plus the Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy she described the state’s approach:

“Our energy strategy is a job creation strategy. In 2007, when we adopted a set of climate change goals related to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reduced fuel use, we also set a goal to triple the number of green jobs we had in the state—to reach 25,000 green jobs by 2020. Less than two years later, we can point to 47,000 green jobs right now. Our green jobs are growing much faster than predicted.”

And she said she’s not alone.

  • Gregoire submitted to the committee a policy from the Western Governors, including state leaders from 19 western states and three western territories, that urges Congress and President Obama to:

    “…act decisively to create a national policy to that reduces greenhouse gas emissions in a manner that is both consistent with the findings of scientific research and encourages job growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship.”

    She went on to describe in some detail the benefit of using apprenticeship programs to grow a workforce skilled in green-collar jobs related to energy efficiency. It’s great to see sound, concrete strategies being promoted by the Gov as examples for others around the country to follow.

    There are justifiable concerns that a lot of money is being thrown at projects to improve efficiency through residential weatherization and retrofits, with a shortage of workers ready to do the job. Apprentice programs, particularly those with unions representing electricians, pipe fitters, and sheet metal workers, offer a smart route to workers with the know-how to get the job done right.

    Gov. Chris Gregoire photo courtesy of Flickr user Washington State Department of Transportation under the Creative Commons license.