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Let's Get Serious: Fracking Jobs Cost Twice as Much as Green Jobs

The lesson is that creating jobs and protecting the environment can go hand-in-hand.

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This fact should be decisive. But in addition, both the Keystone Pipeline and the spread of hydraulic fracking also represent serious threats to water supplies. Fracking technology has thus far been demonstrated to contaminate drinking water with methane gas in aquifers overlying the major shale formations of northeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York. That is why, this past May, Vermont became the first state to pass legislation banning fracking. Other states—including New York and New Jersey—are operating under moratoriums.

Overall then, there is no way that increasing our dependence on conventional energy sources—that is, oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear power, or combinations thereof—will provide an adequate solution to any parts of our environmental and employment crises. But aggressive investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, including subsidies especially to solar power to make it commercially competitive, do offer a viable program today and into the future, even after taking full account of the many obstacles and pitfalls involved. That is, the project of building a clean energy economy stands by itself in its capacity to merge the aims of environmental protection and full employment. Of course, the Romney campaign has been proclaiming exactly the opposite for months on the campaign trail and Obama’s positions have not been much better. But this doesn’t gainsay the real facts of the matter, that the green agenda can be a major new engine of job creation over the next generation. column originally appeared at New Labor Forum.

Robert Pollin is director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
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