Published: Sunday, February 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Tough economic times lead to innovation. Industries are forced to adapt or die off, and whether they do or not can mean the gain or loss of countless jobs. The burgeoning alternative energy field provides both the opportunity for increased employment and a cleaner America.
It's not often that two goals can be achieved with one effort, but Boston College students who want to work to make a positive impact on both the environment and in the state of Massachusetts' economy should head to Gasson 310 this Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m., to the Fair Share Alliance kickoff meeting.
Fair Share Alliance is a nationwide organization dedicated to the preservation of fair opportunities for American citizens. Through grassroots, community-based efforts, Fair Share's goal is to provide a fair shot at anyone willing to work hard and play by the rules.
This year, the organization is opening up an office in Newton to raise awareness about the renewal of the Federal Production Tax Credit for Wind Energy. The tax credits allow wind energy companies to keep electricity rates affordable by reducing costs by 90 percent, which has led to 10 million homes' worth of energy—zero carbon emissions, zero gallons of water used.
The PTC is designated to expire at the end of 2012, and its removal from the budget would stall growth in the American wind energy sector. If the tax credits are allowed to expire, the industry will suffer a huge blow as investments and innovation are smothered by rising costs. This lack of funding would translate to the loss of thousands of jobs—electricians, welders, construction workers, etc. Indeed, layoffs have already begun as investors hesitate due to the threat of expiration. The renewal of the tax credit is vital to the continued growth of the American wind energy industry, and BC students are in a unique place to help ensure that growth. Massachusetts senator Scott Brown is one of a few swing voters in an increasingly polarized Senate, and his support is necessary. Massachusetts Fair Share's goal, then, is to raise awareness for the PTC and build grassroots support to lobby Senator Brown.
The Alliance is looking for interns and volunteers to help bring this issue to the attention of the Newton community. To reach its goal of a PTC renewal, the organization needs students to help with community efforts, the building of coalitions with other environmental groups, and promotion of the cause through local media. Putting people back to work while helping the expansion of clean energy technology—it's an easy cause to support.