Where’s The Green Jobs, Mr. Obama? China, Apparently
From the Washington Post (not normally considered a conservative bastion, note):
WINCHESTER, VA. – The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison’s innovations in the 1870s.
The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs.
Emphasis added by me.
200 more jobs gone, to join the millions of others that have been lost since Obama took office.
During the recession, political and business leaders have held out the promise that American advances, particularly in green technology, might stem the decades-long decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. But as the lighting industry shows, even when the government pushes companies toward environmental innovations and Americans come up with them, the manufacture of the next generation technology can still end up overseas.
What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.
Note that. Government regulation is pushing one product completely out of the marketplace, replacing it with another product which is supposedly “greener.” I say supposedly because there are serious problems with disposal of a dead compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). From the website “greenlivingtips.com,” which presumably isn’t really hostile to living more “greenly” (is that even a word? Oh, well, I guess it is now; I’ve used it) comes these tidbits (again, emphasis added, link in original):
Throwing CFL’s in the bin isn’t a good idea. Aside from the waste of materials, there is one rather unsettling issue with compact fluorescent lamps – they contain a small amount of mercury; approximately 3-5 milligrams. It’s a tiny amount, about the size of the very tip a ballpoint pen and far less than what is present in a watch battery. Still, a hundred million of these small amounts does become a significant issue.
Additionally, at the end of a CFL bulb’s life, little of the mercury remains in its most toxic form. Regardless, given the fragility of the bulbs; caution is necessary and mercury shouldn’t wind up in landfill at any time and at any level. Mercury is a powerful toxin that contaminates earth, air and water and accumulates in animal tissue.
Compare and contrast to what one does with a burned out incandescent bulb… something we should all be familiar with.
And then there’s this list of instructions if a CFL should break, from the same page quoted above (misspelling and smiley in original):
The Australian Department of Environment offers the following advice:
– Open windows in the room to air out fo 15 minutes before cleaning up
– Don’t use a vacuum as this will spread mercury into the air
– Wear gloves when cleaning up
– Use a disposable brush to gently sweep up fragments
– Use a moist paper towel to help pick up remaining tiny fragments
– Wrap the pieces up in layers of newspaper and place in a sturdy sealable bag or container along with anything used to clean up the mess.
The advice is then to place the container or bag in your rubbish bin, but I feel that perhaps it should be treated as hazardous chemical waste; i.e. stored safely until such time that it can be taken to a hazardous chemical disposal facility. Given all that messing around, it just pays to be extra careful when handling a CFL bulb :).
Again, compare and contrast to what happens with a broken incandescent bulb… another thing most people should be familiar with.
So, where are these wonderful “green” but potentially poisonous bulbs manufactured? I return to the WaPo article:
Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.
There you have it. Our Democratic Congress (remember, they took control in 2006, and the law that caused this was passed in 2007) has just caused the elimination of American jobs and the creation of Chinese jobs… one might even say they shipped those jobs overseas, if one were given to that sort of hyperbole.
And what has our “sort of God” President done about it? You know, the guy touting the green jobs that are supposedly going to save the American economy?
I can’t find a single thing he’s done about these jobs being lost here.
If anyone can find credible evidence of something that Obama has done to keep these jobs from going overseas, please list it in the comments.
Update: J. E. Dyer over at HotAir took a look at the same WaPo article and caught something I missed… so go read it.