Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011

Contact:  Mitchell Rivard, 517-227-5233,

Solar industry has created thousands of good-paying jobs in Michigan

LANSING – Conservative, Big Oil billionaires Charles and David Koch are spending millions on a new television ad attempting to frame the failure of the Solyndra solar energy company as an election liability for President Barack Obama. Most notably, the ad fails to mention that the loan-guarantee program was started by the Bush Administration and has had a 99 percent success rate with its loan guarantees.

“While the Koch brothers are opening their wallets to bankroll false ads to mislead the public, President Obama is committed to putting America back to work, including through renewable energy jobs,” said David Holtz, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “This latest ad is full of distortions in a failed attempt to undermine clean energy and score cheap political points. Republicans are willing to sacrifice Michigan jobs and our competitiveness just to hurt President Obama politically.”

Americans for Prosperity – which is bankrolled by the Koch brothers – said yesterday it is spending $2.4 million dollars on ads in four states, including Michigan. The same group helped to organize the Tea Party protests against President Obama in 2009. In recent years, the Koch brothers have spent more than $50 million to advance their right-wing political agenda, including the continuation of billions of dollars in tax loopholes and subsidies for Big Oil, which they serve to benefit from directly.

Additionally, Michigan has been a leader in the emerging clean energy sector, including in solar businesses like Solyndra, with great success. In March 2011, an Environmental Law and Policy Center study concluded there are currently 121 Michigan companies engaged in the solar industry. The state’s solar industry alone – just one portion of the clean energy sector – has attracted $4.1 billion in public and private investment over the past three years, bringing the number of Michigan solar jobs up to 6,300 – the fourth highest in the nation.

“Clean energy is the fastest growing sector – we should be leading the world’s investment in clean energy jobs, not getting left behind,” said Cyndi Roper, Michigan Director for Clean Water Action. “Michigan has been one of the leading states in creating thousands of jobs in the solar industry. These good-paying jobs are putting people back to work and ensuring that we invest in energy technologies that will power our future.”


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