From the Senate Commerce Committee, an announcement of a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, “Manufacturing Our Way to a Stronger Economy.”

May 11 2011 2:30 PM
Russell Senate Office Building – 253
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced a second in a series of Commerce Committee hearings focusing on manufacturing in America and the ways in which the government and industry can strengthen the sector and promote job growth.

Witness Panel 1

  • Dr. Stephanie Burns
    Chairman, Dow-Corning Corporation
  • Mr. Leo W. Gerard
    International President
    The United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (United Steelworkers)
  • Mr. Mike Rowe
    Creator, Executive Producer and Host
    Discovery Channel’s DIRTY JOBS

Gerard, the Steelworkers president, had a good letter published last week in The Washington Post, challenging an editorial that had criticized the pulp and paper industry’s use of a tax credit to promote biofuels, the “black liquor” issue. Gerard argued:

Biomass energy is green energy. When the fuel base is managed properly, unlike fossil fuel, biofuel is carbon-neutral. Pulp and paper mills not only use biomass as fuel, it is their main raw material to make products that keep carbon out of the atmosphere for months, years or, in some cases, generations….

Would it not be better to put our pulp and paper mills to work creating the fuels of the future? The cost of shutdowns, dependency on foreign imports and the permanent loss of good jobs would exact a far higher toll on our economy.

Mike Rowe is always entertaining and thought-provoking, an important advocate for manufacturing. We thought his comments, “Brown before Green,” were right on.

Like my friends who espouse all things Green, I want to live on a healthy planet. I really do. But I’m tired of the guilt; I’m suspicious of the manipulation. And I’m weary of being lectured by people who seem to care more about the planet than the people on it. Hollywood and Washington have shaped the issue, and now, all things Eco-friendly are up for sale. Well, that’s fine. But when it comes to jobs, the people who make a difference aren’t covered in green. They’re covered in Brown – dirt, mud, grime, grease, or maybe something worse. I’m no expert, but if we’re going to save the Earth, the color of Dirt makes a heck of a lot more sense than the color of Envy. The way I see it, if we really want to get clean and green, we’re gonna have to get down with brown. In other words, we’re going to have to get our hands dirty.