The Hamilton Spectator, December 20, 2011

HamiltonSteelworkers are joining the chorus of voices calling for an end to provincial roadblocks to new offshore wind energy projects.

Acting through the Blue Green coalition, a joint venture with Environmental Defence, the union says stopping new wind turbine projects is costing the province 1,900 jobs and denying Hamilton a chance to put unused factory space back into production.

“From the Steelworkers standpoint a couple of tons of steel goes into every one of those turbine towers,” said Tony DePaulo, area co-ordinator for the union. “This could be a real boost for Hamilton’s economy.

“Bringing more of these high paying jobs to our communities would benefit everyone,” he said.

The Hamilton Steelworkers Area Council unanimously approved a resolution last week calling for an end to the ban. “We urge speedy action to allow this vital project to go forward. We are of the opinion that Hamilton’s and indeed much of the province will see a resurgence of manufacturing if we can become the offshore wind power manufacturing and service centre for the Great Lakes and perhaps North America,” the union said in a news release. “We need these good green jobs and the positive action to address global climate change.”

The use of wind as a way of generating electricity has become a controversial issue in Ontario with environmentalists praising it as a source of “clean” energy while neighbours of wind farms howl in protest over noise they claim destroys the value of their properties.

In February of this year, the McGuinty government bent to the demands of opponents and slapped a moratorium on new projects, claiming more scientific study of the technology was needed.

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