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Since the birth of the mainstream environmental movement more than four decades ago, industry interests have promoted an “environment versus jobs” dichotomy wherein environmental protection and regulations theoretically curb economic activity and destroy jobs. Labor unions have often opposed environmental regulation for these reasons, but since “Teamsters and Turtles” joined together at the protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999, unions have increasingly joined forces with environmentalists.

This evolution took certain stage following President Barack Obama’s description of his proposed Climate Action Plan at Georgetown University on Tuesday.

“Since the EPA was created and the Clean Air Act was passed, there’s a very strong record showing how in case after case—whether it’s the removal of CFCs or taking lead out of fuels—these dire predictions about job loss and economic calamity proved to be false,” BlueGreen Alliance executive director David Foster told In These Times. The BlueGreen Alliance brings together many of the country’s largest unions with environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club. Foster said environmental regulations create “solutions that drive the economy forward.”

Meanwhile Republicans were quick to call the climate plan a “war on jobs,” intertwined with what they have long charged is the administration’s “war on coal.” Fox Nation’s headline: “Obama Climate Plan: Kill jobs, coal, growth.”

House Speaker John Boehner accused the administration in a Tweet of a “war” on American energy And Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) tweeted that, “POTUS’ #WarOnCoal policies put U.S.#manufacturing renaissance at risk #NationOfBuilders #4jobs.”
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