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Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman have joined the Blue Green Alliance, a partnership of the Sierra Club and United Steelworkers; environmental advocacy group Environment America; and Minnesota-based wind energy contractor Mortenson Construction, to discuss how Minnesota could generate thousands of new green jobs through manufacturing the components for wind turbines, solar panels and other renewable energy equipment.

The Blue Green Alliance released a study, "Minnesota's Road to Energy Independence," which was prepared by the Renewable Energy Policy Project. The study found that 364 firms in Ramsey and Hennepin counties could benefit from 8,594 new jobs, including 3,749 from wind turbine manufacturing and 2,830 in solar manufacturing. Benefits would not be limited to the Twin Cities. Minnesota could create 18,405 jobs in total, according to the study.

"Why order wind turbines from Denmark or Spain to put up in Minnesota when we know that the Twin Cities have the workers and the factories to make them right here in the state?" asks Gerry Parzino of the United Steelworkers.

In conjunction with the release of the report, the mayors and the representatives from the United Steelworkers and Sierra Club also called on Congress to include a national renewable electricity standard in the final energy bill it is due to take up soon.

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