Monday, June 23, 2008 | 3:40 p.m.
A so-called "green" economy could create more than 19,000 manufacturing jobs in the Las Vegas Valley, according to business leaders, a steelworkers and environmental groups that are hosting a town hall meeting here Tuesday.
Sponsors for the event include the 850,000-member United Steelworkers, the Sierra Club and several other environmental groups. Speakers include Chris Zunis of the Nevada Development Authority and solar panel installer Chris Brooks of the renewable energy division of Bombard Electric.
The forum will focus on how doing what is good for the earth can be good for business, too.
"We should be trying to save the environment, but we ought to be using the opportunity to create jobs," said Terry Bonds, United Steel Workers' director for 11 western states including Nevada. "If we continue down the path we’re on, we’re not going to have a world, much less an economy. We’re going to be burned to a crisp if we don’t stop global warming.
"To harness that (renewable) energy you’ve got to build the equipment to do it. You have to make steel... and hire construction workers... And that’s where we come in."
Zunis said the Nevada Development Authority's is targeting three business sectors, including renewable energy, as a way to diversify Southern Nevada’s economy.
He said the authority has already had some luck attracting businesses, including a 100-million-gallon-per-year biodeisel plant in North Las Vegas, a 50,000-square-foot Evergreen recycling facility and a 136,000-square-foot solar component manufacturing plant that will open in Las Vegas later this month.
Speakers will also answer questions about domestic job creation from renewable energy development, clean technology and "green" manufacturing and discuss the environmental and economic risks of climate change at 6:30 p.m. at Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd. in Las Vegas.
The event is one of 13 town hall-style meetings being held in cities across the U.S. this month.