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Articles by Janet Wilson

Janet Wilson is a senior fellow at USC Annenberg's Institute for Justice and Journalism, and a veteran environmental reporter based in California.

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  • Auto industry’s litigation strategy may have backfired in showrooms

    Telling it like it is: President Obama meets with auto industry executives Tuesday in the Roosevelt Room of the White House before moving to the Rose Garden to announce new fuel and emission standards for cars and trucks.Official White House Photo by Pete Souza None of the employees at Turlock Auto Plaza in California’s smoggy […]

  • California plans no exit from hydrogen highway

    California is planning to invest millions to support the rollout of new hydrogen fueling stations. Pictured here is a station near Los Angeles Int’l Airport that was built by a partnership that included BP, Praxair and LAX.Courtesy Hydrogen Assn. Energy Secretary Steven Chu may want to slam the brakes on future hydrogen funding, but California […]

  • States left wondering about EPA’s greenhouse gas ruling

    Eighteen months ago, I watched the head of the Environmental Protection Administration shake hands with Mickey Mouse after the two had hoisted a compact fluorescent light bulb for a Disneyland photo op. I’d been promised a sit-down interview with Stephen Johnson, the career EPA staffer tapped by George W. Bush in 2005 to run the […]

  • Obama's Labor pick expected to champion green jobs

    President-elect Obama's Labor Secretary nominee, Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), will face a Senate confirmation panel on Friday morning headed by one of her most ardent fans, the ailing but powerful Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee.

    Hilda Solis. Photo: Ron Edmonds / AP
    Hilda Solis.
    Photo: Ron Edmonds / AP

    Longtime GOP lions Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) could also be on hand to grill her, but the presence of Kennedy at the gavel, who presented Solis with the "Profile in Courage" award in 2000, is tangible proof that after a career spent battling Republican governors, presidents, industry lobbyists and even moderate Democrats, she could now be in the cat bird's seat. [UPDATE: News from the hearing.]

    "No one else was even going to fight for the stuff that she's fought for her whole career. Now it's not about fighting, it's about governing, and I've seen Hilda Solis, she's effective at governing," said Ian Kim, director of the Green Collar Jobs Campaign at the Ella Baker Center in Oakland.

    As Labor Secretary, Solis would in fact be in charge of implementing the Green Jobs Act she fought to "smuggle through" a hostile Congress and Bush administration in 2007, said green jobs guru and best-selling author Van Jones.

    The act authorized $125 million annually to train 30,000 workers in environment-friendly jobs such as installing solar panels or weatherizing homes. But it went unfunded in 2008, due to opposition from manufacturers and other industry groups angered by its mandate to include organized labor.

    Fast forward to a year later, with a tanking economy and a new president, and matters look decidedly more green. Obama made clear in his economic policy speech Thursday that such jobs will be a key component of his massive stimulus package. And no one is better qualified to make that happen than Solis, say her fans.

    "She is the 21st century, Hilda Solis represents the future of this country both demographically, and in terms of her vision," said Jones, who shrugged off criticism by some that the appointment was minor compared to other Cabinet posts. "We need new, clean, green jobs for the 21st century, and in her we've got somebody who connects both those things."