Congress Must Pass Green Economic Recovery Package

This blog was written by Jennifer Rennicks, former Senior Director of Policy & Communications at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | January 29, 2009 | Climate Change

The media’s two favorite words right now seem to be “economy” and “stimulus.”  That’s because yesterday the United States Congress approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an $825 billion economic recovery package, by a vote of 244-188.  President Obama and Congress are developing this recovery package to help relieve state budgets, create jobs rebuilding our nation’s aging infrastructure and equip our nation to meet this century’s technologic demands.

For this package to help our nation recover long-term economic stability it must be a down payment on our transition to a green economy.  If we are building new power lines, we should make sure they are designed to convey clean, renewable energy from “hot spots” to population centers.  If we are investing in transportation infrastructure, we should make sure that we are using this opportunity to mobilize new public transit and alternative transportation options.  This $825 billion investment in our economy must help improve our energy security, help consumers save money and begin to put America to work solving climate change with clean and renewable energy.

Investors agree.  In fact 44 investors managing more than $1.7 trillion in assets, including the Florida State Treasury, wrote to Congress urging them to include long-term incentives for clean energy in the recovery package.

In the next few days, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on this package which includes important investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transportation:

  • More than $37 billion for energy efficiency;
  • More than $25 billion for renewable energy, and;
  • $12 billion for public transit and clean transportation options.

Energy efficiency is an important component of our country’s energy strategy, but nowhere is it more than here in the Southeast where we are one of the least efficient regions of the country.  These new investments, including $7 billion in grants for local governments and states to implement energy efficiency programs, will help homeowners and low-income families lower their energy bills.

The recovery package also bolsters businesses in the Southeast that are creating jobs and installing renewable energy technology in our communities.  Wind turbine manufacturers like GE Energy in Greenville, SC and solar manufacturers like Sharp Solar in Memphis, TN will benefit from these investments and incentives for renewable energy development.

The House of Representatives made a step forward with these clean energy provisions and nearly $3 billion in additional funding for public transit options like passenger rail and efficient buses.  Y Now the Senate will consider the economic recovery, and it looks like they have already increased the package’s support for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Call or write your Senators today!

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