Stimulus Creates Green Jobs but Misses Transportation Opportunity
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Nick Berning, 202-222-0748
WASHINGTON, D.C.Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder had the following statement in response to the $789 billion economic stimulus package signed into law by President Barack Obama:
This stimulus package represents a paradigm shift in how our nation approaches job creation and the environment. In the past, conventional wisdom held that what was good for the economy must be bad for our planet, and vice-versa. But President Obama made it clear that in the 21st century, economic progress and the health of our environment must go hand in handthat good jobs must also be green jobs. He deserves a lot of credit for this.
We are encouraged by the substantial amount of funding that the stimulus directs toward clean energy and energy efficiency, which will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, limit global warming pollution, and create green jobs. These investments represent substantial progress. They should be seen as a first step toward the much more sweeping changes that will be necessary as we move toward a 100 percent clean energy economy.
While limited funding for dirty energy remains in the stimulus, we were particularly excited by the last-minute elimination of a loan guarantee bailout for the nuclear industry worth up to $50 billion. Congress deserves credit for recognizing that taxpayers should not be stuck with the bill for the nuclear industrys failures.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the transportation infrastructure section of the stimulus, Congress missed a big opportunity to address our energy and climate crises. The stimulus under-invested in public transit and clean transportation alternatives, with final funding 30 percent below what had been passed by the House. The eliminated clean transportation investments would have reduced our dependence on oil and lowered global warming pollution. Worse, the stimulus will result in the construction of new roads and new highway expansions, which increase oil consumption and lock in new pollution. Spending on new roads also harms our economy, as public transportation investments create more jobs per dollar of investment and provide affordable transportation options to working families. There was a transportation upside to the stimulus: Congress made a major commitment to high-speed rail, a down payment on a cleaner transportation future.
Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org) is the U.S. voice of the worlds largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.