Colorado leadership key to passing “green recovery” plan

Media Releases

Environment Colorado

Denver  Environment Colorado lauded Congress for the passage of a “green recovery” plan today through the House of Representatives and for the expected passage later this evening through the Senate. The green economic recovery package contains nearly $80 billion in clean energy, energy efficiency, public transit, rail and other green transportation funding.

“Colorado has proven that building a New Energy Economy works,” said Pam Kiely, legislative program director of Environment Colorado. “Colorado’s delegation helped lead the charge for a green recovery. We have an economic plan that will repower America with clean energy, and Colorado will be at the center of a national investment in the New Energy Economy.”

“Senators Mark Udall (D-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) were central players in getting a package crafted to move out of the senate that still preserved many of the green provisions. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden) championed transit dollars in the House,” continued Kiely. “Gov. Bill Ritter’s razor-sharp focus on building the New Energy Economy shaped the national debate that helped lead to a green recovery plan, and his advocacy in DC undoubtedly played a role in the final bill retaining many of the best clean energy components.”

Colorado is slated to receive an estimated $50 million to fund clean energy projects and $40 million per year for the next two years to fund weatherization programs. The Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute reported earlier today that Colorado will receive over $122 million in Transit Capital Grants to begin new projects in public transportation, such as busing and rail programs.

The final bill invests $32.80 billion for clean energy, $26.86 billion for energy efficiency, and $18.95 billion for green transportation.  Environment America highlighted the following provisions:

·         Extending and “recession proofing” the renewable energy incentives, which will prevent 55.8 million tons of global warming pollution per year by the end of the three year extension and create or protect 254,000 jobs in the near term;

·         Creating a renewable energy manufacturing tax credit;

·         Fully funding the Green Jobs Act at $500 million over 2 years which will train 70,000 workers in renewable energy and energy efficiency job;

·         Invest $4.5 billion to upgrade our electricity transmission system to better take advantage of renewable energy and improve efficiency;

·         Providing $5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program, enough to prevent 9.7 million tons of global warming pollution and create 375,000 jobs;

·         Providing $4.5 billion to improve energy efficiency of federal buildings, the nation’s biggest energy user;

·         Funding the State Energy Program at $3.1 billion to help citizens and business save energy;

·         Providing $3.2 billion in block grants for local government energy efficiency and renewable energy projects;

·         Providing $8.4 billion in public transit, which will save 10.3 million barrels of oil and create or preserve 252,000 jobs, with $1.5 billion set aside for expanding capacity and upgrades to existing transit systems;

·         Investing $8 billion for new high speed rail projects.

In 2008, the wind energy industry installed enough new power capacity to avoid nearly 44 million tons of global warming pollution and increased U.S. wind industry jobs by 70 percent. Fixing the renewable energy tax incentives was a top priority to keep increasing the development of clean, renewable energy and reducing global warming pollution.

Environment Colorado also commended the House and Senate leaders who removed billions of dollars in loan guarantees from the final bill that could have been used for nuclear power and liquid coal.

“Our nation’s investment in clean, green solutions is an investment in our future by taking the first steps necessary to solving global warming. Our national investment in clean energy will create more jobs and boost are economy more than the old, polluting technologies of the past,” said Kiely. “It’s a brand new day for America, and the sun is shining bright on a green plan for our economy.”