Denver, CO – Environment Colorado applauds the Senate’s vote today to put America one step further down the path to a national new energy economy. Throughout the weekend and leading up to today’s vote, Colorado law makers played a central. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet are two members of the ‘gang of 18’ that worked out a compromise. We applaud Senator Udall and Senator Bennet for working to preserve funding for renewable energy and transit in an economic recovery bill that contains at least $70 billion in funding for wind, solar, energy efficiency and public transit. Environment Colorado urges Congress to create jobs, cut pollution, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil by including the best clean energy, energy efficiency, and public transit provisions from both the House and Senate bills in the final legislation.
“Colorado’s leaders, especially Senator Udall and Senator Bennet, have gone to bat for clean energy and a green economic recovery. Passing this economic recovery bill today is an important step in creating a national new energy economy and will mean more green jobs for Colorado,” said Keith Hay, energy advocate at Environment Colorado. “Passing a green economic stimulus package will pay off in cleaner air, cleaner energy and a brighter future.”
The House bill invests $80 billion in clean energy, energy efficiency and public transit. One program, which is among President Obama’s top priorities, would put Americans to work weatherizing two million homes. The House’s $6.2 billion in funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program would reduce global warming pollution by 12 million tons per year, provide at least $2.72 in economic benefits for every dollar invested, and create 465,000 new jobs over two years. The Senate bill contains less funding for weatherization and transit than the House bill and includes undesirable loan guarantees for nuclear and coal plants, but it includes a beneficial renewable energy manufacturing tax credit, according to the group.
The group highlighted the job creation benefits of clean energy and public transit investments. According to analysis by the Earth Policy Institute, retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency could create 6.6 times more jobs than the same investment in nuclear power and 7.8 times more jobs than the same investment in coal power. A study by University of Massachusetts economists last fall found that investing in clean energy and green infrastructure can create four times as many jobs as a comparable investment in the oil industry and more jobs, even, than consumer rebates.
At a town hall today in Elkhart, Indiana, President Obama said: “The country that figures out how to make cheaper energy that’s also clean, that country is going to win the economic competition of the future.” Environment Colorado concurs. “Because of our leadership in the new energy economy, we can put Coloradans to work right now! From a renewable energy standard, to homegrown power, to solar homes, we have the infrastructure and shovel ready programs that can handle the money today,” concluded Hay.